A Brief History of Yes
Micheline Marcom describes her newest novel, "A Brief History of Yes"--her first since 2008's scathing and erotic "The Mirror in the Well"--as a "literary fado," referring to a style of Portuguese music that, akin to the American blues, is often melancholic and soulful, and encapsulates the feeling of "saudade"--meaning, loosely, yearning and nostalgia for something or someone irreparably lost. "A Brief History of Yes" tells the story of the break-up between a Portuguese woman named Maria and an unnamed American man: it is a collage-like, fragmentary novel whose form perfectly captures the workings of attraction and grief, proving once again that American literature has no better poet of love and loss than Micheline Aharonian Marcom.
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About the Author
Marcom's latest (The Mirror in the Well), is a haunting elegy to a relationship between Maria, a Portuguese woman living in America, and her unnamed lover. Told in fragments spanning the yearlong affair and the months following their separation, the book traces a pendulum of emotions--from ecstatic love to bitter desperation--that Maria must endure. The demise of the relationship sends Maria "closer to the imperceptible edges of things" where she is forced to reexamine all of the relationships in her life, from her abusive father and his "grievous berating words" to her ex-husband who left her for her former "horsy faced" friend. Marcom's lyrical prose casts light on the extremes of emotion and the resilience with which we are capable of dealing with lost love. Like "the earth revolving around the sun" and the "ingrained blood song" of the migratory bird, Marcom elegantly reveals love and loss as constant, cyclical forces of human existence. (June)