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Winner of the National Book Award: A Novel…
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Winner of the National Book Award: A Novel of Fame, Honor, and Really Bad… (edició 2003)

de Jincy Willett

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5451733,185 (3.25)16
"Winner of the National Book Award, " the long-awaited novel from the author of the acclaimed collection, "Jenny and the Jaws of Life, " is an unusual and wonderful novel that is somehow able to be at once bleak and hilarious, light-hearted and profound. It's the story of two sisters. Abigail Mather is a woman of enormous appetites, sexual and otherwise. Her fraternal twin Dorcas couldn't be more different: she gave up on sex without once trying it, and she lives a controlled, dignified life of the mind. Though Abigail exasperates Dorcas, the two love each other; in fact, they complete each other. They are an odd pair, set down in an odd Rhode Island town, where everyone has a story to tell, and writers, both published and unpublished, carom off each other like billiard balls. What is it that makes the two women targets for the new man in town, the charming schlockmeister Conrad Lowe, tall, whippet-thin and predatory? In Abigail and Dorcas he sees a new and tantalizing challenge. Not the mere conquest of Abigail, with her easy reputation, but a longer and more sinister game. A game that will lead to betrayal, shame and, ultimately, murder. In her darkly comic and unsettling first novel, Jincy Willett proves that she is a true find: that rare writer who can explore the shadowy side of human nature with the lightest of touches.… (més)
Membre:watson11
Títol:Winner of the National Book Award: A Novel of Fame, Honor, and Really Bad Weather
Autors:Jincy Willett
Informació:
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
Valoració:
Etiquetes:No n'hi ha cap

Detalls de l'obra

Winner of the National Book Award: A Novel of Fame, Honor, and Really Bad Weather de Jincy Willett

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» Mira també 16 mencions

Es mostren 1-5 de 17 (següent | mostra-les totes)
I think people should ignore every blurb that's on the cover of this book. It is emphatically not the funniest novel I've ever read, or even close -- Augusten Burroughs and I have different ideas of what "funny" means, maybe? -- but I nonetheless thought it was very good.

I also don't know why people call this a dark comedy, either. There's a particular person's death foreshadowed throughout, but that death in and of itself isn't much of a joke. I actually was a little bit glad of the death; there was an element of justice to it that was pretty clear all along.

The narrator is a crabby spinster librarian, somehow not quite cliche, and hugely enjoyable to read. I'm not sure everyone would embrace her as completely as I did, but I responded to her sarcasm, and to her abiding love of books, immediately. ( )
1 vota BraveNewBks | Mar 10, 2016 |
Read in one day. Hard to put down. ( )
  Alphawoman | Mar 22, 2015 |
I found this book at a sale and got it just because of the title. It was ok, but just that. It's the story of twin sisters, one an aging virgin librarian and one the other extreme. The librarian tells the story. Her twin is accused of murder, and some bizarre friends of hers write her story, and her sister contemplates the book as she reads it, telling the story herself. It wasn't particularly funny, and I didn't really care about any of the characters either. ( )
1 vota hobbitprincess | Sep 30, 2011 |
Best thing about this book is it's title. ( )
1 vota Well-ReadNeck | May 10, 2010 |
Es mostren 1-5 de 17 (següent | mostra-les totes)
The first 20 pages or so of Jincy Willett's mischievously titled novel are so entertaining they nearly wear you out. Those first pages are dense with observations about Rhode Island, where the book takes place, and its inhabitants. (''We have no stage presence at all,'' the narrator explains, ''no Southern theatrics, Midwestern irony, Western hyperbole, New York cynicism.'') And one page consists of nothing but howlingly funny jacket blurbs for a trashy true-crime book about a woman who has killed her abusive husband. (''Abby Mather's triumph is our triumph,'' asserts Victoria Fracas, author of ''Rape, Rape, Rape.'')

Sure, it's all very amusing, but it also sets off the warning bells: is Willett's first novel (she previously published a book of short stories, ''Jenny and the Jaws of Life'') going to be a self-congratulatory stunt, a case of a writer's scrabbling away on the hamster wheel of her own cleverness?

The miraculous surprise of ''Winner of the National Book Award'' is that the answer, free of Midwestern irony or any other kind, is no. The book's narrator is Dorcas Mather, an unmarried librarian and self-proclaimed loner (she's in her mid-40's when the book opens in 1983). Dorcas has a twin sister, Abigail, who's her polar opposite: Dorcas is tall and narrow, and her sexuality and her sensuality find their outlet almost exclusively in the act of reading. Abigail, on the other hand, is large and fleshy and takes her pleasure wherever she can find it. At 14, she lost her virginity to her small-town high school's football team. Years later, the men who were once on that team acknowledge the act, remorsefully, as rape, but Abigail doesn't see it that way. Her view of the event seems woefully delusional, but Willett allows her to have it, perhaps as a way of acknowledging that as much as we'd like to choose tidy, politically correct feelings for characters, the choice isn't ours to make.

But Abigail is emotionally fragile, and both she and Dorcas fall prey, in different ways, to the unmitigated nastiness of Conrad Lowe, a writer, misogynist and former gynecologist who suddenly appears in their town. What happens among the three of them, told here in flashback, makes for a plot that's merely serviceable. Yet, page by page, this novel is effortlessly enjoyable: Willett observes details unsparingly and with great good humor, not to mention refreshingly pointed crankiness. Although Dorcas is in some ways heartbreakingly open to the world around her, she also greets it with exceptionally sharp skepticism. As a librarian (and an avid, loving reader), she reserves her hottest poker for the type of ''worthy'' books that get glowing reviews and then languish, unread and unremembered, on library shelves until someone finally has the good sense to chuck them: ''How well do you remember that, say, six-year-old 600-pager The Times assured you was destined to become a classic? You know. The 'monumental work of fiction' that you were supposed to run, not walk, to the nearest bookstore to purchase, the book that was going to change your life. . . . Winner of the National Book Award. You remember. 'Handleman's Jest.' 'Parameters & Palimpsests.' 'The Holocaust Imbroglio.' We sell these babies for 50 cents apiece, or try to, seven years after they come out. We sell them because no one has checked them out for four years.''

I picture readers around the world -- the people who have more than once been suckered by a good book review -- cackling mercilessly at that passage. And I picture writers around the world -- the people who have written the actual books -- saying ''Ouch.'' And I'm grateful that Willett is willing to crack such a joke at all. It's a joke made for the benefit of readers, not writers or critics. And whom, after all, are books written for? Willett is that rare novelist who writes in the moment -- a glorious place to be -- and not with one eye fixed on the posterity gauge. She writes for the joy of reading, not for the puffed-up pride of having written, and we're the ones who run off with the prize.
afegit per PLReader | editaNY Times, Stephanie Zacharek (Oct 19, 2003)
 
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Fame and honor are twins; and twins, too, like Castor and Pollux, of whom one was mortal and the other was not. Fame is the undying brother of ephemeral honor. --Schopenhauer
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For Ward and Joanne Willett
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Lightning sought our mother out, when she was a young girl in Brown County, Indiana.
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No n'hi ha cap

"Winner of the National Book Award, " the long-awaited novel from the author of the acclaimed collection, "Jenny and the Jaws of Life, " is an unusual and wonderful novel that is somehow able to be at once bleak and hilarious, light-hearted and profound. It's the story of two sisters. Abigail Mather is a woman of enormous appetites, sexual and otherwise. Her fraternal twin Dorcas couldn't be more different: she gave up on sex without once trying it, and she lives a controlled, dignified life of the mind. Though Abigail exasperates Dorcas, the two love each other; in fact, they complete each other. They are an odd pair, set down in an odd Rhode Island town, where everyone has a story to tell, and writers, both published and unpublished, carom off each other like billiard balls. What is it that makes the two women targets for the new man in town, the charming schlockmeister Conrad Lowe, tall, whippet-thin and predatory? In Abigail and Dorcas he sees a new and tantalizing challenge. Not the mere conquest of Abigail, with her easy reputation, but a longer and more sinister game. A game that will lead to betrayal, shame and, ultimately, murder. In her darkly comic and unsettling first novel, Jincy Willett proves that she is a true find: that rare writer who can explore the shadowy side of human nature with the lightest of touches.

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