Pinehill, North Carolina, the years of the Depression. Into this small Southern town comes the Bairds, fugitives from the burdens of their life in Connecticut. To the people of Pinehill, the Bairds seem glamorous. To the Bairds, Pinehill holds the hope that they will regain their innocence, and once again be rich in love.
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For several years, I was intrigued by Alice Adams' books, but it wasn't until I joined a book club that I had the opportunity to read her. We agreed to read A SOUTHERN EXPOSURE, and when we reconvened a month later, we all deemed the book great!
Some of the women loved the Peyton Place-esque intrigue. Others enjoyed the authentic depiction of the South. Still others liked the wonderful characterization.
My favorite aspect of the book was the time period -- the 40's during World War II. Usually, when you read about World War II, it's about people who are directly involved with the war. It was very interesting to read how the war affected people in a small town in North Carolina -- thousands of miles away from the action. I was impressed with the intimate details of the period, and was quite surprised to learn that Alice Adams was not writing from first-hand knowledge (I discovered that she couldn't have been more than a small child -- if that -- in the 40's), since every detail rang so true.
I highly recommend this book for book club reading, especially, since it is a great read on so many levels.
Ballantine Books Publicity
Her deft prose both sensual and sophisticated, Adams, in her ninth novel, leaves the San Francisco setting of her recent books (Almost Perfect, etc.) to explore the intrigues and desires of the residents of a small North Carolina town. The country is in the grip of the Depression when the bright and beautiful Bairds?Cynthia and Harry, and their young daughter, Abigail?move to Pinehill. "They are, as they might half-ironically put it to each other, on the lam" from their too demanding and expensive life in Connecticut. In fact, there is much half-ironic about the novel, including Cynthia's secret reason for choosing Pinehill: it is the home of her favorite (and rumored to be sexy) poet, Russ Byrd. As the Baird's determinedly climb Pinehill's tiny but formidable social ladder, they encounter people thoroughly entrenched in the communal hierarchy and in their environment; at parties, the cleverly unattributed dialogue gives the sense that the town is of one mind. And yet each of the dashing characters is distinct?Dolly Bigelow, the pretty gossip; Jimmy Hightower, a writer manque who shares Cynthia's fascination with Russ Byrd; Odessa, Dolly's servant, who seems as suspicious of Cynthia's passive disapproval of Southern segregation as she is of Dolly's overt racism. Meanwhile, Russ neglects his wife, who has a breakdown; has a passionate affair with the town beauty, who bears him a son whom she passes off as her younger brother; and eventually becomes himself "helpless among the major passions of women"?including Cynthia's. Such melodramas feel witty, given Adams's intelligent characterization, and are at equal pitch with her descriptions of Pinehill's flush, distracting beauty. As always, her forte is the subtle misunderstandings and meshings of human relationships, viewed with both irony and compassion.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Book Condition: Brand New. Book Condition: Brand New. Bookseller Inventory # 97806794445271.0
Book Description Knopf, 1995. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 1st. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0679444521
Book Description Knopf, 1995. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0679444521
Book Description Knopf, 1995. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110679444521