Infinite Home has both literal and metaphorical implications in Kathleen Alcott’s new novel. Landlord, Edith has chosen the tenants of her apartment building very carefully, providing them with encouragement and understanding, occasionally accepting the rent late. Tenants include agoraphobic Adeleine who has a tendency to hoard vintage items, 33 year-old Paulie who is a child in a man’s body, Claudia who leaves her marriage to care for her brother, Thomas who was a successful artist before he had a stroke, and Edward who is an embittered former stand-up comedian. When Edith begins to display confusion and memory loss, they band together to care for her. When her negligent son appears and decides to sell their long time home for a profit, a cast of unlikely heroes forms. Alcott doesn’t tie this story up in a neat package, but respects the quirks and wounds of her characters. She is also a brilliant writer, and I found myself rereading passages for their sheer beauty and craft.
The theme of strangers brought together by proximity, and then love is a hopeful one, and a favorite of mine. For other stories of tenants drawn together, read:
Fishbowl by Bradley Somer
My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman
The Affairs of Others by Amy Grace Loyd
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin