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Joseph Cowley

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Member Since: Mar, 2005

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Literary Fiction

Publisher:  Hardcover: Simon&Schuster; softcover: toExcel ISBN-10:  0595001734 Type: 


Copyright:  1981, 2000

Barnes &
Joseph Cowley

Originally published in hard cover by Simon & Schuster, this is a novel about two mature humans given a second chance at love. The story of their life together is so transcendently beautiful reading it is like an act of liberation and deliverance, from the cares of this life and from the fears of aging and death. It will stir your feelings and imagination, taking you on a journey into the human heart you will never forget.

The Chrysanthemum Garden was originally published in hard-cover by Simon & Schuster. It is a novel about two people, so real, so authentic, so totally realized that as we watch them fall in love we feel we are finally being permitted to enter the magic kingdom of the human heart. Morna Franklin and Denison McArdle are not adolescent, romantic stick figures, but mature humans who bear the scars, defeats, resignation and triumphs that come from having lived full lives. But neither is, nor could ever be, prepared for the moment of unexpected grace that wrenches them from the lives they assumed they would always live. She is in her fifties, a mother and grandmother. He is seventy, a great American poet, a widower waiting benignly for his life to wind down. The novel is th story of their life together, a novel so transcendently beautiful that reading it is like an act of liberation and deliverance, from the cares of this life and from the fears of aging and death.


The snow would come again, but she would never go back. She felt too hurt now, lonely. He would not come again no matter how long she might wait. But what would she do now, with her life?
She knew, and didn't know, that he would die. The thought had come before, but she had put it aside. There was still time, and she didn't have to think of an ending. She had just lived life day by day.
She would wake in the morning when the squirrels skittered across the roof of the house set against the hillside in one of the rough undulations of forest around Monadnock. The light would just be starting to filter through the trees, and the rising sun would disperse the fog, first on the hilltops and later in the valley.

Professional Reviews

The Cleveland Plain Dealer
The Chrysanthemum Garden offers a great deal of wisdom and beauty....The carefully observed moments bespeak eternities.Like the judiciously employed title metaphor, the lives of these people are imbued with a pungent, sometimes spiky tenderness, and a beauty that lingers beyond all expectations.

--Helen Faye Rosenblum

Louisville, KY, Courier Journal
Joseph Cowley avoids the pitfalls and, thanks to the sensitive eye, the perceptiveness, and the emotional ardor with which he endowed Morna, gives the story an intensity and an immediacy that involves us deeply with the three central characters.

--Samuel Yellen

The San Diego Union
"The Chrysanthemum Garden" is not a sentimental story with a happy ending. It's a book about people and relationships and caring, giving the reader a quiet, unobtrusive look into the lives of two people time and love have brought together.

--Pamela Hoye

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