Fiction Carolyn See Making History

ISBN 13: 9780440504962

Making History

3.93 avg rating
( 43 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780440504962: Making History

This dazzling bestseller by the author of Golden Days bares the schizophrenic soul of contemporary Los Angeles. Making History was hailed by The New York Times Book Review as "defiantly rude and hilariously sad. . . . The most life-affirming novel I've ever read."

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From Kirkus Reviews:

Southern California is See's home ground, and the skewering of its denizens' lifestyles her specialty (Golden Days, 1986), but, here, she breaks away with a vengeance, moving confidently into the world of international finance, pushing out to Japan and points west, letting dead men talk, and staining her home ground blood- red. The male voices are the first surprise, two very different males, polar opposites: Robin, a young beach-bum for whom life is having fun, and Jerry Bridges, a wealthy, middle-aged financier. Jerry loves money and the Orient; he is every bit as robust, and convincing, as Tom Wolfe's Sherman McCoy. We'll see him in action, in Tokyo to launch an American-Japanese co-venture; later on, prospecting along the Pacific Rim for a site for his ``twenty-first century city-state.'' Back home, he is king in his plush Pacific Palisades sanctuary, with the perfect (second) wife, Wynn, adorable little Josh and Tina, and a gorgeous teenage stepdaughter in Whitney (his coolness toward her masks a fierce physical desire). For Wynn, too, their home is a sanctuary, for she has moved up (and how!) from the ``dead, dank, rented bottom of the San Fernando Valley''; and, besides, Jerry is a kind man, a good man, even if forgetful of family occasions. Unfortunately, there are no sanctuaries; life is brittle, even in Pacific Palisades, for Whitney is injured in an auto accident and the driver (sweet, clowning Robin) is killed. Whitney heals, plunges back into life, loses her virginity on a Maui beach, only to die some months later, along with little Josh and 13 others, in a fiery multi-vehicle horror. Wynn has a breakdown, and Jerry (one of life's innocents, who has never seen a person die) is no help at all. Observing all this mayhem from his perch in an afterlife ruled by Buddha and Kali, Robin sends out his own delicate vibrations. See is wrestling with an old dilemma: How do you admit life's random violence into your fictional world without wrecking it? She is also (through a secondary, parallel story involving an English clairvoyant) suggesting the connectedness of all human lives. The result is flawed but fascinating: a novel that just radiates energy and marks a major step forward for this author. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly:

See's intelligent, stingingly funny, poignant novels of divorcees and their children coping with California life ( Mothers, Daughters ; Rhine Maidens ) are peerless. Her novel Golden Days goes one step further and imagines plucky Californians surviving in a ravaged world after a nuclear holocaust. Now she offers a novel that should make her name, an ironic, heartmelting view of the randomness of fate, in which she confronts the abyss that can suddenly yawn wide and devour the safety of comfortable and privileged lives. Set in the affluent community of Pacific Palisades, Calif., the narrative focuses on the appealing Bridges family: 40-ish financier Jerry, an intensely moral man driven to found an artificial community that will serve as a prototype of "a better world," somewhere in the Pacific Rim; his wife, Wynn; their young children, Josh and Tina; and Wynn's teenage daughter from a first marriage, beautiful, life-embracing Whitney. In the course of an eventful year Jerry jets to Tokyo, Hawaii, Australia and New Guinea (settings that are superbly evoked) and learns that even well-planned dreams can go awry. At home, Whitney recuperates from terrible injuries sustained in a car crash. Just as she regains her health and the family some measure of stability, bizarre bad luck strikes again, in a denouement that will have readers gasping with empathy and pain. Meanwhile, there are scenes of larky humor (a liquor convention where Whitney and a friend merge clever salesmanship with a rousing good time); heart-stopping tension (a car breakdown on a bridge above a gorge); and wrenching horror (huge lizards devouring prey in Indonesia)--and See's forte, family relationships delineated with grace and sensitivity. Having narrowed her focus from the unthinkable on a cosmic scale to the personal apocalypse that can strike one family, See demonstrates a new complexity and maturity. Clear-eyed, brave and compassionate, the novel transcends the particulars of tragic fate to offer a soaring vision of the human spirit's capacity to survive. Author tour.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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