the storm at the door

 

The storm at the door  by Stefan Merrill will break your heart.

From the book jacket:

“The Storm at the Door is a brilliant and passionate examination of the outer limits of language, sanity, and the human heart.  At its center is the heartbreaking love story of an enduring marriage interrupted by madness, sustained by language and memories.  Stefan Merrill Block is an amazing writer, at once cerebral and tender, lyrical, and profound.  The Storm at the Door is an enthrallingly original book.”

– Kate Christensen

From the book:

The morning after the night that Frederick exposed himself on Route 109, Katharine woke the girls early.  Her eyelids had burned with exhaustion then, her voice had thickened from a dozen anxious cigarettes, and her body had turned clumsy, as if she had spent hours hefting suitcases.  But when she gathered the girls around the warped plank table on the eating porch, she produced a piece of psycho-script that perfectly resembled what Frederick’s doctors would later tell her.  Like Frederick’s doctors, Katharine then spoke in a tone of infallibly official judgment, easily slipping into some bearded armchair character Freud scripted a half century ago, a costume to disguise herself from uncertainty.  But maybe there is a reason that such language comes so easily to both Katharine and the psychiatrists?  Perhaps it is simply the obvious truth?

Assembled on the eating porch that morning, the girls, pajamaed and groggy, mustered the kind of attention her daughters usually delight in refusing her.  Katharine tried to offer the performance they clearly needed.

You know that Daddy has had a very difficult year.  I’m sure you know that he has not been himself.  All his yelling, and all the late nights.  We should have done something sooner.  The truth is that he is just exhausted, and so we’ve decided the best thing for him is to take a nice long rest.  There is a place your uncle George recommended.  It’s called Mayflower, and it’s near Boston.  It won’t be long, but Daddy can rest there–

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