Living Together (Made in Michigan Writers) (Paperback)
Wayne State University Press, 9780814338964, 296pp.
Publication Date: March 15, 2013
We all have to live together, whether we do it with enthusiasm or grace, reluctance or despair. In this skillfully drawn collection, National Book award-winning Michigan writer Gloria Whelan presents short stories and a novella that look at people living together who have reached a crisis point. Whether her characters are old or young, male or female, in settings that are urban or rural, they wrestle with anger, loneliness, and frustration, but ultimately demonstrate bravery, trust, determination, and, often, the ability to learn something new.
Whelan considers a variety of narratives about people coexisting, breaking apart, or coming together. The subdued lives of older women are shaken by a scandalous invasion; a man looks around him to discover he will be living the rest of his life in the wrong place with the wrong people; a married couple, grown apart, find themselves locked together; suburbanites reach out tentatively to the distant city; a house and the ghosts who inhabit it change lives. A final section contains Whelan's novella, "Keeping Your Place," which follows a family as their lives and their home change during the years of the Vietnam War. After the loss of her husband, a mother and the three children must make a final visit to their beloved cabin in the woods and come to a crucial decision.
Well known for her writing for young readers, Whelan's stories in Living Together will be a welcome surprise for adults who may be new to her quirky, relatable characters and quietly powerful narrative.