Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick



The blizzard of 2010 was like going back in time to the Wisconsin winter of 1907. It snowed for days. We lost power, heat, water, lights. In A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick, this was the life they faced in the grim Wisconsin winter of 1907.


Wisconsin, early 1900's



Northeastern United States, 2010

Is the setting of Wisconsin's bitter winter of unrelenting snow meant to represent "quiet desperation" or the white purity of redemption?

The premise is that a stern, well-to-do businessman (after a wild misspent youth, we discover) has advertised for a wife, and she is on her way to meet him.


Typical dress, early 1900's

Catherine isn't what she seems, either. A St. Louis dissipated demi-mondaine steps off the train a demure, disciplined fiancee.



St. Louis vintage mansion

Goolrick sees his characters as psycholoigal studies: distorted by difficult childhoods or having discarded their moral compasses. Jung had a very different idea in that we aren't so much formed by our childhoods as by our universal archetypes (Memories, Dreams, Reflections) and thier dualty in the mirror. Catherine is the prostitute / reliable wife, Ralph the victim / chief, Anthony the child / profligate.

We can add our will by the choices we make. I love how Catherine was able to change herself into someone creative, artistic: she sewed, played the piano, introduced a red singing bird in a cage. The complete transformation from the frozen tundra was the imagining of an Italian "giardino segreto," "a secret garden, the lemon house, fragrant in the evening and in the day a barrage of color and foliage. She read about the hellebores, which burst with blossom through the late winter snows, the foxgloves and delphinium and the old Bourbon roses. She read about heliotrope and amaranthus and lilies. She read about the hostas that thrived in shade, and the Japanese painted fern, its delicate leaves fringed with indigo brush strokes. She said the names over and over, cataloguing them: calendula, coleus, and coreopsis. She was enchanted."

37 comments:

  1. I love the winter photos! I think I see the harsh winter as bitter regret, lol...but that's just because I want to go outside and the wind makes it nearly impossible here. Mind you, when I lived in the mountains, I looked at the winter as lovely peaceful renewal! :)

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  2. OMG the pics of the snow sure looks familiar. The book sounds very interesting. Have a good day Margaret, julie

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  3. Sounds like a good book to read while snowed in... and this winter I guess has not been lacking in opportunities of that nature.

    Best to you Margaret...

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  4. That reminds me of a movie with Antionio Banderas. He waited for a "snail mail" wife. Angelina Jolie arrived. Which normally would be any man's dream. Unfortunately she and her cohort murdered the "real" wife on her journey there!

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  5. Sum pictures to endure snore of implore door
    So heed greed of seed need to feed bleed
    Of strife wife to knife life of knell hell
    And bell ring to sing song of cute belong!

    You're a charm and A treasure to pleasure forever! A riddle to fiddle piddle cuddle! Ha. Keep in touch with trust of enough tough gruff so snuff huff! Love love Andyou.

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  6. What a lovely review, filled with pictures that set the mood.

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  7. Nice to "see" you again Margaret! Lovely winter photos, just like home!

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  8. Yes, it is the same Father Serra. Now I'll have to get the book as you've piqued my interest. I love Anne Rice and would love to see what she's up to these days.

    I have been to the Mission in San Juan Captistrano but well before I was into photography. The Missions are always of great interest. My favorite Mission is the one in Santa Barbara because it's the only one I've seen so far that does not have city streets to it's doorstep! The one in Solvang is pretty cool too because at least one one side, it overlooks a huge green valley.

    Thank you for the visit and I hope you have more books to recommend!

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  9. hello margaret, how nice to hear from you, and interesting: i was just thinking about you yesterday, wondering how you are. :)

    'We can add our will by the choices we make'

    what a wise statement. and to have a (secret) garden is, i think, a stairway to the mystical

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  10. Hi Margaret, Thank you for stopping by and honoring me with your heartfelt comment. I also enjoyed reading you book review. I grew up and lived most of my life in St, Louis Co. And enjoy story's of the Victorian era. I am more of a little house on the prairie fan. I long for the days of a simple life. Where every one is kind and loving. The town I am in now has a bit of that spirit. They wave as the drive by. Simple smiles and Hellos.
    Have a wonderful day.
    E

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  11. Over here in Minneapolis, and I can relate to this!

    Pearl

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  12. Absolutely Beautiful! Both Blog, Pictures, and --The Person behind it all!!! :-)

    John

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  13. An intrigueing book. I will have to look for it. The winter pictures remind me of my early childhood in Northern Wisconsin (Rhinelander).

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  14. I don't read much, Margaret, I used to, must be a senior malady or ADD. When I do read I go back to books I've read before. It is like comfort food. I like short stories by Jorge Luis Borges...he can say in six or seven pages what many try to write in 100s. Funny, because I used to read the likes of Michener, even Hawaii, where it took some 70 pages before the island even surfaced!

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  15. A follow up to your question, Margaret - The figure in the photograph in Prayers for Japan wasn't made by me, however, she WAS made by an acquaintance of mine several years ago. I have several of these statues and this particular seemed especially apt for representing the destruction of Japan. The artist's name is Hope Werness; she is very well known in my area.

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  16. Hi Margaret,

    I am so happy to meet you and your blog! A beautiful owl sitting on my fence one foggy morning a couple of years ago won my heart. So, your blog's name invites me to delve into your writing. You have blended your own beautiful words with a unique way to immerse in reading. Infinitely creative!

    :)Marilyn

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  17. Beautiful photos and an interesting post. Thanks for sharing.

    All the best, Boonie

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  18. Lovely pictures...haven't travelled much but keep on visiting my own inner space often... hopefully a day will come when I would be able to find time and push to travel.. I can see your love for books.. this is a boon.. God's grace.. not many are lucky to be reading with such passion..

    http://rameshsood.blogspot.com/2010/08/growing-up-with-books.html this is where my 100th post rests which was written on my passion for books.. I consider this poem as one of the most natural and spontaneous efforts.. it just happened.. would love if you would give feedback too.. you encourage..

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  19. hi margaret, first of all, am i reading this right that you haven't put up a post since 2010? because if you haven't, fine, but i will add that i like getting to know you... :^)

    second, i like your comments on my blog (said again for emphasis) :^)

    and third, i wish us both a WARM BRIGHT SUN very soon. :^)

    love
    kj

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  20. Thanks Margret, for your constant inspiration on my page.. your words glow.. tell you for the post , with reference to your comments..I admire your wisdom..you read it well... somehow I am feeling pretty good that one can say in minimum words too whereas my blog is full of long poems..but then duly accepted by the friends from around the world..friends who meet in these pages.. it will be an honour if you could visit some of my poetry ...and give me feedback.. truly speaking I am trying to gain courage to publish a book of Haikus..have got about 175 on my blog itself.. will make a careful selection..can you advice me if I should take a step forward.. thanks!!!

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  21. Cool blog. I am a big fan of owls, so there's much to enjoy here!

    This sounds like an interesting book. We had about a week of heavy snow in Ireland in December and the whole country ground to a halt. We're not equipped to deal with it at all :)

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  22. I love that garden! If I could just have the framework of the wall and pillars! the formal shapes that line the interior- I can feel the grass and smell the many scents. Thanks.

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  23. This is very nicely done, Margaret. Book reviews with beautiful imagery. Loved it. I'm always on the lookout for recommendations for books to read and I guess this blog is the place to be.
    Happy to be here. :-)
    Thanks for visiting me. Appreciate your kind remarks!

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  24. Hi Margaret, just coming over to say hello and thanks for your interesting comment on my haiku... sunspots on photos are always a lovely surprise... and blessing.

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  25. Oh, your blog is so beautiful. I have been ill and could not post anything. Thank you for stopping by.

    Melanie

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  26. Beautiful blog and great post. Lovely images. Loved your work :)
    Short Poems

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  27. thanks for popping in today...hmm, will check out the indigo children...and nice into to the book as well, the premise sounds promising...

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  28. Very pleasant review of a most interesting book. I liked the accompanying photographs, too.

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  29. Oh, the owl is very wise indeed. Great book reviews. I want to run out and get the last two and eat them up whole! We have simialr tastes. Thank you for the lovely comment on my blog. I will visit you regularly as I am always looking for a good book!

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  30. I enjoyed the post. Sounds very interesting....

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  31. Margaret, thanks for your comments and sharing on my Sacred space posting. I love the St. Francis statue! The library just emailed me that "Home Safe" is waiting for me..I can't wait to read it! I am working on creating a juicy life and you seem to have some wonderful juice yourself. I am so glad ,Dear Owl to have connected !

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  32. Thanks for this interesting post.

    All the best, Boonie

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  33. great book review! and thanks for commenting on my blog. You asked about Redding CA- yes I am familiar with the city as we have actually walked over the Sundial bridge and we whizz past at least once a year on our way to Sausalito, Mill Valley and Bolinas!

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  34. 98 deg. heat in NYC makes me delirious..looking at blizzards actually calms me down..So glad you found me..and now I found you...all to the good!!

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  35. Your images and additional info really brought the book to life, as in it is calling me to read it!

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