During the Reign of the Queen of Persia: A Novel

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9780060151362: During the Reign of the Queen of Persia: A Novel

Joan Chase’s subtle story of three generations of women negotiating lifetimes of “joy and ruin” deserves its place alongside such achievements as Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping and Louise Erdrich’s Love Medicine.
 
The Queen of Persia is in fact Gram, who presides over an Ohio farmhouse teeming with daughters, granddaughters, and the occasional son-in-law. For the youngest generation, the four girls who together narrate the novel, the farm is a kind of Eden, at once life-giving and the locus of terrible discoveries about desire and loss. The girls bicker and scrap, whisper secrets at bedtime, and above all watch as their mothers draft templates of womanhood that they will come to either reject or embrace. Ingeniously orchestrated in overlapping, thematic narratives, the story of Gram, her five daughters, and her grandchildren reveals itself through the accumulation of emotional truths, reaching its heights in the decline of Grace, whose eventual death from cancer is a loss felt throughout the book. Set in the 1950s and ’60s, During the Reign of the Queen of Persia is deeply rooted in its particular time and place, as the local, rural, and hardscrabble world the girls are born into remakes itself into a materially rich suburb, indistinguishable from so many others.

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Product Description:

Joan Chase’s subtle story of three generations of women negotiating lifetimes of “joy and ruin” deserves its place alongside such achievements as Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping and Alice Munro’s Lives of Girls and Women.

The Queen of Persia is not an exotic figure but a fierce Ohio farmwife who presides over a household of daughters and granddaughters. The novel tells their stories through the eyes of the youngest members of the family, four cousins who spend summers on the farm, for them both a life-giving Eden and the source of terrible discoveries about desire and loss. The girls bicker and scrap, they whisper secrets at bedtime, and above all, they observe the kinds of women their mothers are and wonder what kind of women they will become. But always present is the family’s great trauma, the decline and eventual death from cancer of Gram’s daughter Grace.

A powerful story about family ties and tensions, During the Reign of the Queen of Persia is also a book about place, charting the transformation of the old hardscrabble Midwest into the commercial wilderness of modern America.

Product Description:

"Daily life exhilarated with the richness and evocativeness of poetry."

WASHINGTON POST BOOK WORLD

The novel that is sweeping the country. A beautiful story of 20th-century womanhood, of Gram, the Queen of Persia herself, who rules a house where five daughters and four granddaughters spin out the tragedies and triumphs of rural life in the 1950's.
From the Paperback edition.

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Chase, Joan
Published by Harpercollins (1983)
ISBN 10: 0060151366 ISBN 13: 9780060151362
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Published by Harpercollins (1983)
ISBN 10: 0060151366 ISBN 13: 9780060151362
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