Evening by Susan Minot

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Synopsis

With two novels and one short story collection published to overwhelming critical acclaim ("Monkeys takes your breath away," said Anne Tyler; "heartbreaking, exhilarating," raved the New York Times Book Review), Susan Minot has emerged as one of the most gifted writers in America, praised for her ability to strike at powerful emotional truths in language that is sensual and commanding, mesmerizing in its vitality and intelligence. Now, with Evening, she gives us her most ambitious novel, a work of surpassing beauty. During a summer weekend on the coast of Maine, at the wedding of her best friend, Ann Grant fell in love. She was twenty-five. Forty years later--after three marriages and five children--Ann Lord finds herself in the dim claustrophobia of illness, careening between lucidity and delirium and only vaguely conscious of the friends and family parading by her bedside, when the memory of that weekend returns to her with the clarity and intensity of a fever-dream. Evening unfolds in the rushlight of that memory, as Ann relives those three vivid days on the New England coast, with motorboats buzzing and bands playing in the night, and the devastating tragedy that followed a spectacular wedding. Here, in the surge of hope and possibility that coursed through her at twenty-five--in a singular time of complete surrender--Ann discovers the highest point of her life. Superbly written and miraculously uplifting, Evening is a stirring exploration of time and memory, of love's transcendence and of its failure to transcend--a rich testament to the depths of grief and passion, and a stunning achievement.
 

About Susan Minot

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Susan Minot was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and grew up in Manchester-by-the-Sea. She studied writing and painting at Brown University and received an MFA in writing from Columbia University. After publishing short stories in Grand Street and The New Yorker she was offered a contract for a novel by the legendary publisher Seymour Lawrence, who was to publish her next three books. His initial support for "a work of fiction" became Monkeys, nine stories which together make up a novel about the Vincent family, a New England family of seven children with a Catholic mother and Brahmin-background father. The stories cover twelve years in the life of the children, their mother's "monkeys," during which a tragic accident alters their lives. It was published in a dozen countries and won the Prix Femina Etranger in France in l987. The novel was followed by Lust & Other Stories, a collection about wayward artists and journalists living in New York City, particularly about the relations between men and women in their twenties and thirties having difficulty coming together and difficulty breaking apart. Her third book, Folly, set in the twenties and thirties in Boston, is a novel about a woman from a stifling Brahmin background whose choice of a husband is the determining factor in her life, and about the two different men she falls in love with. The challenge Minot set for herself was to write about a place and society which had always disturbed her and to try to imagine how a woman who was not an idiot could stay in that world. In l994 she was contacted by the director Bernardo Bertolucci with the idea of developing his idea for a screenplay about a young American girl visiting English expatriate artists living in Tuscany and having a "sentimental education." She had always been interested in cinema as a student and moviegoer. Stealing Beauty was a collaboration with the director. It was filmed in the summer of l995, north of Siena, where she was given the opportunity to continue polishing and learning on the set.Evening is the story of a woman on her deathbed who amidst the delirium and images of her past full life relives a love affair she had forty years earlier, when at twenty-five she attended the wedding of her best friend on an island in Maine. As her children wait and tend to her, she remembers minutely the details of those three days when she met a man, a time which emerges from marriages and divorces and children as being the high point of her life. Evening has been optioned by Kennedy/Marshall at Disney, with Minot currently working on the adaptation for the screen. Having spent too many years in one place, bent over paper writing, Minot, who has an apartment in New York City, finds herself traveling and away from home much of the time.
 
Published September 22, 2010 by Vintage. 290 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Romance, Biographies & Memoirs, Political & Social Sciences. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Evening

The New York Times

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Streep’s daughter Mamie Gummer plays the young Lila.) The film also ditches one of the novel’s central female characters and invests a delicate young man named Buddy with the kind of uncertain sexual desire that Montgomery Clift would have conveyed effortlessly and which the young Britis...

Jun 29 2007 | Read Full Review of Evening

Publishers Weekly

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With insight and sensitivity, Minot sketches the small daily travails of the deathbed vigils shared by Ann's friends and step-siblings and keeps tension high by skillfully foreshadowing (or back-shadowing) certain of the novel's largest, saddest events, all the while withholding longed-for partic...

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BC Books

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Lila's alcoholic and reckless brother Buddy (Hugh Dancy) was a young man who had a crush on Ann, but when the young handsome Dr. Harris Arden (Patrick Wilson) appeared at the wedding, Ann's eyes were set on him.

Jun 25 2007 | Read Full Review of Evening

Entertainment Weekly

For added luster, grave and sturdy Mamie Gummer plays the jittery bride-to-be Lila — if her features seem familiar, that's because her mother is Meryl Streep, who arrives to play Lila late in life.

Jul 02 2007 | Read Full Review of Evening

Entertainment Weekly

Harris appears to have been something of a bounder, but no matter: Their few clandestine fumblings made more of an impression on Ann than three husbands, her singing career, and her children — one of whom died at age 12 — combined.

Oct 23 1998 | Read Full Review of Evening

Common Sense Media

Ostensibly the love of Ann's life (and everyone else's, too -- more than one character says "we were all in love with Harris"), he comes across here as, well, somewhat of a drip.

Sep 24 2007 | Read Full Review of Evening

Monsters and Critics

Evening is a deeply emotional film that illuminates the timeless love which binds mother and daughter – seen through the prism of one mother’s life as ...more I never liked Steel Magnolias, loathed it in fact, all that saccharin sweetness and artificial feeling.

Jun 27 2007 | Read Full Review of Evening

Reader Rating for Evening
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