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Emily, Alone

Emily, Alone: A Novel - Stewart O'Nan Before you are allowed to post a review of this novel, I’m going to have to ask you to present an official id. An official id with your dob on it. I’m sorry, but I just don’t think a person under fifty can really appreciate this book and I’m not sure those of you under fifty would have the patience to read a book where the biggest plot points are repairing a scratch on her new car.Emily is an elderly widow, in the last years of her life. Her family, except for an elderly sister-in-law, lives far away and seldom visits. Her friends are rapidly dying off. The highlights of Emily’s week are Wednesdays when the maid comes in to clean and to eating at an inexpensive diner using discount coupons with her sister-in-law. Emily both enjoys her life and finds it more difficult each day to do the simple tasks she needs to do. I found this book to be a lovely picture of a small life well lived. Here’s a tiny sample:“A week later, floundering, as was her habit in the wake of their leaving, she took Rufus out for his constitutional one bright, chilly morning only to discover, on the slate square of sidewalk directly in front of their steps, like a hex or a warning, a pair of black spary-painted arrows pointing downhill, bracketing the number 392.She peered around at the empty lawns and driveways and porches, as if whoever was responsible were watching. Rufus looked up at her, wondering why they’d stopped.She would have suspected gang graffiti, which had been a problem in the alley behind Sheridan, except it was small and artlessly done. Its sloppiness looked official, the harbinger of some public works project, a new sewer line or fiber-optic cable that might intrude on her summer. Besides marring her front walk, the inscrutable numerals promised a chaos she was powerless to stop, and sent her off up Grafton, frowning at her bad luck.”