Susan Coll

A realistic portrait of romance on the other side of 50
A realistic portrait of romance on the other side of 50

When dark clouds roll in, do you stay and weather the storm, or do you run toward blue skies?

For Cassie Klein, the main character in Susan Coll’s new novel, “Real Life and Other Fictions,” the answer has long been run. A creative-writing professor at a community college, Cassie is married to a meteorologist, and getting ahead of the weather is something she knows she’s supposed to do. So when she finds herself purposefully joining standstill traffic on the four-mile-long Chesapeake Bay Bridge in a weather event, it’s clear that she’s driving away from life as she knows it. As “a heavy grey slush” falls from the sky, the question becomes not what is Cassie running from — empty nest, difficult marriage, cheating husband are shared on the first few pages — but what is she running to.

Susan Coll’s seventh novel is all about that wild, unpredictable sprint to something else. As Cassie tells readers early on: “This morning, as I departed, I told him I couldn’t live like this anymore. But what, precisely, I hoped to achieve, I can’t say for sure.” She knows she’s driving to her aunt and uncle’s house on the Delaware shore, but it’s a temporary respite. Where she is going after that is determined on the bridge, when the universe sends her a sign.

Read the full article at The Washington Post
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A realistic portrait of romance on the other side of 50
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