Edenwald is a retirement community in Towson, a very nice one. I have spoken there and I know at least one resident.
In WHAT THE DEAD KNOW, Kevin Infante visits Edenwald and it unnerves him. He’s relatively young and he has lost his father, whose last years were spent in a much cheaper nursing home on Long Island.
Kevin thinks: “Nursing homes — and whatever they called these places, retirement homes or assisted living, they were still nursing homes — were creepy to him.” He goes to TGIFridays, postponing his visit.
When he goes back, he thinks: “What was it about the air in these places? Whether super-posh, like this one, or just a step up from a county hospital, they all smelled and felt the same: overheated and cold at the same time, stuffy, room deoderizers and aerosols battling the medicinal air. Death’s waiting room. And the more they fought it, like this place with all its brightly colored flyers around the lobby — museum trip, opera trip, New York trip — the more obvious it seemed. Infante’s father had spent his last years in a nursing home in Long Island, a no-frills place that all but announced, ‘You’re here to die, please hurry up.’ There was something to be said for the honesty of its approach. But if you could afford a place like this, of course you’d ante up for it. At least it cut down on the guilt.”
Today, I received this e-mail. ” I have recently read your novel “What the Dead know”, and, as a resident of Edenwald, I find your remarks about Edenwald tasteless. To be sure, you will argue that it is a fictional figure who makes these offensive remarks. But YOU decided to overtly identify Edenwald as one of the places of action, YOU decided to create the mistaken impression of ugly smells and arrogant residents–both wrong. You have been here and should know better.
Artistically, the novel is poorly written ([spoiler redacted]‘s style of expression is much too sophisticated for her personality).The structure (much more expertly used in the novels of others) is confusing. The extensive use of pronouns (instead of names) is equally confusing, and the plot, whatever there is of it, is highly improbable.”
It’s not the first complaint. I doubt it will be the last. Yes, I would argue that it is a fictional figure who makes these offensive remarks. Kevin Infante also sleeps with a student at Towson University, uses coarse, sexist language and seems to have had a crush on the cartoon character Penelope Pitstop. This is not drawn from my life. So far.