Susan Fromberg Schaeffer | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Susan Fromberg Schaeffer

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Ever since her first novel, Falling, a nuanced tale of a suicidal young woman attending the fictional Chicago University, published 20 years ago, Susan Fromberg Schaeffer has drawn inspiration from an ever-widening pool of material. Buffalo Afternoon deals with the struggles of returning Vietnam vets; The Snow Fox is a medieval samurai love saga; The Autobiography of Foudini M. Cat is told from the perspective of a beloved pet (and is much better than it sounds). In her 14th novel, Poison (Norton), Schaeffer, recently retired from the University of Chicago English department, takes on the eternal literary subjects of love, marriage, and infidelity. Peter Grosvenor is the "poison": a Nobel-winning British poet, he's handsome, brilliant, and a total chick magnet. His first two wives committed suicide using the same gas oven. The third is bitter, jealous, calculating, and spiteful, resentful of Peter's fame, his infidelities, and of the children he had with the deceased Evelyn, a talented poet herself. Fame, success, and love notwithstanding, relationships can go bad anyway. "Well, they say love is blind," writes Peter to his brother, "but as usual . . . love rips out its own eyes." Schaeffer's characters are tormented by furies--though often they're the furies themselves. Sat 6/3, 4 PM, Nelson Algren Stage.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Neil Schaeffer.

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