An enlarged heart : a personal history by Cynthia Zarin

By Cynthia Zarin

This beautiful prose debut from prize-winning poet Cynthia Zarin is a poignant exploration of the author’s studies with love, paintings, and the shock of time’s passage.

Zarin charts the moving and intricate parameters of up to date lifestyles and kinfolk in writing that feels approximately fictional in its richness of scene, discussion, and temper. the author herself is the marvelously rueful personality on the heart of those stories, first and foremost a bewildered younger girl navigating the terrain of latest jobs and borrowed residences in a long-vanished big apple urban. via the tip, no matter if describing a newlywed trip to Italy, a child’s life-threatening ailment, Mary McCarthy’s dossier cupboard, or the interior lifetime of the New Yorker employees, this background of the center indicates us how power the previous is in returning to us with totally new lessons.

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After all, we had fixed nothing in the apartment. From the time I had first moved in, in another life, the apartment had stayed as it was—the plank shelves in the kitchen, the peeling paint, the sunset-colored walls in the living room. When we decided to move it was because one morning there were so many people in the long cramped hall trying to find coats and boots and book bags that it was impossible for anyone to leave, and so it came to us that we would have to leave forever. When we did, we moved into a house that for years our gaze had fallen on unknowingly, standing below us in the view, a few blocks north of the church.

The taxi disappeared, snorting. It had smelled of coffee and cigarette smoke and the smell of the smoke lingered in my hair, in the cool morning. I hadn’t slept at all on the airplane and I could feel the pockets of sleep in my joints. It was May. Above the flat roofs of the apartment buildings the sky was full of skittering clouds. The building was entered through large plate-glass doors with metal frames, and we carried our bags through the doors and put them on the floor of the lobby. The floor was made of green marble, set in squares.

She was paring off slices of bread onto a wooden board. The bread had come from the bakery near her mother’s house, the bakery where she had gone as a girl. The olives were from Sperlonga. Had we been to Sperlonga? No? She sighed, wiping her hands free of bread crumbs on her trousers. Now that we were here in Rome, perhaps we should go. Since we had just arrived in Rome there was no answer to this. I ventured that she had said that she could not go to Sperlonga because her mother was dying in Trastevere.

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