Mirror Talk by Barbara Alfaro is a thoughtful book, rich in detail, humor and poignancy.
A memoir, Mirror Talk takes the reader on a gentle journey from childhood to retirement. The writing is graceful, the observations clever, sometimes painful but always honest.
Barbara Alfaro's gift of description is fresh and delightful: Coney Island's rollercoaster described as "a giant doodle against the sky." A lake where, as a child, she went fishing with her grandfather described as "spotted with lily pads." Or the conclusion that "Having a successful marriage proved a lot more difficult than geometry."
Barbara is an accomplished poet and playwright, and it shows in her flowing, rhythmic prose.
I loved the chapter "Summer Romance," which deals with family love and loss, and confides to the reader the event that changed Barbara's life - seeing her first play. She writes, "I don't remember the play. I do remember loving everything about it - the stage, lighting, sounds, costumes. It was as if the most beautifully illustrated book in the universe had suddenly come to life, giant-size and accompanied by music. I was instantly and permanently theatre mad."
Much of this witty and wistful memoir is devoted to the author's life in the theater. And her behind-the-scenes glimpses of New York's theatrical universe reveal the quirky, weird and wonderful people known as actors, directors and producers.
Her chapter "Make Mine Cognac" had me laughing out loud.
For a wise and gentle look at a tenderly-layered life, I recommend Mirror Talk, a memoir by Barbara Alfaro.