Excerpt from Oh The Glory Of It All by Sean Wilsey, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Oh The Glory Of It All

by Sean Wilsey

Oh The Glory Of It All by Sean Wilsey X
Oh The Glory Of It All by Sean Wilsey
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    May 2005, 480 pages

    Paperback:
    Apr 2006, 496 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team
Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


After we'd both looked at the issue a few times, another month came, and the overhill ride to the Fairmont happened again. It became a father-son tradition. After a few months, Dad told me, "I'm going to keep these in a drawer from now on, and you can come take them any time you want. You don't have to ask me. But you have to put them back when you're done looking at them. I'll be checking on that."

MY PARENTS' third home was a restaurant halfway down Nob Hill, toward the seedy Tenderloin—run-down on the outside, clubby and leathery and lustrous on the inside. I was a nonspilling, silent-when-told-to-be child, so, also when I was nine, my parents convinced the management to make an exception to their unbendable no-children rule, and for nearly a year I almost lived there, too.

It was like traveling overseas to a ruleless country. All proscriptions were thrown out. I got to stay up late. I was an adult. The maitre d' told us what a great table he had for us, down the hall, past the cigar lady in her closet—who waved at me as if from a ship—past the bathrooms with their zebra-skin doors, in the dim, glowing hum of the main room, called the Captain's Cabin, which grew louder as we entered, as if we were newspaper thrown on a fire.

A waiter came, took Dad's drink order—"Tanqueray gin on the rocks"—and quickly came back. The air around Dad started to smell like fuel.

Mom ordered. Dad ordered. They ordered for me: an elevated silver platter of spare ribs with a candle underneath, accompanied by a butterfly-shaped dish, one wing full of hot yellow mustard, the other sweet red sauce. Dad looked deeply content. Mom smiled her radiant, irresistible-to-photographers smile.

People came to say hello.

Dad drank his flammable Tanqueray gin on the rocks, slowly, and leaned back into the banquette, above which maxims were set into wooden plaques with chiseled Gothic letters. Above him it said:

No chord of music has yet been found To even equal that sweet sound Which to my mind all else surpasses The clink of ice in crystal glasses

I knew about the clink of ice in crystal glasses: It was a sound that meant all was well, everything was in its place, no mistakes were being made, everybody loved each other. I looked at the maxim on the plaque above Mom and Dad and I knew we were doing everything perfectly, and as long as the crystal and ice kept clinking there was nothing to worry about.

MOM AND DAD got divorced that same year—after ten years without once fighting, and regular reassurances that they would never get divorced—and when they did it was vicious and corrosive and melodramatic and strange, like having all your clothes taken away, being forced to the end of a narrow hallway, and having a flaming car battery hurled at you.

I thought their marriage was perfect until one night in the middle of dinner. This was the second night in a row that Mom had placed her head in her hands and started crying at the table while Dad carried on making conversation as though nothing were out of the ordinary. I said, "Dad, what's the matter with Mom?" He hesitated, and she blurted out miserably, "Something terrible has happened." Dad looked unreadable. I realized that this was serious. Dad said, "We 're going to tell you about it after dinner." I tried to prepare myself. I tried to think of the worst thing that could ever happen happening.

I said, "Has Dede died?"

Mom and Dad told me that Dad would be moving out. A few days later I went and spent the night with him in the Fairmont Hotel, and for the first time he told me the following, which he would repeat many times over the years: "If your mother had cared as much about being a wife as she did about being a star, we'd still be married."


From Oh The Glory Of It All by Sean Wilsey. Copyright 2005 Sean Wilsey. All rights reserved. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, The Penguin Press.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Join BookBrowse

and discover exceptional books
for just $3.75 per month.

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: If I Survive You
    If I Survive You
    by Jonathan Escoffery
    In If I Survive You, author Jonathan Escoffery portrays a family falling apart with grace. Main ...
  • Book Jacket: Stories from the Tenants Downstairs
    Stories from the Tenants Downstairs
    by Sidik Fofana
    'Everybody got a story, everybody got a tale / Question is: Is it despair or prevail?' ...
  • Book Jacket: Fire Season
    Fire Season
    by Leyna Krow
    Fire Season is a thoroughly enjoyable novel that touches upon multiple genres and themes. It ...
  • Book Jacket: The Story of Russia
    The Story of Russia
    by Orlando Figes
    In The Story of Russia, British historian and writer Orlando Figes shares panoramic and ...

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
The Ways We Hide
by Kristina McMorris
From the bestselling author of Sold On A Monday, a sweeping tale of an illusionist recruited by British intelligence in World War II.

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Natural History
    by Andrea Barrett

    A masterful new collection of interconnected stories, from the renowned National Book Award–winning author.

Book Club Giveaway!
Win A Minor Chorus

A Minor Chorus

A debut novel from a rising literary star that brings the modern queer and Indigenous experience into sharp relief.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

Y Can't G H A

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.