Book Talk: Stiltsville by Susanna Daniel

This is, if anything, a love story. It begins and ends with Dennis.

I finished this book on a long flight and it destroyed me. I held back tears (pretty unsuccessfully) the whole time. My poor neighbors.

Spoiler alert.

Frances recounts the history of her life, from when she first meets Dennis in her twenties, to when they must finally and tragically say goodbye.

The writing is raw; beautiful in its simplicity. Frances seems like as honest a narrator as you’re ever going to get as a reader. Part of you wants to hate her for having it “easy.” She meets this perfect guy, unintentionally steals him from a friend, marries into wealth, spends summers at a vacation home, has a fling with a tennis instructor (cue eye roll)…but I found it impossible to dislike her. Her voice is genuine. She somehow makes these mundane stories – an afternoon boating, playing tennis, feeling the pull of adultery, taking care of a dying man – intriguing.

I never knew what was going to happen. She leaves tidbits of foreshadow here and there but no solid premonition of how it will unfold. And that was really the book’s strength – it was a story of an ordinary life, but the twists and turns were both entertaining and believable.

As Frances and Dennis grow older, their relationship changes, the way relationships must, but it remains a love story. In this way, it is one of the most beautiful and moving and innocent of love stories.

We want them to be happy. And they are. Even up until the very end, despite the shit piling up around them, they really are. Somebody hand me a freaking tissue.

Book: Stiltsville
Author:  Susanna Daniel

Type: Beach read

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