Rebecca Chace

reviewed by Rebecca Chace

December 12, 2015

Ferrante’s Neapolitan Quartet is complete with The Story of the Lost Child, making it possible to see the whole structure, which reveals itself in layers like Naples itself. . .

reviewed by Rebecca Chace

August 13, 2015

This is the core of Go Set a Watchman. It is the story of coming home and finding your strong father frail and arthritic, barely able to feed himself and seeing him as a compromised and compromising man.

reviewed by Rebecca Chace

November 17, 2014

How to depict human suffering, especially that of children? This question is at the heart of Joseph Kertes’s haunting novel, The Afterlife of Stars, which tells the story of a family fleeing the 1956 Soviet invasion of Hungary to crush the anti-Communist revolution from the point of view of young Robert Beck, 9.8 years old but “born old,” as his Parisian aunt tells him when she meets him for the first time. Kertes, like Robert, escaped with his family across Europe and eventually settled in Canada, though he was only five at the time.

reviewed by Rebecca Chace

October 13, 2014

Reading Blake Bailey’s memoir of his deranged brother, The Splendid Things We Planned, I kept thinking of a line from the epigraph Bailey quotes from Joe Gould’s Secret, Joseph Mitchell’s portrait of another troubled soul: “You can hate a person with all your heart and soul and still long for that person.” Bailey is the author of acclaimed literary biographies of John Cheever, Richard Yates, and Charles Jackson, all of whom wrote about the desperation behind mid-century American prosperity. This memoir shows that Bailey knows that terrain from personal experience. He opens with a heart-stopping scene of his young parents standing on the roof of a building at New York University in the early 1960s, holding their colicky, howling infant and trying to decide whether to jump together or toss the baby.

Painting by Ken Buhler

June 12, 2014

Painting by Ken Buhler

When I arrived at Woodbourne prison for that first intake procedure I was surprised to find a certain level of relaxation. Maybe what I mean is not relaxation, but a kind of small town banter that was easy to slip into with the guard who checked me through the metal detector as I set it off again and again. He reassured me he was not going to make me take my shirt off, though the fact that it was fastened with snaps instead of buttons was causing the problem. I told him that I was wearing a T-shirt underneath if it was necessary to remove the outer garment. Harmless flirtation, or maybe just everyday humanity. Whatever you call it, I was not expecting to find it at Woodbourne.

June 2, 2014

Rebecca Chace is the author of: Leaving Rock Harbor (novel); Capture the Flag (novel); Chautauqua Summer (Memoir). She is director of creative writing at Fairleigh Dickinson University and 2014 recipient Grace Paley Fiction Fellowship at Vermont Studio Center.

June 27, 2012

I have been painting chairs this summer. It is my second summer visiting my boyfriend at his country house in the Catskills, though it’s not only my boyfriend’s house. The house belongs to him and his wife. I am here because his wife is dead. She passed away two and a half years ago, and her death sometimes feels as blunt and brutal as the undeniable fact that the phrase “passed away” is trying to soften. I didn’t know her, but she was a powerful woman who died too young and left behind an adolescent son and a husband of twenty years.

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