Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Dear Great Book Guru
Last night I had a lovely dinner at a new restaurant in Sea Cliff- the Metropolitan Bistro. At the next table I noticed there was a book club meeting. The book was HALF A LIFE. Do you know anything about it? The discussion sounded very intense. Inquisitive Diner
Dear Diner , I, too, am a big fan of the Metropolitan Bistro (site of the old Tupelo Honey). The book you heard being discussed HALF A LIFE by Darin Strauss is an excellent and logical choice for a local book group. Strauss, best-selling author (CHANG AND ENG, THE REAL MCCOY, and MORE THAN IT HURTS YOU) grew up in the area and attended North Shore High School in the late 1980's. In his senior year at North Shore, a tragedy occurred than ended a classmate's life and darkened the rest of Strauss's. Driving along Shore Road across the harbor in Port Washington, his car hit a bicyclist who had veered across two lanes into his path, killing her. Now eighteen years later- half of his life- he writes of that day and the days, months, and years after that have haunted him. In many ways, it is a simple tale of a young man's guilt- however ill-founded -but the guilt of the survivor. As he experiences life's milestones- graduation, marriage, career successes, parenthood, there is always the thought: she will know none of this. The grief and anger her family feels is vividly portrayed and their ensuing law suit is described in crushing detail. We come to know and respect Strauss as he numbly goes through life and finally emerges from this tragedy- half a life later.