Review: Rachel Ingalls – “Mrs. Caliban”

Finally loving, finally living…

This is a book where the contents are everything and the language is very much constructed in a thoughtful and simple way. No meanderings are found here. Ingalls has written a masterpiece which could serve as a construct to understanding what some writings of love, alienation, and humanity can be like, over the course of a few dozen pages.

Also, this book is very funny at times.

“Come on back for a cup of coffee?” Estelle asked.
“I’d love to, but it’s got to be quick. Fred’s bringing somebody back from the office.”
“And you’re scurrying around to fulfil all your wifely obligations. My God, I don’t miss that.”
“You’re kidding. They’re getting spaghetti and they can like it.”


She accepted a second cup of coffee, first trying to persuade Estelle to add some water to it. Estelle was outraged. She declared that it would kill the taste.

“Then don’t fill it up. Honestly, Estelle.”
“Honestly yourself.”
“I don’t know why it doesn’t have any effect on you. I love it, but two cups make me feel dizzy. And like my scalp might suddenly rise up and fly away. Then there’s something over here—here, is that where the liver is?”
“Dorothy, that’s where the imagination is.”


“How bad is it?”
“What?” Estelle asked.
“The hangover.”
“I’ve got a hangover, all right. I’ve got a hangover from living forty-four long years.”

Then there are serenely human moments quickly described throughout the book:

She ate an early supper with Larry. They took a lot of extra time over their coffee. He wanted to know all about the Cranstons. The more Dorothy told him, the more he seemed fascinated. What struck him as most interesting was the fact that although Dorothy and Estelle talked about the Cranstons being “friends”, neither of them genuinely liked the couple. “Is this usual?” he asked. After some thought, Dorothy said she figured it probably was.

All in all, this book is highly recommendable.

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