A dazzling first novelů
Nothing is simple and everything is radiant.
—Margot Livesey

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geometry Every Past Thing

by Pamela Thompson

A decade after their daughter Effie’s death, in the fall of 1899, Edwin Romanzo Elmer (aka “the Magritte of the Pioneer Valley, the Balthus of the Berkshires”) and his wife Mary went to New York City for Edwin to study painting at the National Academy of Design. This much is historical fact.

But why did Edwin come home to Ashfield never to paint in oil again? And what about Mary, whom neighbors called that “unusually beautiful and quick girl”—what was it like for her to leave the few square miles of Massachusetts farmland that had always been her home? What did she do while Edwin painted?

Every Past Thing takes place during one week of the Elmers’ New York sojourn, and finds Mary passing her days in Justus Schwab’s anarchist saloon (and Emma Goldman’s “office”) in the East Village, writing about Effie and plotting a meeting with her old secret love, Jimmy Roberts.

Set at the dawn of the age of US imperialism, in a rural western Massachusetts still shaking off the Civil War and a New York exploding with the tensions of great poverty and newly concentrated wealth and power, Every Past Thing is an intimate novel of a marriage, the loss of a child, a growing political consciousness, and the heart’s secrets.

ISBN: 978-1-932961-39-3 • $24.95 hardcover • Fall 2007

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