The Passion of Anna

Anna Quindlen’s “Still Life With Bread Crumbs,” which hit bookstores last month, can be read as a coming-of-age tale. But the age in question is 60 — and the novel is also a romance. On the surface, it may even sound like a Harlequin fantasy: Rebecca Winter, a New York photographer and divorcee facing an onslaught of midlife struggles, moves to the sticks where she falls for a 30-year-old roofer who works on her new cottage. (The book’s Hollywood-ready tagline: “Love turns up in the most unexpected places.”) Readers hoping for guilty-pleasure chick lit, however, may be disappointed. Quindlen, a Pulitzer Prize winner who has been called “the quintessential baby boomer,” favors sober themes like aging and self-discovery over torrid melodrama. Still, there’s a reason she enjoys such a devoted following. The author crafts her prose to be immediately engaging and emotionally involving. If you’re a fan, it’s like she’s speaking directly to you. —John Birmingham

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