Valeria Vose by Alice Bingham Gorman (a book discussion) Oct 2018
Valeria Vose, a Novel by Alice Bingham Gorman
Published by She Writes Press, Berkeley, CA
“Time will come when, with elation, you will greet yourself arriving at your own door, in your own mirror, and each will smile at the other’s welcome“–Derek Walcott
Thus begins Alice Gorman‘s “Valeria Vose”. The novel is about rebirth, spiritual and creative rebirth. Painful rebirth that comes through self-knowledge and understanding. Mallie is suddenly single. How does she accept her new self? Who does she turn to for comfort and advice? Who can she trust?
Ahhhh, that’s the crux of the novel. Who does one trust? And what does one do when that trust is betrayed? Mallie trusts, and rightly so, her Episcopal priest. She’s approaching forty and her life, confounded by divorce, is thrust into the unknown. Living a sheltered, privileged life, she finds life’s more complicated than she ever knew. The priest will eventually betray her, spoiler alert, but she will find herself amidst the wreckage of failed relationships.
The novel tells Mallie’s journey, “confronting preconceived values and expectations in order to find a path toward creative, spiritual independence, and her true identity.” It is through her faith that she finds eventual peace. She begins to find a calm acceptance of her current reality and grows to be the woman she always should have been.
This book both entertains and teaches. Its prose sings a gentle tune that propels the reader forward, knowing the story is in good hands, that Ms. Gorman will lead you onward with deft skill and compassion.
In Memphis, a funeral for a member of an old, ruling family was a theatrical production. Along with their genuine connections in most cases, friends had an opportunity to prove their connections and their societal solidarity through the participation in events surrounding funerals.
Despite her underlying lack of confidence in who she was or how her future might unfold without Larry, Mallie knew that the separation was over. She would call a lawyer. She would file for divorce.
Mallie remembered feeling embarrassed at Tom’s suggestion the she was an artist. She revered artists as the truly gifted people of the world. When she was growing up, she secretly believed that she might be a great artist someday — like her Aunt Valeria–but she had given the idea up and willingly chosen a family instead. When she questioned her ability, tom had assured her that “Once an artist, always an artist.”