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Evenings at Five    by Gail Godwin order for
Evenings at Five
by Gail Godwin
Order:  USA  Can
Ballantine, 2004 (2003)
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Evenings at Five can be read in the blink of an eye - but what a treasure that blink reveals. Gail Godwin shares the anguish she felt when her husband Rudy died. Five o'clock is significant, since it began the hour during which she and Rudy had their pre-dinner cocktails. When he called to her, 'The Pope called', this was her signal to stop the writing that was her career and spend the next hour with Rudy, discussing their mutual love of language and the music that was his career.

Gail details the last months of his life with a paucity of words but with an overflowing cup of emotion. It's a simple story that we all live at one time or another in our lives. But, however simple, Godwin makes it hers and hers alone - and in so doing allows us to cry with her. Then, while writing autobiographically as Christina, she leads us into a past that might be her own or might be the one she has created for Christina or possibly an intermingling of the two. We are not to know.

Evenings at Five is written with a poignancy of spirit that is hard to define. It flows with emotion while at the same time it describes a life with simplicity. Godwin's lovely use of words defies imitation. To add to the poignancy are line drawings by Frances Halsband that delineate the simple belongings that Rudy left behind. Gail Godwin has put into words a subtle love story that enriches us all, sharing that which we all feel when we lose the love of our lives. Thank you.

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