Still Life With Bread Crumbs

Still Life With Bread Crumbs by Anna Quindlen

One of the benefits of getting older is that you can re-read your books and they seem new. I did remember bits of this one but could never have strung the bits together to make a story. I also remember thinking it was ok, but nothing special. Happily, I liked it better this time, probably because it's about an aging woman struggling to adjust to her changing circumstances. Not that she's as aged as I am, but I could certainly relate. 

Her name is Rebecca Winter and she's a famous photographer or more accurately, she was a famous photographer. She isn't working much now - the jobs just aren't coming in - and she's feeling the pinch. Her income has shrunk but her expenses have not: rent and upkeep for her New York apartment, her mother's nursing home expenses, helping her father with his rent and her son with whatever he needs at the time, and all the other ongoing expenses of day-to-day life.

She decides to sublet her apartment, which in N.Y. will bring in a very good price, and look for someplace smaller and less expensive for herself. Finding an ad for a cottage in the country, she takes it based only on a couple of internet pictures - not a good idea. It's cold, barely furnished, and has a raccoon in the attic, though ultimately the raccoon is a good thing because it leads her to Jim Bates. He will get rid of it for her, fix her roof so it can't get back in, and become a friend. She finds two more friends in Sarah, who runs the local coffee shop, and Tad, self-employed as a clown for children's parties. 

Hiking every day to keep busy, she comes across a series of white crosses in the woods near her cottage, each one with some personal item nearby, and begins to photograph them, though she has no idea what they mean or who put them there. These photos will be the beginning of her come back as a photographer, and the start of a new life with a new love.  

The characters were likeable, the plot (mostly) believable, and the writing quite enjoyable. It was worth reading again, and this time I have no hesitation recommending it.  


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