Kinds of Love by May Sarton (circa 1970) is priceless too, but in a sweet, winsome way. The back cover copy immediately caught my attention due to its complete lack of slickness, its charming fumblings, its earnestness. These things date it almost as much as its hideous cover. Here is said copy, with my comments:
Mary Sarton's Willard is a small town lost in the rocky hills of New Hampshire [Willard just makes me think of that brrrr awful movie about rats]. She has chosen to examine the kind of gusto and resilience that, from the start, have been required to "stay alive" [why the quotations? Are they zombies?] in such a town. Willard's being [the town has a being?] is a wide diversity of people able to be themselves because of the quality of life they have found in a place where the natural world is never absent from any hour or day [not like that other nature that is apt to pop out now and then for smokes or a bite to eat], where wild animals, wild flowers and birds, as well as brooks [don't forget those brooks], ragged woods [ragged], dirt roads, and a mountain [what about the stones, assorted garbage, faeries and gnomes], are all woven into the ethos [oooohh Latin!] it represents.
Willard attracts "the untameable, the wild, the gentle" [sounds like South Mountain in Nova Scotia where there was that hillbilly family charged with incest]. As the reader is taken into its secret history, he comes to know a rich variety of human beings [nice plot twist!]. The two shining threads are the deep but prickly friendship between Christina, an old Bostonian, and Ellen, the daughter of a farmer; and the process by which Christina and her husband "come into their own" [again with he quotes!] in their marriage when both are past seventy and have become winter people at last [this must be the cheapest 'in the winter of their lives' allusion ever].I did a little research into this May Sarton and she is described thusly: "Essayist, novelist, journal writer, feminist, lesbian, and poet, May Sarton, was born in Wondelgem, Belgium, on May 3, 1912." Sort of jarring, isn't it? I couldn't really get much else out of the bio because the number of CAPS for EVERY book TITLE of WHICH there are MANY really MESSED with my READING COMPREHENSION. It appears, though, that our lesbian May here is possibly read in some universities but otherwise has faded into distant book history, with only an Amazon record and websites with terrible colour schemes left to trumpet her name. RIP, Kinds of Love.