The story of a man's life from 1977, when he was 27 years old, to 1997. It explores how men have had to change, and how masculinity is defined in the post-feminist world. Two strands run through the book - work and goodness - and the chapters are independent of each other, yet connected.
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Larry Weller is a regular guy, or so Carol Shields has him think. When we first meet him in 1977 Winnipeg at age 26, he's pondering the pluses of Harris tweed, still living at home, and realizing he's in love with his girlfriend, Dorrie, a flinty car saleswoman. Larry is proud of his job at Flowerfolks, even though he fell into floral design by accident, and if his relationship with his parents isn't perfect, it's not too bad, either. (Stu and Flo Weller may have less page-time in Larry's Party, but they are hugely memorable. He is a master upholsterer, happiest when working; she is a woman ruined by nervous guilt, having inadvertently killed off her mother-in-law with some improperly preserved green beans.)
Carol Shields has said that she had "always been struck by the fact that in most novels people aren't working." Though her hero climbs the floral managerial trellis for 17 years and finds more rhapsody in work than marriage, Larry and Dorrie's honeymoon in England points him toward what will be his true vocation--mazes. These living constructs turn him into a thinker, a man of imagination, and the author's descriptions are quietly spectacular as well as effortlessly sweet. Larry wonders at their "teasing elegance and circularity ... a snail, a scribble, a doodle on the earth's skin with no other directed purpose but to wind its sinuous way around itself." Just as Larry changes with the times--each elliptical chapter ages him by one or two years--so does his art. In 1990, he designs a maze in which you can't really lose yourself. In 1997, the McCord Maze "is intended to mirror the descent into unconscious sleep, followed by a slow awakening." Larry, too, has a slow awakening, taking several false turns before reaching midlife. As the novel closes, with a bravura dinner party scene, he may finally be at ease in the world. But his creator knows that he is only halfway there, and still has to negotiate his way from the center of the maze to its exit.From the Back Cover:
Larry Weller is just a regular guy of twenty-six. He still lives at home but has a serious girlfriend, Dorrie, and has recently embarked on a career as a floral designer. But Larry is about to discover that life rarely takes the most direct path. Like the garden mazes that become his passion, Larry’s well-intentioned heart leads him down a variety of blind alleys and dead ends, including two failed marriages and the changing expectations of the seventies, eighties, and nineties. Culminating in a decidedly irregular dinner party, Larry’s Party explores the male condition at the end of the twentieth century with wit and compassion
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Book Description Viking (1997)., 1997. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 7666225
Book Description Viking (1997)., 1997. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0007666225