New book: Commuters, by Emily Gray Tedrowe â95
Tedrowe, who has published short stories in publications including
Crab Orchard Review
, says she can trace her literary accomplishments "directly back to what I learned at McCosh Hall and in Firestone." The English major came out with her debut novel this summer. The idea for
-- which examines the repercussions of a later-in-life marriage -- came from an experience she had as a teenager, when her grandmother's 70-year-old friend got remarried.
The story opens with the sudden wedding of Winnie Easton, a widowed 78-year-old from the small, upstate town of Hartfield, N.Y., to a wealthy Chicago businessman, Jerry Trevis. His daughter, fearful of losing her inheritance, sues to freeze his assets; Winnie's daughter, Rachel, has financial troubles and gets a loan from Trevis; and his 22-year-old grandson, Avery, pursues his dream of owning a restaurant thanks to Trevis.
Told in alternating perspectives of three main characters -- Winnie, Rachel, and Avery -- this novel about love, family, and money explores the jealousies and new relationships created by their union.
"It was a small-town June wedding, and the bride was seventy-eight.
"From the church balcony where she sat alone, Winnie could see how it all looked, without her: rows and rows of dark wood pews, the flutter and ripple of the guests who filled them, twin thumb-sized burst of yellow and white gladiolas set before the alter. She was supposed to be downstairs, in a small lounge off the vestibule; it was the place young children were rushed to when their fussing threatened to interrupt the service. She should have been admiring herself in the mirror, in this tea-length wedding gown of cream silk; she should have been conserving energy. But her face was as fixed as it would ever be, and she couldn't rest anymore."
a "lovely and literate family drama that wins bonus points for its sincerity and open-hearted delivery. ... Tedrowe graduates to elegant novelist. ... The author's deft handling of a large and distinctive cast should win raves from those who revel in this sort of ensemble crazy quilt." Tedrowe, wrote
, "shows great promise in her compassionate, nuanced depiction of love-- among the old and young alike -- and her confident handling of alternating, multigenerational narrators."
By Katherine Federici Greenwood
(Author photo by Audrey Keller Photography)
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