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By Jane Smiley

 
From the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer of A Thousand Acres: the strong and deeply affecting tale of 1 woman’s existence, from put up Civil-War Missouri to California in the course of global warfare II.
 
When Margaret Mayfield marries Captain Andrew Jackson Jefferson Early on the age of twenty-seven, she narrowly avoids condemning herself to existence as an outdated maid. as an alternative, understanding little approximately marriage or even much less approximately her husband, she strikes with Andrew to his naval base in California. Margaret stands through Andrew in the course of tragedies either historic and private, yet as international battle II ways and the secrets and techniques of her husband’s medical and educational previous start to floor, she is compelled to think again the lifestyles she had so conscientiously developed.
 
A riveting and nuanced novel of marriage and relatives, Private Life finds the mysteries of intimacy and the anonymity that endures even in lives lived aspect via side.

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The controversy was once a sensation. in the course of the fall and into the spring, he gave a model of this speech in Vallejo, Napa, Dixon, Benicia, as a ways south as Atherton and San Jose, as a long way north as Calistoga. They drove to all of those areas, and Margaret used to be startled via the diversity of the California panorama. teams requested him again, and he again, joyfully, with a presentation in regards to the universe. From his speak about the universe, you are going to have assumed that that fellow in Europe—what used to be his identify? —Einstein, who was once getting quite a bit play within the papers (but quite, as she seemed round on the viewers, extra humans regarded clean on the identify than otherwise), used to be an insignificant fabulist. For those lectures, Andrew carried a small thick e-book with a crimson leather-based hide, and correct in the midst of the lecture, he might carry the ebook above his head and exclaim the observe “Gravity! ,” then allow cross of the publication, which might land with a smack at the level. Then he might say, “The Earth has gravity! Gravity is a strength. If the Earth didn't have gravity, then this booklet wouldn't drop to the forums the following, yet could floooooat at the air. And the booklet! ”—he may choose up the book—“the ebook has gravity, too! The publication is drawing the Earth to itself, simply because the Earth is drawing the publication to itself! The sunlight exerts this strength! The moon exerts this strength! You exert this strength! I exert this strength! ” Then he could flip, together with his palms raised in a sweeping gesture, and say, “Do you notice any hills in this degree? Do you spot any slopes that would reason this ebook to sl-l-l-ide down towards the degree? ” lengthy pause, a couple of shaking heads. “Do you? ” a few guy constantly shouted, “No! ” “So gravity can't be a slope, created by way of curvature. there is not any curvature right here. take into accout this—you can’t have something in a single a part of area and one other factor in one other half! You can’t say that the universe is curved yet this stage”—he stomped his feet—“isn’t, so gravity works a technique in a single position and otherwise in one other position. Gravity is a strength! ” In a conversation of an hour (including questions—he used to be nice at answering questions), he demolished Einstein in approximately ten mins and spent the remainder of the time explaining what the universe used to be fairly like. After those talks, males buttonholed Andrew and gave him their very own theories, whereas girls patted Margaret at the hand and acknowledged, “So incredible! How lucky you're to be married to such an enticing guy! ” while, a lot to Margaret’s shock, Einstein made a well-publicized journey to the US, after which, in keeping with Andrew, “went approximately hawking his loopy evaluations everywhere,” Andrew wasn’t as indignant as she anticipated him to be. He simply shook his head, and stated, “The ignorant and the enthusiastic are inspired, my pricey, yet see here—no invitation from Harvard, and Princeton has basically enable him within the again door. i'm yes he anticipated even more, given his connections. My technique has to be to head on as i've got began and positioned my religion within the inherent stable experience of our countrymen. ” the single different time he stated something approximately it was once sooner or later in the summertime, after studying one in all his long-delayed papers from the East.

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