For lovers of literary fiction, The Romantic is Barbara Gowdy’s utterly absorbing tale of love, longing, and loss. It is the story of Louise, whose former beautyqueen mother disappears one day, leaving a note that reads only—and incorrectly—“Louise knows how to work the washing machine.” Louise promptly falls passionately in love with Mrs. Richter, the new neighbor, and then with Abel, Mrs. Richter’s nature-loving, enigmatic son. Despite the fact that Abel moves away, Louise becomes more and more fixated on him, discovering that she cannot get Abel to love her as fiercely as she loves him. Only when she is forced to confront another great loss is she finally able to confront the costs of losing herself to another.
The Romantic is a powerful exploration of the many incarnations of love in all of its painful and joyful variations, a novel that glows with Barbara Gowdy’s note-perfect style, gentle humor, and unforgettable characters.
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Barbara Gowdy is the author of seven books, including Helpless, The Romantic, The White Bone, Mister Sandman, We So Seldom Look on Love and Falling Angels, all of which have been met with widespread international acclaim and critical praise. She has been a finalist three times for the Governor General’s Award and the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, twice for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, and has been long-listed for the Booker Prize. In 1996 she received the Marian Engel Award, and in 2008 the Trillium Book Award. Barbara Gowdy is a Member of the Order of Canada and a Guggenheim Fellow. She lives in Toronto.From Publishers Weekly:
In her previous novels (The White Bone; Mr. Sandman; etc), Gowdy's imagination blazed new trails, melding bizarre characters into memorable situations. This novel is as beautifully written as its predecessors, but more traditional than the Canadian writer's usual fiction. She examines the mysteries of love and its absence in two damaged children whose adult lives remain shadowed by their early experiences. In the early 1960s in Toronto, when she is 10, narrator Louise Kirk falls in love with a new neighbor boy named Abelard, the adopted son of the Richter family. Louise's mother, a former beauty queen who said things like, "Nobody would believe you're my daughter," abandoned Louise and her passive father a year ago, and Louise prays that the Richters will adopt her, too. Louise has oceans of love to lavish and focuses all her psychic and emotional energy on Abel, who can't bear the weight of it because he is more fragile than she is. She remains obsessed with Abel even after his family moves away, and on the night he briefly reappears, when she is in high school, she conceives his child. But the curious, tender boy she knew has become an alcoholic, taking refuge in Rimbaud and determined to end his life. The narrative moves back and forth in time, spinning out the story of the doomed relationship. Each of the characters, even minor ones, has a unique voice and a vivid, quirky personality. Louise's need to have Abel create the world for her resonates with unfulfilled passion. In reining in her imagination to the limits of a conventional love story, Gowdy has produced her most haunting and sensitive novel to date.
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Book Description Harper Perennial, 2004. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0006392261
Book Description Harper Perennial, 2004. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 6392261