Book #43

The Cracked Looking-Glass by Katherine Anne Porter

'She only wished to prove to herself she was once more on a train going somewhere.'

A passionate, unfulfilled woman considers her life and her marriage in this moving novella by one of America's finest short story writers.

A strong and affecting story about marriage, and encroaching old age. Rosaleen marries a man thirty years her senior, and after many years, when signs of aging begin to show in him, she considers her life choices, her mistakes, and her own still relatively youthful body and mind.

The power held in this story, considering its length, is rather impressive. In fifty pages, Porter shows us multitudes - whole lives spanning decades, discontent, flaws, feelings - and these aren’t limited to our protagonist.

I did feel a bit sore in places, recognising Rosaleen’s nostalgia for younger days, for things which could have been but never were. Porter explores her characters tenderly, and yet somehow abuses her readers by forcing them to consider their own pasts, their own lives speeding away from them, peppered with mistakes and regret.