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The Train Now Departing

 

(2001)

A pair of thematically connected novellas-about loneliness-by the author of the Richard Jury mysteries (The Stargazey, 1998, etc.) and, most recently, Biting the Moon (1999).

At the center of each is a woman leading a life in gunmental gray. Dissimilar in detail-one protagonist is English, the other American; one has a friend or two, the other seems not to have any-the women are alike in their resignation, in the degree to which their expectations have shrunk. And in their terrible vulnerability, which in both cases is exploited by a powerful man.

Clear-eyed, nuanced probings into the cruelty of isolation, and though persuasively sad, neither novella is at all sentimental. But readers who come to Grimes for a Richard Jury-like experience should be warned: these are lives of very quiet desperation.

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