Interesting story of a life and exploration of what makes a life. I've seen this described as "gentle" and I guess that a way of describing. There is not the usual narrative arc. It's more about a friend musing on another friend/mentor/teacher's life. It's a somewhat aristocratic life, but one filled with passion, conviction, and principles. It was also interesting reading of Harvard Square long ago. The structure is interesting, but a little clunky too. Cam, the narrator, is writing a novelization of her friend Jane's life. Cam is a historian by profession and attempting this fiction style for the first time at 70. She frames the story with direct addresses to the reader, and then will write sections of Jane's life, and then come back for commentary on how her own writing is going. A couple of quotes:"It is odd that, on the whole, novelists speak little of friendship between opposite sexes, and especially these days, when sexual encounters dominate everything else in most fictional characters. I am writing about a woman who had a genius for friendship with both sexes, and touched deeply an enormous number and variety of lives. Could she have done so to the same extent, and at the same depth, had she married? I think not. It is one of the questions I hope to be able to probe as I pursue my quarry." p. 58"Yes," she said thoughtfully, "but any work of art has to do with both the interpreter and her subject, surely? You can't keep yourself out of it, can you?"I had not thought of it like that. I had seen myself simply as an observer, a recorder, but I saw at once that she had hit the nail on the head."