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If you hate her at the beginning, be warned: by the end you may very well fall in love with her. Edgy, cynical, and shamelessly self-centered, Janey is a 46-year-old artist with an aversion to all things female, especially motherhood. When her husband announces on their twenty-fourth wedding anniversary that he wants a divorce, she moves into her studio, an empty warehouse in Boston’s South End, but her already disjointed life is made still more chaotic when she gets a call from her estranged sister. The family’s long-vacant, Depression-era hotel in the Berkshires is to be sold, and all their parents’ possessions must be disposed of. To complicate matters further, Janey meets Bugs, an aging disc jockey on an oldies station in Schenectady, and ends up sharing quarters with him in the deserted hotel. Thus begin Janey’s strange “twelve labors,” a series of spiritual and emotional trials that will challenge her unshakeable conviction that she is not an ordinary mortal, but a prince. A dramatic reading of the complete novel by the author, Richard Matturro, in six installments with time at the end of each class for comments, questions, and discussion.
“In a ‘review’ of Janey’s sculpture Pillars, created for her big gallery show, author Matturro sums up Janey’s journey, and a fundamental insight into human nature and life results: ‘The Ionic column is polished smooth and gleaming white. The Doric is discolored, stained, chipped, and pockmarked, the object of a thousand injuries and indignities. Worse, there’s a diagonal crack that threatens at any moment to split it in two. … These are the dual natures we all share after a certain age. That ideal, upright pillar we wish we were, and that damaged, blemished old post that we are. And yet one is as necessary as the other for our life support.’ A very nicely phrased way to say something that, as readers, I suspect we all agree with; and as good a summation of the reasons one would want to read this novel as any I can write. I recommend the book (4 Stars).” —Richard Derus, Goodreads
Suggested Reading: Janeyby Richard Matturro. Livingston Press, 2012
Richard Matturro, a native of Rye, New York, holds a doctorate in English with a specialization in Shakespeare and Greek Mythology. After sixteen years at the Albany Times Union, he taught literature at UAlbany for fourteen years. He is the author of numerous newspaper articles and six novels.
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