[Reading] ➽ Outside the Ordinary World By Dori Ostermiller – Shiningweb.info

Outside the Ordinary World Sylvia Sandon Is At A Crossroads In Her Life A Wife And Mother Of Two Daughters, She And Her City Planner Husband Grapple With The Escalating Renovation Of Their Antique Farmhouse A Situation That Mirrors The Disarray In Sylvia S Life Facing A Failing Marriage And A Famished Career As An Art Teacher, Sylvia Finds Herself Suddenly Powerless To The Allure Of Tai Rosen, The Father Of Her Most Difficult Art Student As Their Passion Ignites, Sylvia Is Forced To Examine Her Past, And The Seeds Of Betrayal That Were Sown Decades Earlier By Her Mother S Secret Life Eloquently Written And Deeply Thought Provoking, Ostermiller S Outside The Ordinary World Crosses Many Years And Miles From The California Brushfires In The S To New England During The First Half Of This Decade Raised Seventh Day Adventist, Sylvia Must Reconcile The Conflicting Values Exhibited By Her Parents A Mother Involved In An Extramarital Affair And A Father Who Was Emotionally Distant And Abusive While Coming To Terms With Her Own Disturbing Role In Her Family S Dissolution And Father S Tragic Death While Infidelity Is A Subject Often Explored In Fiction, Ostermiller Shines A Razor Sharp Lens On The Gray Areas Surrounding Betrayal, The Complex Interplay Of Religion, And The Powerful Legacy Passed Down From One Generation To The Next At The Same Time, She Reveals The Redemptive Power Of The Human Spirit To Love, Transform, And Forgive Despite Family History Loved this, will come back to post ain depth review. I read Dori Ostermiller s novel in two sittings and I am not a particularly fast reader What made it so compelling for me has to do with the way in which Ostermiller has created a narrator whose own story, occurring in the new millenium, begins to mirror rather against her will that of her mother thirty years prior Yes, the pivotal moments in the lives of this mother and daughter do involve extramarital affairs But as the title of the novel indicates, the real crucible for both women, as t I read Dori Ostermiller s novel in two sittings and I am not a particularly fast reader What made it so compelling for me has to do with the way in which Ostermiller has created a narrator whose own story, occurring in the new millenium, begins to mirror rather against her will that of her mother thirty years prior Yes, the pivotal moments in the lives of this mother and daughter do involve extramarital affairs But as the title of the novel indicates, the real crucible for both women, as they come to maturity in such different times, has to do with the ways in which the demands of the ordinary world children, husbands, property, and if there is time, a career of sorts threatens the possibility of anything extraordinary What this book is really about is what women live on whether they can live on bread alone, as it were, or require something , some manna from heaven The answer that the novel delivers is tough minded and compassionate and deeply sensitive to the many crosscurrents by which the public self can be drowned by the desperation of the personal self and vice versa I appreciate the way in which this novel challenges our sometimes easy complacency about the so called new freedoms enjoyed by women in this generation In this book, the stress points in the lives of women may have been re drawn but they have never quite been eased A final note one of the delights of the book is the tactile quality with which Ostermiller creates characters The narrator s mother, Elaine Sandon, is one of the most vividly drawn characters I have encountered in recent fiction Ostermiller builds her molecule by molecule until she walks the pages we get every inch of her, ever mole on her skin, every tic in her way of talking, every physical mannerism I am a teacher and in my fall fiction class at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, I will include this novel on my reading list Let me tell you why I love this book Have you noticed the current trend in fiction these days I have, I buy them for a living many of the popular ones tell good stories, andoften than not they feature protagonists who are supernatural or canine or both They are engrossing, for the length of time it takes to read them, but they lack an individual persona like a preteen who relinquishes her stunning uniqueness for the false safety of a peer identity Outside the Ordinary World is not Let me tell you why I love this book Have you noticed the current trend in fiction these days I have, I buy them for a living many of the popular ones tell good stories, andoften than not they feature protagonists who are supernatural or canine or both They are engrossing, for the length of time it takes to read them, but they lack an individual persona like a preteen who relinquishes her stunning uniqueness for the false safety of a peer identity Outside the Ordinary World is not just the title of a book, it is its identity Ostermiller writes exquisitely Her prose style is as dynamic as her fire imagery it gently flickers, quietly smolders, suddenly sears, or can rage unpredictably Read this I was trembling like an addict as I stumbled after him, my thoughts feral and haphazard predestination, species extinction The last plagues how many were there again What were they called Ah, prose with a comedic, self observing ego that doesn t take itself too seriously Well, until it does From the first page Though I ve never been taught to believe in purgatory, it must be a place like this a land where we linger, mourning our nature like obstinate children whose parents warned them about the crack in the sidewalk, the fissure in the glass, the lethal fork in the trail Over and over again, sentences like these held me, asking me to not let them go, and while I could see the storyline over their shoulders a beckoning force I let them hold me, not a difficult choice really, it is what I hunger for when I read and too often find myself settling instead for meager lesses If other reviewers proclaim, I couldn t put this book down , do not think I misled you Yes I savored sentences, and often, but they also afforded me some relief from a deftly contrived tension that Ostermiller sets up and fans continually the potential that devastating family secrets as safe as love letters hidden in a flimsy cardboard box could be uncovered at any moment While family secrets, usually coupled with infidelity, are subjects often explored in fiction, what is unusual here is that Ostermiller s characters mothers, fathers, daughters, lovers are psychologically complex and achingly human You won t find any heroines or villains, rather a mix of extraordinary characters that share a common trait, they are flawed Characters that are drawn like moths to a flame to either repeat or rebel against the patterns that have led those their family members before them towards self destruction, redemption, or perhaps even worse, mediocrity.This novel is outside of the ordinary It is appropriate that Sylvia is an artist For her in world, just like one of her brilliant paintings, what is seen is just the top layer of oils Beneath them, layer upon layer, lie the painstaking history of its making Outside the Ordinary World is a gripping page turner a book that grabs you from the very first pages and doesn t let go It s a book about the legacy of betrayal and there s not a single false or sanctimonious note to be found Have I mentioned it s very, very good The book is divided into two narratives the first takes place in the mid 70s when the protagonist, Sylvie, is only 12 years old Her mother is perfect , the kind of mom who wallpapered the insides of her silverware drawers and he Outside the Ordinary World is a gripping page turner a book that grabs you from the very first pages and doesn t let go It s a book about the legacy of betrayal and there s not a single false or sanctimonious note to be found Have I mentioned it s very, very good The book is divided into two narratives the first takes place in the mid 70s when the protagonist, Sylvie, is only 12 years old Her mother is perfect , the kind of mom who wallpapered the insides of her silverware drawers and her father is an ambitious surgeon who drinks too much and is prone to violence Into this mix steps Mr Robert, her mother s lover, a man who is the epitome of everything her father is not sensitive, funny, loving, and full of hopes and dreams.Thirty years later, Sylvie will ask her mother, Did it feel like you had a choice Or were you driven by forces beyond your control Her reason for the question is vastly personal she, too, is on a crossroads, between her solid but emotionally absent husband Nathan, and her lover, Tai, who, symbolically, is a landscape architect who build labyrinths.Sylvie experiences her affair as watching myself fall right through my life, floorboards splintering Using her lover s language, she reflects that love is not simply working the soil and laying the foundation for growth There are boulders and tree roots , storm fronts and longing, someone s decomposing old work boots There are things you forgot to harvest, weeks of torrential memories As the affair takes wing, Sylvie struggles both toward and against her shared history with her mother, striving to make sense of her past, present and future Ordinary World goes far beyond a depiction of two marriages imploding mother s and daughter s It s also about how our past comes back to haunt us, how we never truly escape the choices we make, and how most of the time, the power to fulfill our dreams lies in our own hands, not in the hands of others It s about how easy relationships can fall apart and how hard it is to keep it together It s about how unresolved issues come back to bite us And most of all, it s about how we need to let go to truly find ourselves

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