Monday, February 15, 2010

Fogbound in Avalon – Elizabeth McGrath


Elizabeth McGrath - ???

So here we are again with another great story, and all of my searching skills have failed to turn up anything on the author.

This was a surprisingly wonderful story. It was filled with such emotion, raw feelings and quite relatable.

I have found the past several stories that Calisher chose to be quite refreshing. We go from a male dominated collection from Elkin to this volume which is split nicely so far between the genders. I enjoy reading about women. Insights to the mysteries that they are can be divined from authors who choose to represent them in all of their complexities.

I enjoy attempting to “figure out’ women. It’s a challenge and a challenge that morphs in its structure from woman to woman. It is absolutely impossible in my opinion to lay a blanket set of characteristics across a woman. And, I feel this especially so in this day and age.

McGrath does a fine job of introducing us to the woman of the 1980s.

we are presented with a women, a mother who is lonely, depressed, overeducated, unfulfilled by her husband (which she chooses to leave) and generally depressed. (Is there some foreshadowing to Prozac Nation here?)

A character that has no problem polishing off half a bottle of booze, smoking a pack a day, kissing an old acquaintance in an airplane and generally making an attempt to figure out where she fits in this world...a bit too late.

She was probably forced into the position of wife/mother by her husband, a husband who later also struggled with his place in the world – and lack of direction – a realization that when it surfaces causes her to gain consciousness from the coma of her miserable life with him.

This story brought me back to a time in my life where I felt that I had no direction. I was fortune not to have baggage such as a family that could be damaged by any sudden movements I made. I was able to strike out on my own, change my reality and create one that suited me.

I too was “Fogbound”. But who isn’t in life at one point or another?

So, what happened to Elizabeth McGrath?

Did she see what the future held for her and decide that her best bet was to disappear?

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