Let's call it the garret novel. Say that for years, there has existed a literary impulse devoted to a depiction of office girls living in walk-ups, pigeons cooing at the windows, stockings hanging to dry in the bathroom. Some of Colette's characters come to mind, Joan Silber's, Julie Myerson's, Agnes Rossi's. If you've ever read a novel pitting a still young, still hopeful, still single woman against an indifferent view of a city seen through a sooty window, water boiling in a hot pot for tea, more cough drops than spare change loose in the bottom of the handbag, then you know what kind of novel I'm talking about. Romance, in such novels, butts up against practicality, sexuality against respectability. The men are either laughable or mean-spirited, anyway, worth neither the bus fare nor the wounded dignity required to chase... More >>>