A finely observed and lovingly detailed portrait of a woman attempting to find a community and understand her own troubled history
After spending two decades in jails, psych wards, and halfway houses for her peripheral involvement in a radical students' bombing plot, thirty-six-year-old Carol Smith winds up squatting in a tattered space in Spanish Harlem. She spends the majority of her vagrant days socializing with her homeless neighbors, arguing with a testy social worker, and wandering the streets with Alphonse, a wayward South African wino and self-professed actor. Alphonse proves to be an inspiring force, and soon Carol is weaning herself off antidepressants as the sifting of her memories—mostly of her upbringing by two aunts in Massachusetts—creates a chance for redemption.
by Hortense Calisher
Sign up for our email newsletter