Jim Oliver Closing Distance

ISBN 13: 9780399137679

Closing Distance

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9780399137679: Closing Distance
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Facing forty, shrewd and successful entrepreneur and long-distance runner Pete Flowers uses the stark reality of his mother's cancer to reexamine his life and his relationships with his siblings. QPB. BOMC Alt.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

Oliver's first novel tells the story of a not-so-young man who has to come to grips with--take a guess--mortality, as it invades his life through his mother's fight with cancer and his own fear of AIDS. Pete Flowers is a rather staid Philadelphia florist whose homosexuality is the only thing that sets him apart from his prodigiously conventional Main Line family. (Actually, there's also his wardrobe: Pete likes to dress well, and we hear a lot about layering and color-coordination when he's on the scene.) Pete's dad runs a big company that none of the children wants to take over; Pete's mom has breast cancer and becomes incoherent now and then. His sisters and brothers and in-laws are into all kinds of stuff. Everyone makes a lot of money and enjoys good restaurants and talks about sex and how they really ought to have it more often. There's so little time, see? Here's Pete on the cusp of 40, and he hasn't even come out to his mom yet--and she could die any minute now, or lose her marbles for good. Plus there's the AIDS thing: Pete's been pretty careful lately, but you never can tell--and wouldn't it be awful. But he can't work up the nerve to get tested. Eventually Pete's old boyfriend--very hot, and absolutely loaded--drops in and helps him sort things out. He breaks the news to mom and dad (they knew!), decides to join the family firm (it's what he's always wanted to do, apparently), and, at story's close, goes off for his test. We never learn the results, but at least Pete has figured out the important thing--to be true to himself and look life (and death) straight in the eye. He'll manage fine. Utterly moronic, and very likely to succeed. -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly:

By the time readers realize that virtually nothing happens in Oliver's memorable first novel, they will be much too caught up with his singular characters--and dexterous prose--to mind. This witty, thoughtful story opens with the four Flowers offspring being summoned to dinner at their parents' Main Line Philadelphia home. ("Something is up," muses son Pete, a gay man facing 40--and the ever-present threat of AIDS--with no little trepidation.) Indeed, matriarch Liz--a scintillating combination of Auntie Mame and General Schwarzkopf--is about to undergo a mastectomy. Pete is prompted to reexamine his life and his values; the other siblings' many and varied domestic difficulties also enliven Oliver's engrossing, highly literate narrative. The scene in which Liz--languishing after surgery with a "medicinal Scotch"--questions Pete about his amatory affairs is a triumph: Oliver elicits laughter and a lump in the throat with equal finesse. Reflective vignettes are self-contained gems, and concise character delineations speak volumes: brother Stu, for example, is "rarely seen out of his. . . heavy business brogues (the same model in four colors)." Oliver's commingling of humor and drama makes for a sterling debut. BOMC alternate; QPB selection.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9781555833763: Closing Distance

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ISBN 10:  1555833764 ISBN 13:  9781555833763
Publisher: Alyson Books, 2000
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9780709052753: Closing Distance

Robert..., 1993
Hardcover

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