Magazine article American Libraries

Young at Heart

Magazine article American Libraries

Young at Heart

Article excerpt

Yes, it's that Valentines Day time of year again, and, yes, that means love and sex are going to wiggle their way into "Quick Bibs" once more, but this time there's a difference. You won't find any young lovers in the books listed below: no troubled teens experiencing the first pangs of passion; no lithe, 20something hard-bodies exulting in their physical perfection; and, no, not even any harried young professionals struggling to find time for love while their beepers beep and their faxes spit out more work.

No, the lovers in these books are only young--as the old song says--at heart. But that's young enough for what matters. Just ask Margarita and Luis in The Fourteen Sisters of Emilio Montez O'Brien, or Jack and Mirabelle in Last Lovers. Happy Valentines Day! Calisher, Hortense. Age. Weidenfeld & Nichalson, 1987, o.p.

Rupert and Gemma, a married couple in their 70s, spend most of their time preparing for death. Then Rupert's ex-wife suddenly appears, and immediately there's conflict, competition, jealousy, and rekindled ardor-- all those things that keep life interesting. Soon Rupert's and Gemma's minds are on life rather than death. Calisher tells a richly textured story of long-term intimacy, but don't expect a tranquil hymn to senior citizens' growing old peacefully: No, like William Wharton's Last Lovers, below, this is a very sexy book about the sparks that fly when one embraces life fully.

Garcia Maquez, Gabriel. Love in the Time of

Cholera Knopf, LABS, $18.95 (0-394-5616-9). "The captain looked at Fermina Daza and saw on her eyelashes the first glimmer of wintry frost. Then he looked at Florentino Ariza, his invincible power, his intrepid love, and he was overwhelmed by the belated suspicion that it is life, more than death, that has no limits." Those lines occur at the end of this beguiling, beautiful novel, and never have a pair of fictional lovers earned their bliss more. In the "fifty-three years, seven months, and eleven days and nights" that Florentino waits for Formina to return his love, Garda Marquez shows us why passion is ageless and the human spirit infinitely resilient.

Hijuelos, Oscar. The Fourteen Sisters of Emilio Montez O'Brien. Farrar, 1993, $21 (0-374-15815-0).

Hijuelos's new novel is a rich, multigenerational saga stretching over 90 years in the life of the Montez O'Brien family, from Irish father Nelson and Cuban mother Mariela through their 15 children. …

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