A strange bird of a second novel by Redon (Bloodstream, 1989), based on the author's own family history and concerning the plight of its consumptive, lovelorn female members. In l905, Neoma Matthews leaves her father's farm in eastern Oregon for the bright lights of Portland. It's the year of the Portland World's Fair, and Neoma wants to be independent and modern (``I believe in restaurants and motorcars''). She also wants to break the chain of suffering that afflicted the women in her family--especially her grandmother, abandoned by her husband during the Civil War. Alone in her room in the Martha Washington Hotel for Women, Neoma reads their correspondence, as well as the novels of Edith Wharton. At the library she meets handsome, young, sexually schizophrenic Adam McCarthy, who believes she can save him from his randiness. They become engaged between ice- cream cones at the fairgrounds, and Neoma introduces Adam to her brash friend Birdie--which proves not such a good idea, since Birdie has little trouble seducing Adam. Meanwhile, Neoma begins coughing up blood; and when she learns that Adam's gotten Birdie pregnant, she retires to waste away at her grandfather's house. A curious study of Victorian sexuality, sensitively handled, but by and large far too wan for the more robust tastes of the late 20th century. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Publishers Weekly:
It's 1905 at the beginning of this old-fashioned and stiffly told tale (based on the life of one of the author's ancestors), and innocent Neoma Matthews has just courageously ventured from her country town to Portland, Ore., hoping to find work and happiness. Since her mother's death nine years before, Neoma has taken care of her needy father, sublimating her urge for a more complete life by playing her violin and reading old family letters. In Portland, Neoma settles in at a women's hotel and makes her first friend, Birdie, whose gaudy bravado in searching for a husband masks insecurity and pain. Neoma gets a job with a kindly but eccentric seamstress and meets Adam, a handsome young man who, though well-intentioned, is not quite as nice as he appears. It's a summer of tremendous growth for both young women, whose lives are defined and changed forever, and Redon ( Bloodstream ) sets these adventures against the bustle of the 1905 World's Fair. But numerous heavy-handed passages telling exactly what characters are feeling fail to involve the reader. Though good-hearted, Neoma's story is ultimately anemic and dated.
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Book Description St. Martin's Pub., New York, 1991. Hard Cover in Dust Jacket. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. First Edition. 1991 FIRST EDITION Hardcover book in original jacket . BRAND NEW from 1991 publisher . Never opened , Never owned, Never marked . Jacket protected in New non-stick removable clear mylar sleeve . Excellent Gift Giving quality . In this interesting novel . a motherless young woman starts a new life in Portland, Oregon . during the excitement of the 1905 Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition . Neoma is what is known as a 'bookish' woman . She lives in a hotel for women and works as a seamstress . She reads and re-reads her family's old letters from the time of the Civil War . She is befriended by Birdie, another seamstress, and by Alan, a handsome library clerk . But her story has a dark direction . In the manner of Thomas Hardy's characters, all three young people struggle against their troubled fates . In an afterword, Redon explains the genesis of this old-fashioned feeling novel in his own family's past . " If Not on Earth , Then in Heaven " . by Joel Redon . published by St. Martin's , New York . 1991 First Edition Hardcover book in Dustjacket *** Securely packed for Safe delivery ~ Shipping safely worldwide, since 1965 ***. Bookseller Inventory # 3768