I've been meaning to read the Pulitzer prize winning novel by Jane Smiley, "A Thousand Acres" and I've even started reading the book but for some reason, or some distraction, I haven't gotten very far. But I recently purchased "The Age of Grief" and found myself engrossed in it in no time at all.

A collection of short stories and one novella, the stories were thought-provoking and intense, particularly her novella, "The Age of Grief." Relationships ending, whether friends, lovers, or spouses, or renewing themselves, her collection, in all its complexity and varied situations, brings each couple to places we usually don't want to go. Happy endings? Some, mostly. Not sure happy is the right word. Settling? Tolerating? And then there is just plain avoiding. Leaving, staying, doing what works at the moment but might not be the right choice next week or next year. Complex, absolutely. But then again, isn't that what all relationships are? There are never any easy solutions or any easy answers. That only works for robots or Monsieur Mersault (see my review of "The Stranger" by Albert Camus).

I rate "The Age of Grief" 3.5 out of 5 stars.

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