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A Marriage as Bleak as a Beach Town in Winter

“The Cape” from The Islands by Dionne Irving, recommended by CJ Hauser Introduction by CJ Hauser I think I have been confused the nature of limbo. I once thought of it as the place I go, as a heathen. Which is not to say I've done an inadequate amount of lovely things or gotten up to an inadequate amount of mischief. Merely, that I was never baptized. That no decision was made about whether I might need a ticket to ride. Maybe this is why I've always found limbo a tragically boring concept. It seemed static—like something I had no control over. Dionne Irving's story, “The Cape” changed my mind about all that. It's a work of funny-dark realism which follows a woman, Mina, and her recently fireworks-wounded husband, Neel, as they hide out from lives in a summer house on Cape Cod. We find them in the limbo of the Cape's wintery off-season as Mina tries to get Neel to discuss how they will live now, post-accident. Irving's elegant prose and eye for the just perfect-unexpected detail pulled me in, but the true marvel of “The Cape” is how, just as the reader thinks they've got a grasp of all the variables at play in Mina and Neel's lives, Irving introduces another complexity . And another . Like a juggler smuggling more pins into her performance, so deftly you hardly notice . . . until suddenly they're all airborne. In the house on the Cape, […]

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