If you live long enough, you will notice a paradox of aging: Diminishment of memory can sometimes go hand in hand with a greater capacity for complexity and for the kind of revelation that can be seen only through shadow.
In many ways, Edith Halpert embodied the spirit of American pragmatism, which is how she explained herself: “I either had to stagnate, which was a thing I dreaded, or go ahead, and the only way to go ahead was to do something beyond what I was doing.”
Dara Horn’s new novel, Eternal Life, imagines two characters who have made a sacred pact that consigns them to lives that will never end. Tethered to wearying and repetitive perpetuity, they cannot encounter the crossover from purpose to purposelessness that my mother-in-law experienced.
The earliest comedy I remember with any clarity was created by a famous tragic clown, a circus performer whose painted mouth was perpetually turned down in a frown. Left out of the spotlight, he carried a sledgehammer and ran after the other clowns who wouldn’t have anything to do with him.