REA Award, also won by Andre Dubus, who admired her greatly.
movie, with Robert Duvall and Glenn Close, and Berriault also wrote the screenplay for it. And it was previously adapted for television.) After I'd read "The Stone Boy," I thought, "Who is this writer?" and kept looking for her in anthologies and bookstores. (I found her collection at Babbitt's, when I worked there, on the floor.)
Alas, she was, apparently, a "writer's writer," defined here as someone admired by other writers for "purity and passion" but sidestepped by fame. "It seems I'm going to be famous," Emily Dickinson once wrote (to whom? my source is The Belle of Amherst, the play by William Luce that pieces together snippets of notes and letters) but it seemed her fame would come in the form of immortality, a thing she also hoped for. Berriault eventually met with fame and acclaim but, the above article claims, wrote mostly in obscurity.
No wonder Richard Yates loved her! He, too, was appreciated by other writers but suffered obscurity after early acclaim, and the film of his novel Revolutionary Road was made after his death. Yates said, "Gina Berriault is one of the finest writers alive." But, as you can see from her New York Times obituary, she's dead.
I like Berriault in the way I like Alice Munro--although the scenes and characters are very different--for the close observation of real human behavior, the understated but firm connection to the emotional life, and the quiet, steady confidence that just to say what's happening is enough, to leave as is whatever is mysterious, to reveal whatever can unfold on its own.
review of Women in Their Beds; reviewer Katherine Whittamore doesn't like the title story as much as I do but we both love the librarian/homeless man story, "Who Is It Can Tell Me Who I Am?" By chance, I am about to read "The Overcoat," the story mentioned at the end of this review, and a title also used by Nicolai Gogol for a story I have also discussed in a Great Books salon.
And I am a woman in her joy, who answered the doorbell last night to find my son, the home boy! College friends dropped him off on their way elsewhere for the weekend. I knew he was coming but did not know the details, and at that moment was expecting my daughter at the door. He then surprised his father and his sister, as each came home, and was himself surprised to find his mattress stolen, as was the overcoat in Gogol.
But that's another story.