Kate Southwood, author of Evensong
A Room of One's Own is proud to welcome Kate Southwood, author of the novel Evensong!
A woman’s life is full of stories—some told and some untold. The life of Margaret Maguire, heroine of Kate Southwood’s new novel, Evensong, is also full of secrets. We meet Margaret as a grandmother in her final days, negotiating even on her deathbed the bitter divide between her grown daughters, Lee and Joanne. She herself has been a daughter, a sister, a sweetheart, a wife, a widow—and the identities blur and overlap to form an intensely moving portrait.
Southwood draws the concentric circles of a small Iowa town with precision. In Evensong, she uses that gift of observation to let readers bear witness to ways in which “women’s work”—the thousand intimate, sensory tasks of marriage, housekeeping, and motherhood—builds a monument of grit and survival. There are no clear lines of right and wrong here. We catch glimpses of Lee and Joanne at many ages—before and after they become estranged. Margaret’s sister Estelle, the pretty charmer of the family, is a constant throughout these memories, offering a running commentary on Margaret’s romances and choices. And what of her fateful choice to marry the cruel Garfield rather than Byron, a far gentler suitor? This often-heartless husband, too, gets a nuanced treatment in Southwood’s thoughtful, empathetic telling. Evensong is deft and detailed, urgent and poignant, and readers will not soon forget Margaret’s story.
Kate Southwood is the author of Falling to Earth and Evensong. Her articles and essays have appeared in the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, and the Huffington Post, among others. She lives in Oslo, Norway.