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The Story of a Million Years

David Huddle

172 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0618082336 / ISBN 13: 9780618082339
Published by Mariner Books
Used Condition: Acceptable Soft cover
From Housing Works Bookstore Cafe (New York, NY, U.S.A.)

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General wear/soiling, a good reading copy. Paperback. Bookseller Inventory # LK5-00137

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Story of a Million Years

Publisher: Mariner Books

Binding: Soft cover

Book Condition:Acceptable

About this title

Synopsis:

The acclaimed poet and story writer David Huddle weaves a masterly portrait of two couples and their shared histories, desires, and secrets. Marcy, Allen, Uta, Jimmy -- each becomes the hero of his or her own story, as all mine the past for evidence of goodness.
David Huddle moves with remarkable agility from the imagination of a precocious adolescent girl, to the fears of a man in midlife, to the longings of a wife whose reserve cloaks aching depths. Each of these convincing voices asks the questions central to all our lives: What stories are so important that you'd never reveal them to another person in a million years? How do secrets come to define us, for better or for worse? Honest, accomplished, and wonderfully subtle, THE STORY OF A MILLION YEARS portrays the basic human desire to love and be loved unconditionally.

Review:

David Huddle's first novel is masterful and often stunning, so carefully written that the words shimmer with purpose and necessity. Essentially the tale of two couples who have known each other since they were all teenagers, The Story of a Million Years follows Marcy and Allen, Uta and Jimmy as they try to keep going through storms of nostalgia, grief, manic lust. The foursome have been together so long that they all know the same songs. Sometimes Uta dreams about Allen, and Jimmy has long been convinced he loves Marcy, but as time moves on, these hushed-up desires become smooth and polished, like stones. Moving back and forth through various points of view and instances, Huddle brilliantly captures the sense of marriage as a system of secrets, in which certain memories and infidelities are held close like shields, talismans that protect the self from being subsumed altogether by the structures we build around love, the houses we build to contain our impulses.

Like someone playing a song over and over again at different speeds, the author recapitulates key moments until they break apart. For Uta one such moment happens when she's in college, lost in Manhattan after her friends ditch her, wandering back to their apartment at dawn. She doesn't push the buzzer to wake her flaky friends. Instead she sleeps in the front hallway in a post-drunk bliss. Uta's attachment to this moment is beautifully rendered in her down-to-earth, Lutheran-raised, sad-hearted voice. She remembers vividly "the crazy little bit of goodness that came into me in the front hall when I was standing there all by myself with my finger about to press the doorbell, when I knew I was safe, and when I decided not to disturb the sleepers. That was the closest I'll ever come to knowing what it feels like to be one of the really decent saints, like Saint Francis, or Saint Teresa of Lisieux. It was the only time I've ever had that feeling."

Huddle leaves many things out of his story, and there are moments when it's difficult to believe that these are couples with kids, jobs, dogs. The author is not, however, concerned with the noise of that world, but rather with silences, with moments when two people who have known each other forever find themselves face to face, struck dumb by the sight of each other, rendered speechless by a face's sudden mystery. --Emily White

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