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Jonas Collingwood, a prolific novelist, finds his life changing when a corporation takes over the press that publishes his works and asks him to pen a book about his World War II experiences. By the author of The Plagiarist.
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Once again, Cheever (The Plagiarist, 1992) chronicles life with a distinguished writer--in a novel that's even more diffuse than his first. Not nearly as funny as it thinks it is, this hurried fiction sets off in all sorts of directions, and never finds its way back. Nelson Collingwood, a 20-year-old virgin, and his sexually advanced sister live with their guardians, Aunt Elspeth and Uncle Jonas, in Westchester. Jonas is a much-admired but always broke novelist who rents a house on the Rockefeller estate, where he imposes his high-cultural view of things (e.g., no TV). After 16 novels with a small publisher known primarily for farm equipment catalogues, Jonas receives a huge advance for a WW II memoir, which his new publisher hopes will be his breakout book--the only problem being some doubt about Jonas's actual involvement in the war. Meanwhile, NYU student Nelson, an aspiring ad-copywriter, works for the summer at a local freebie ad paper, all the while pining for one Amy Rose, a suburban goddess spending her summer in Washington State. Nelson's ``Goodbye Columbus'' story is soon superseded by strange doings at home, where an obsequious biographer has attached himself to Jonas. All of which forces the family to reexamine its rather odd history, involving Aunt Elspeth's much prettier sister and the true parentage of Nelson and his own sister. While the biographer flatters his way into Jonas's life, Jonas's obnoxious new editor pressures him for a real commercial book. And Jonas delivers in record time so that he can bail out his sister-in-law from a bad debt and also buy Nelson a fancy car, which becomes the vehicle of his accidental death. Cheever fleshes out this elliptical tale with lots of sitcom sarcasm, plenty of bad jokes, and many pointless barbs at the innocent. His animus toward biographers and publishers may be justified, but seems like plain sour grapes here. All in all, a mess. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From School Library Journal:
YA-An engaging coming-of-age novel. Nelson feels like a "fire sale baby" when he and his sister Narcissus are taken in by an uncle after their adoptive father dies. "Uncle" Jonas, a well-regarded but impecunious and unheralded novelist, is forever casting aspersions on Nelson's abilities and intelligence while depending on him and his sister for aid and comfort. Jonas is not mean, just crusty, and he really is an important part of their somewhat eccentric lives. Nelson describes the summer of 1991, when he is in love with Amy Snodgrass Rose who is in love with David Hitchens who is in love with Gloria Thomas. Since these young people are not even in the same state that summer, his love for Amy is somewhat unresolved. Equally unresolved is his place in his makeshift family, or, in fact, in the world at large. He seems to be cruising through young adulthood without definition or purpose. The events of Nelson's 19th summer and his growing self-awareness form the basis of this funny and bittersweet chronicle. YAs will be drawn in by the subtle yet sharp humor and the everyday predicaments the young man gets himself into in the context of his not-so-everyday family. The tone is light throughout. The end, while sad, is a logical denouement. A thoroughly enjoyable story with little of the depressing and frightening ingredients of much modern fiction.
Susan H. Woodcock, King's Park Library, Burke, VA
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Atheneum. Hardcover. Condition: New. 0689121741 Ships promptly from Texas. Seller Inventory # Z0689121741ZN
Book Description Atheneum, 1994. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0689121741
Book Description Atheneum, 1994. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0689121741
Book Description Atheneum, 1994. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110689121741
Book Description Atheneum. Hardcover. Condition: New. 0689121741 New Condition. Seller Inventory # NEW7.1981240