Westminsterby David Donavel
Narrated in the present tense, Westminster is a meditation on some of the stages human beings appear to pass through as we move from youth to old age and, eventually, death. The story follows the lives of seven people, all of whom are associated with Westminster University, an imagined institution located somewhere north of Boston and not far from New Hampshire. Six of the people are paired, the youngest Patrick, a student, and his childhood sweetheart, Elaine are struggling to stabilize their relationship. The pair in middle age, Ed and Diane Fournier, are solidifying their respective careers, his as a physician, hers as a newly tenured instructor at the college. The third pair, Phillip Lehman and Edith are at the end of their teaching careers and learning to live with diminished possibilities. The seventh figure, Jonathan Holcom, another college instructor, serves as a kind of chorus on the story’s events, all of which transpire over the course of a few months. The novel is a consideration of how we change over time and where, if anywhere, those changes take us.