“There wasn’t time for withholding, not in this short life when you were only given to know a few people, and to have a true exchange with one or two.”
Two 80-year-old lifelong friends named Agnes and Polly own homes on land that belongs to their extended family trust. It is a gorgeous refuge with a bird sanctuary, and various homes that was formerly Native American land, on the coast of Maine. Agnes is a children’s book author with a painful history she has never revealed. Polly has spent her adult years married to an ego-centric philosophy professor who often devalues her. Agnes and Polly want to protect the land after their deaths and are seeking the best way to accomplish that, given that a greedy cousin and Polly's self-centered son would like to sell it to developers. Meanwhile Agnes' history unfolds at the urging of a young New York editor who has always loved Agnes’ children’s books and wants her to write her memoirs.
“But there was a last time. An unforeseen and uncommemorated last time. I don’t remember it. That, more than anything, describes aging to me—the letting go of one activity after the next, with no fanfare. Just realizing later that the last time has come and gone…”
I savored every page of this epic novel, and didn’t want it to end. Author Alice Elliott Dark is an amazing storyteller, and I loved Agnes and Polly, their histories and friendship, the editor Maud and her daughter Clemence, the characters from Agnes’ past, the setting, and the very satisfying resolution (it will surprise you!)
Hardcover 592 pages, Audiobook 19 hours, 32 minutes