Publication Date: May 17, 2005
List Price US $14.95
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O My Darling tells the story of a devoted young couple whose marriage begins to implode when they move into their first house. The external lives of Clark, a high school guidance counselor, and Charlotte, a bookkeeper, are utterly ordinary, but their interior lives are as bold and complex as abstract paintings colored by imagined possibilities, childhood joys and, more darkly, by deeply buried fears. When Clark rescues a young boy from drowning, a chain of events—some comic, some harrowing—is set in motion, revealing the fault lines of the couple’s marriage and individual psyches.
Amity Gaige is a consummate stylist. Her every sentence contains a tiny world—marrying striking images to deep, soulful ideas in perfectly concise fashion. Her cool, slightly off-kilter sensibility expressed in spare, lucid prose will remind readers of Paula Fox (Desperate Characters), while her pure, hyper-real vision of suburban America places her among the most talented of the generation of writers dubbed “the children of Cheever.”
Excerpt from O My Darling
“Given its level of sophistication and off-center wit, it’s a bit startling to realize that O My Darling is Amity Gaige’s first novel. The characters, beautifully drawn, are as unsentimental toward one another as their author is toward them and yet, wonderfully, this novel with its many ambushes of lyrical moments, is deeply felt.”
—Stuart Dybek, author of I Sailed with Magellan and The Coast of Chicago
1. What happens to Charlotte in the chapter called “Fever”? What does she learn, and how does it affect her?
2. There are many ordinary, everyday objects in the novel that take on a symbolic or metaphorical quality. Select one of the objects that stuck with you – the lawn mower, the baby pool, the birthday gift in the first chapter–and discuss what you think this object may represent or stand for in Clark and Charlotte’s relationship.
3. Every commitment, especially marriage, brings with it certain fears. What fears do you believe Clark and Charlotte have about marriage? What fears of commitment have you experienced?
4. One’s “first house” often remains with us long after we’ve moved. What do you think drew Charlotte and Clark to the yellow house? What role does it play in their marriage? What do you remember about your first house? Do you have memories of your parents or friends talking about theirs?