It was called Love and Work, by Gwyneth Cravens. The main characters were a young woman living in New York City and the young man who hires her to be his assistant. These characters, Angela and Joe, fall head-over-heels in silent, unproclaimed love with each other; and to my surprise, I fell head-over-heels in love with the novel that contained them. Written in the present tense, a laser on the intricacies of the lived moment, it limned contemporary emotional life in a way that was both tender and merciless. The would-be lovers edge around each other, rush forward, rush away, and all the while Cravens lets you know that their fate is both completely sealed and so compelling that you will not want to miss a single paragraph. It was and is a marvelous book, and for me it opened a door on the obvious: serious literature is the literature we take seriously.
Packer's book, Songs Without Words, will be released in September.
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