Tuesday, September 22, 2009

That Old Cape Magic casts a memorable spell

Posted By on Tue, Sep 22, 2009 at 1:56 PM


Professor Jack Griffin is having a midlife crisis and he doesn’t want to admit it. By the time he realizes “his dead parent, his living one, his old profession, and his boy-hood self [are] all clamoring for attention,” he’s knee deep in dissatisfaction. In That Old Cape Magic, author Richard Russo uses Griffin’s reflections to embed a clever chain of stories within stories for a fast-paced and funny personal history of domestic conflict and familial strife.

Griffin was born to a pair of perpetually dissatisfied academics, parents who fought with and cheated on each other every school year. Their cycle was only broken by summer break, when they'd drive to a rented house on Cape Cod and make amends: “As if happiness were a place.” Griffin and his wife Joy made a honeymoon pact three decades ago — an agreement meant to avoid their parents' mistakes — but their lives (and vacations) have taken a familiar turn.

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(Image courtesy Knopf)

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