Florence Gordon

Florence Gordon - Brian Morton

One of Brian Morton's specialties as an author is pairing older, often forgotten academics and intellectuals with the younger followings that discover them.  Florence Gordon tracks that overlap though the blunt instrument of its titular character, a 75-year-old author of feminist theory, and her wiry but somehow intact relationship with her family.  The novel, like Florence, doesn't take pains to walk you through its developing story.  The pacing is clipped, but curt with grace.  Internal conflicts are often that: borne, end to end, within their character's mind and only externalized through awkward, selfish expression. What becomes clear to the reader is that Gordon's personality defines the tone as much as it does the family dynamic.  We experience her in reaction, but in defense of her, not defensively.  The approach is rewarding, and deft, and so like her family, the reader is left wanting more catches, more glints of Gordon's personality -- to which this character, real as anyone, turns sharply away.  With Florence Gordon, we aren't coddled to love a cantankerous character sketch.  We are asked to keep up with one.