Cathleen Schine's new novel is They May Not Mean To, But They Do.
From her Fresh Air interview with Terry Gross:
GROSS: This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross, back with writer Cathleen Schine. Her new novel is about a middle-aged woman, Molly, who's left her husband and home in New York to move to LA to be with the woman she fell in love with. That move has also meant being on the opposite coast from her parents. When the novel opens, Molly's father is very sick, and Molly's mother has become the full-time caretaker.Visit Cathleen Schine's website.
After Molly's father dies, Molly's 86-year-old mother is left living alone, and Molly feels very guilty about living so far away. The novel is called "They May Not Mean To, But They Do." The 86-year-old mother, Joy, has an old friend, Karl, who she dated when she was young before she'd met her husband. This man was also a friend of her husband's - of her late husband's. And after her husband dies, Joy and this man, Karl, become good friends. And he, you know - he confesses he loves her and that he loved her many decades ago.
And Joy's children are very upset that so soon after their father has died, their mother is spending time with another man. And the children also fear that their mother will become Karl's caretaker. And I think you really hit on a fear there that I know adult children have about parents - and I don't know if the older people themselves worry about this - but if you start a relationship, a couple relationship very late in life, one of you is going to become the other's caretaker pretty quickly probably. And what does that mean? What is that like when you haven't spent decades together? What did you...
SCHINE: Yeah, and...
GROSS: ...What did you go through trying to really understand the children's point of view and the mother's point of view on this late-in-life relationship?
SCHINE: Well, I think for the mother, you know, it's a wonderful moment for her. It's a wonderful recognition that she had a life before where she was beautiful and appealing and alluring and loved as a young woman and to have that resurrected, to have a person from her past who has shared a past with her, to have that born again is a wonderful gift for her.
But she's not an idiot, and she knows...[read on]
Coffee with a Canine: Cathleen Schine & Hector.