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9780375412820

The Dive From Clausen's Pier

Packer, Ann Author

3.39 avg rating
( 361 ratings by GoodReads )
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" The Dive from Clausen's Pier is one of those small miracles that reinforce our faith in fiction. It does what the best novels so often do, making the largest things visible by its perfect rendering of life on the smaller scale. It is witty, tragic and touching, and beguiling from the first page." --Scott Turow

A riveting novel about loyalty and self-knowledge, and the conflict between who we want to be to others and who we must be for ourselves.

Carrie Bell has lived in Wisconsin all her life. She’s had the same best friend, the same good relationship with her mother, the same boyfriend, Mike, now her fiancé, for as long as anyone can remember. It’s with real surprise she finds that, at age twenty-three, her life has begun to feel suffocating. She longs for a change, an upheaval, for a chance to begin again.

That chance is granted to her, terribly, when Mike is injured in an accident. Now Carrie has to question everything she thought she knew about herself and the meaning of home. She must ask: How much do we owe the people we love? Is it a sign of strength or of weakness to walk away from someone in need?

The Dive from Clausen’s Pier reminds us how precarious our lives are and how quickly they can be divided into before and after, whether by random accident or by the force of our own desires. It begins with a disaster that could happen, out of the blue, in anybody’s life, and it forces us to ask how we would bear up in the face of tragedy and what we know, or think we know, about our deepest allegiances. Elegantly written and ferociously paced, emotionally nuanced and morally complex, The Dive from Clausen’s Pier marks the emergence of a prodigiously gifted new novelist.

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Review:

Carrie Bell is the worst person in the world. Or so she would have you think. In the gripping, carefully paced debut novel of personal epiphany, The Dive from Clausen's Pier, by O. Henry Award winner Ann Packer, Carrie's very survival is dependent upon her leaving her fiancé, even after he dives into shallow water at a Memorial Day picnic and becomes paralyzed. Things hadn't been going so well for the Madison, Wisconsin, high school and college sweethearts. Carrie knew, deep down, that she wasn't going to become Mrs. Michael Mayer. But expectations and pressure from all sides--his family, her mother, her best friend Jamie, Mike's best friend Rooster--force Carrie to shut herself up in her room and sew outfits of her own design as if in a trance. Then one night she slips out of the only universe she's ever known. Many hours later she finds herself on the doorstep of a high school classmate living in Manhattan. Carrie's adventures in the city--quirky roommates and a new romance with an older, emotionally impenetrable man--confuse her in her quest both to forgive herself and to embark on a career in fashion design. Packer writes in a convincing voice and packs a lot into this novel; she infuses Carrie with enough humanity and smarts to choose her own version of "happily ever after." --Emily Russin

From the Back Cover:

"The novels it calls most to mind. . . . are Allegra Goodman's 'Kaaterskill Falls' and Sue Miller's 'The Good Mother'. . . .its most admirable trait -- and surely the one that will define Packer's future work -- is its moral authenticity." --Gail Caldwell, Boston Globe

" The Dive from Clausen's Pier is one of those small miracles that reinforce our faith in fiction. It does what the best novels so often do, making the largest things visible by its perfect rendering of life on the smaller scale. It is witty, tragic and touching, and beguiling from the first page." --Scott Turow

"A reflective and probing first novel...there's not a false note in the story's tentative resolution, which thwarts our initial expectations in order to satisfy more complex demands...Very fine fiction indeed." -- Kirkus Reviews

"This is the sort of book one reads dying to know what happens to the characters, but loves for its wisdom: it sees the world with more clarity than you do." -- Publishers Weekly

"Ann Packer’s first novel has all the weight of reality, tooled with a jeweler’s precision. The Dive from Clausen's Pier is a poignant and painstakingly rendered account of a woman in flight from catastrophe, in search of herself."--Madison Smartt Bell

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Packer, Ann Author
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Book Description Knopf, 2002. Book Condition: New. Brand New, Unread Copy in Perfect Condition. A+ Customer Service! Summary: Like the best work of Jane Hamilton and Sue Miller, Ann Packer's emotionally thrilling, critically acclaimed, bestselling novel combines assured narrative drive with vibrant psychological realism and unblinking moral complexity.Twenty-three-year-old Carrie Bell has spent her entire life in Wisconsin, with the same best friend and the same dependable high school sweetheart, Mike. Now to her dismay, Carrie is beginning to find her life suffocating and is considering leaving it behind. But when Mike is paralyzed in a diving accident, leaving becomes unforgivable -- and at the same time more necessary than ever. Sad, suspenseful, and immensely wise, The Dive from Clausen's Pier compels us to contemplate how much we owe the people we love, and what is to be done when those debts clash with our obligations to ourselves. Bookseller Inventory # ABE_book_new_0375412824

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