After You've Gone by Alice Adams

By Alice Adams

A range of brief tales explores the influence and adjustment of people facing separation and the lack of fanatics, spouses, mom and dad, and friends.

From Library Journal

Adams's new number of 14 brief tales shows a number of the strengths and weaknesses of prior efforts (i.e., go back journeys , LJ 8/85). That she is a great wordsmith able to insightful touch upon the fun and sorrows of human relationships, there is not any doubt. She can be adept at reading the impression of reminiscence on our lives. In those tales, it's the reminiscence of someone--and, in a few situations, "somecat," now absent--that stimulates the chain of occasions. Taken separately, the tales could be very evocative, but if regarded as a complete, the characters appear all "of a type" and examining turns into an increasing number of tedious. definitely, the voice of the introspective, clever, upper-middle-class girl merits to be heard, but when Adams wishes her message to arrive a much wider viewers, she must extend her imaginative and prescient, to supply the reader a bit extra distinction. For public and bigger educational libraries.
- David W. Henderson, Eckerd Coll. Lib., St. Petersburg, Fla.

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Sample text

I could stand still and there was nothing, no movement and no noise. One time, I made arrangements with the other guards on duty, and I brought my girlfriend to the store. We wandered hand in hand through all the pretend rooms like stage sets, trailing torchlight. We played house like children, acting out little moments—her stepping out of the shower to my proffered towel, dividing the paper at the breakfast bar. Then we found the biggest and most expensive bed, with a special mattress that you can see nearby cut in cross-section.

The tower is like a minaret in hell, some inverted Babel that reaches the sky and 34 ⎜ CHINA MIÉVILLE speaks only one language. All its voices still saying the same, the words he has heard for years. The man wakes. He listens. For a long time he is motionless. Everything waits. When he cries out it starts slow and builds, growing louder for long seconds. He hears himself. He is like the lost American soldiers in his dream. He does not stop. Because it is day, the day after his offering, after he gave the foundation what he thought it hankered for, after he paid it back.

Seeing how eager they are to rejoin their friends in the ball room, I wonder sometimes if it was intended to. To the children, the ball room is the best place in the world. You can see that they think about it when they’re not there, that they dream about it. It’s where they want to stay. If they ever got lost, it’s the place they’d want to find their way back to. To play in the Wendy house and on the climbing frame, and to fall all soft and safe on the plastic balls, to scoop them up over each other, without hurting, to play in the ball room forever, like in a fairy tale, alone, or with a friend.

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