Duchess of Nothing The nameless narrator of Heather McGowan's novel lives in Rome with her lover and his 8-year-old brother, whose education she oversees. "He is the child… Duchess of Nothing The nameless narrator of Heather McGowan's novel lives in Rome with her lover and his 8-year-old brother, whose education she oversees. "He is the child… 2006-03-21 Fiction Bloomsbury
Book Review

Duchess of Nothing (2006)

EW's GRADE
A-

Details Release Date: Mar 21, 2006; Writer: Heather McGowan; Genre: Fiction; Publisher: Bloomsbury

The nameless narrator of Heather McGowan's novel lives in Rome with her lover and his 8-year-old brother, whose education she oversees. ''He is the child and I am the adult, not the other way around,'' she reminds herself. But for most of the book, this curious woman — who believes the purchase of the right sunglasses will ''stave off death'' — seems to prove the opposite. She's confused about the boy's age. She mopes around their apartment until he makes her a sandwich. She gives him scotch to dull the pain of a splinter. She is kind of maddening in her comical self-absorption... and yet perfectly lovable, especially as her tenderness for her young charge becomes increasingly clear. Told in a stream of consciousness infused with a delicious, dry humor, Duchess of Nothing is a lovely look at loneliness and connection.

Originally posted Mar 24, 2006 Published in issue #870 Mar 31, 2006 Order article reprints
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