I’ve long been a fan of T.R. Pearson’s, as anyone who looks at the bookshelf in our living room can tell you. Every time I read one of his bittersweet novels I find myself laughing loudly and quoting passages to people. Pearson has a gift for looping roundabout sentences that make you wonder where he’s going, until all of a sudden you realize that his soft prose has at its core a sharp insight into humanity.
Lately I’ve been reading Polar, and it’s great. It has Pearson’s usual ornate writing and deft characterization, is laugh-out-loud funny, and has a strain of magic realism that in the end provides a wallop that I haven’t felt since reading Was. Since I like to quote from Pearson’s books when I’m reading them, and since I tend to use this space to talk about babies, I give you the following passage.
Those Everharts had discussed children the way young couples often do—the wife with her biological itches and the husband with his bankbook—and that Everhart thought, like men usually will, that they’d agreed together to wait….
As the prime breadwinner, her husband harbored misgivings about the expense of a child, tried to tell himself anyway that he was worried about the cost of feeding and clothing and just generally keeping a hardy son or daughter which became even more of a burden with a sickly afflicted sort. Of course, he was actually troubled by all of the stuff he’d no longer be able to buy, the power tools for his shop in the basement and the senseless implements for the yard, the plasma TV and the laser disc player, the goatskin topcoat he’d had his eye on. Furthermore, he guessed a child in the house would pretty much guarantee that him and his wife would never again indulge in congress on the dinette which was just the sort of thing, he had to figure, they probably discouraged in baby books.