An enlarged heart : a personal history by Cynthia Zarin

By Cynthia Zarin

This beautiful prose debut from prize-winning poet Cynthia Zarin is a poignant exploration of the author’s studies with love, paintings, and the shock of time’s passage.

Zarin charts the transferring and intricate parameters of up to date lifestyles and kinfolk in writing that feels approximately fictional in its richness of scene, discussion, and temper. the author herself is the marvelously rueful personality on the heart of those stories, in the beginning a bewildered younger girl navigating the terrain of latest jobs and borrowed residences in a long-vanished manhattan urban. by way of the top, no matter if describing a newlywed trip to Italy, a child’s life-threatening disease, Mary McCarthy’s dossier cupboard, or the internal lifetime of the New Yorker employees, this background of the guts indicates us how continual the prior is in returning to us with totally new lessons.

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I understood only a little of this. The leathery wine coated my throat. After lunch, we napped in the room under the eaves. When I could not sleep I picked at the stitching of the satin blanket cover, which I rolled up into a second pillow—it was too hot for a blanket. The room smelled of the straw which was used for insulation under the roof. ” My copy, a paperback, had a detail from John Singer Sargent’s Repose on the cover, a girl with a cloud of black hair, her head resting on a green sofa under a gold picture rail.

If one of us played the radio down the hall the other could not hear it; after the old place this seemed miraculous, but in the years that followed the silence wore off, because after I had a child there was nothing in my house that I did not listen for, and my hearing became like that of a fox in a forest, pricked by every rustle in the leaves. In the decade I lived in the apartment my elder daughter was born, and a little while after that her father no longer lived with us. A very tall college girl who looked like Alice in Wonderland came to take care of her while I worked.

We inherited my grandmother’s grand piano. Because I was so often up in the night, even now I could find my way in the dark in that apartment. It had an old parquet floor. One child sleepwalked. At night when it was warm, we kept the French doors wide open until we discovered this. As if nothing had happened, my daughter’s father began to come back and occasionally sit at the table. The children ate pasta with tomato sauce and chocolate pudding and cinnamon toast. When the baby was born she slept in our room and then moved into the children’s room, and her eldest sister moved out and slept under the piano.

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