What do you think?
Rate this book
252 pages, Hardcover
First published January 1, 2014
The sound of a nail gun was interspersed with the faintest click of the camera. She’d liked it better when she was young and the camera made more noise. Or maybe it was simply that she’d liked it better when she was young.
Rebecca never hung her own work in her home. She felt it would be like talking to herself. Which she did a fair amount in the cottage these days. Otherwise she would never speak to anyone.
“She can’t be bothered to make an effort,” her mother would say to one of the women who came to play bridge. That was how Rebecca’s mother always let her know what she thought, by telling other people while she was around as if she wasn’t there at all. It was as though she had eavesdropped her way invisibly through her formative years . Her mother had a knack for lowering her voice in a way that nevertheless made her words completely audible, like an actress miming discretion: “She’s going to Holyoke. She wasn’t accepted at Radcliffe but apparently at Holyoke you can keep a horse.”
“Does she ride?”
“Rebecca? Certainly not.”
Occasionally Rebecca wished her son would not be so very kind to her, as though she was the losing pitcher on a Little League team.
She realized that this was the longest conversation she had had with anyone in quite some time. Perhaps the longest conversation she had ever had with a man, unless she counted Ben. She had imagined she would have nice long conversations with Peter after they were married, but it had turned out that marriage in the circles in New York in which they traveled consisted of men who pontificated publicly, and the women who let their faces go still while they did so. Maybe that was true of marriage everywhere. Between times, in their own living rooms, the men seemed to be resting for the next round of pontificating and so saved their strength by staying silent.
“I was Rebecca Winter,” and her voice caught and trembled, not because of money, or dog pictures, or TG, or her career, or the lasagna that had never ever arrived, but because she remembered how her father would sometimes introduce her: “My daughter, Rebecca Winter. And yes indeedy, she’s that Rebecca Winter.”
Still Life with Bread Crumbs begins with an imagined gunshot and ends with a new tin roof. Between the two is a wry and knowing portrait of Rebecca Winter, a photographer whose work made her an unlikely heroine for many women. Her career is now descendent, her bank balance shaky, and she has fled the city for the middle of nowhere. There she discovers, in a tree stand with a roofer named Jim Bates, that what she sees through a camera lens is not all there is to life.My fist encounter with Anna Quindlen's books was
Brilliantly written, powerfully observed, Still Life with Bread Crumbs is a deeply moving and often very funny story of unexpected love, and a stunningly crafted journey into the life of a woman, her heart, her mind, her days, as she discovers that life is a story with many levels, a story that is longer and more exciting than she ever imagined.