Mary-Beth Hughes The Loved Ones

ISBN 13: 9780802124982

The Loved Ones

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9780802124982: The Loved Ones
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Rich in sensory detail...a demanding read that rewards patience.” New York Times

"Edith Wharton and Henry James own the mansion housing this slant of prose, all style and substance, and Hughes moves ever closer to such mastery with...The Loved Ones.” Elle

"Bracing...Hughes is preternaturally alert to subtleties of appearance, gesture, and sensory detail.” New Yorker


In The Loved Ones, nationally best-selling Mary-Beth Hughes takes her gimlet eye deep into the secret places between men and women to give an incisive portrayal of one family’s struggle to stay together against stacked odds of deception, adultery, and loss. Set in the late 60s and early 70s against the backdrop of the booming cosmetic industry in New York and London, this is a brilliantly nuanced and sweepingly cinematic novel of relationships defined by an era of glamour and decadence.

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About the Author:

Mary-Beth Hughes is the author of the best selling novel, Wavemaker II, a New York Times Notable Book and the acclaimed collection Double Happiness which earned Hughes a Pushcart Prize. Her stories have been published in The Paris Review, Ploughshares, The Georgia Review, and A Public Space. She lives in Brooklyn and Rhinebeck, NY.

Review:

Praise for THE LOVED ONES:

Hughes’ prose is elusive, allusive, artful, intriguing... It’s as though Mickey Spillane sneaked into Virginia Woolf’s study to add some dialogue...there are marvels to behold.” New York Times Book Review

"The elliptical narrative rich in sensory detail...is a demanding read that rewards patience." New York Times

"Bracing...Hughes is preternaturally alert to subtleties of appearance, gesture, and sensory detail.” New Yorker

Masterful... sexy, immersive and lushly written. Read with a sundress on and a pair of Wayfarers.” Oprah.com

Mary-Beth Hughes's body of work casts a dreamy, hypnotic effect, even while slyly exposing the risks and rewards of love and its devastations among the upper class. Edith Wharton and Henry James own the mansion housing this slant of prose, all style and substance, and Hughes moves ever closer to such mastery with...The Loved Ones.” Elle

"Emotionally raw but ultimately elegant... Like Jean Rhys, Hughes gives her reader only the barest of warnings before dropping them headlong into frenzy...Hughes brings the reader so close to each member of the Devlin family that when the faces come into view, we know the characters so well that their physical attributes seem beside the point...[a] brutal, lush, brittle tour of the upper echelons of midcentury family hell...The novel shares its nightmarish domestic sensibility with Penelope Mortimer’s The Pumpkin Eater and its unsettling tone of constantly moving targets with the fiction of Renata Adler, but despite its 1970s setting and luxe-louche vibe, Hughes’s novel is archly contemporary in aim and style." Bookforum

"A patchwork of present and past, stitched together so seamlessly...Hughes's novel is tender and sympathetic...gorgeous precision of nearly every sentence." Publishers Weekly

"Mary Beth Hughes is a quietly devastating writer, reminiscent of Evan S. Connell and James Salter in her delicate almost surgical ability to peel back the thin skin of normal life and to lay bare our painful truths, contradictions, the stains of grief and betrayal. The Loved Ones is a beautiful haunting novel of a time, place and the Devlin family." A.M. Homes

"An extraordinarily assured performance delivered in the quiet confidence and high style of a master of the form. The astonishing compression in the sentences quivers with that elusive quality of timeless art. Hughes' psychological acuity and unerring instincts as a dramatist combine with her tough-but-tender take on humanity to produce a work that will be read as long as any of us are alive and far longer, if there is justice." Matthew Thomas

"Compulsively readable, The Loved Ones is a beautiful book about the mystery of family, the suspense of growing up, and the ways in which women young and old make their peace with the world around them. Written with clockwork precision, Hughes’ portrait of the Devlins’ glamorous world cosmetics fortunes! Baccarat tables! The Dorchester Hotel! is a shimmering background for the dramas created by their conflicting desires, their colliding egos and their money. The story’s women Jean, a gorgeous, classy bombshell and Lily her confused, yearning and loveable daughter are both lost and found in this sea of privilege and desire." Susan Cheever

"Mary Beth Hughes is a gorgeous writer. For years her masterly short stories have been passed among readers with an adoration and fervor that borders on religious. With The Loved Ones, the secret is out: the story of perfect swinging sixties scions Nick and Jean Devlin, their sprite of a daughter Lily and their mourned boy Cubbie, delves deeply beyond surfaces and eras, into the people we wish to be and the people we unfortunately are. Sly and immersive, sensual and wise, The Loved Ones firmly places Hughes alongside Paula Fox and Alice Munro." Charles Bock

"A book about leavetaking is inevitably a book about returning. In Mary-Beth Hughes' new novel, departures of all kinds by air, by ocean, by illness, by alienation, by death lead the characters to circle one another as though in an entranced dance, looking for a safe place of arrival, hoping, perhaps, that their losses would feel less unbearable there. Hughes is a master of understatement, and deftly captures the subtle undercurrent of family life and the danger from the ever-changing world in the 1970s." Yiyun Li

"In Mary-Beth Hughes’s electric novel The Loved Ones sexual currents surge as a bruised but glamorous couple strive to go on making life gorgeous” after the death of their young son. Underhanded transactions and self-serving characters threaten these ambitions, and the privileged life in New York and London, late sixties, is not without its costs. Hughes writes with stunning economy: fully realized characters are made with a stroke in this most seductive, irresistible fiction." Christine Schutt, author of Prosperous Friends

Praise for DOUBLE HAPPINESS:

"Hughes is a quietly gorgeous writer, lavishing startling metaphors on her halflost souls. . . . [The] tone is often hushed, lending the collection a discreet, old-fashioned quality reminiscent of a restrained writer like Mavis Gallant. . . . Her stories begin like a train already in motion; the reader must trot to get a handhold and swing up. The elegant phrasing, the general hush, the condensation all this contributes to a satisfying sense of intimacy . . . in this delicate, tender [collection].” Stacey D’Erasmo, The New York Times Book Review

The stories in this excellent collection meander with the sureness of streams discovering their paths. Hughes keeps her prose close to her characters’ thoughts, and doles out the most crucial information on the sly. . . . [Her] careful but unobtrusive organization gives even the saddest revelations and most revelations here are sad an air of the miraculous.” The New Yorker

[An] assured collection . . . [of] stylish, intricate stories about seemingly ordinary people . . . whose secrets, discoveries, longings, and subterfuges are anything but. [Hughes is] an emerging master of the form.” Lisa Shea, Elle

The reader eagerly waits for the hammer to fall in these eleven wickedly drawn stories. . . . Hughes’s characters are skillfully delineated modern types, caught off-guard and vulnerable . . . [by] surprising plot twists. . . . [An] intensely moving collection.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)

These stories are devastating, poignant, desperate, and true.” Mary Gaitskill

Praise for WAVEMAKER II:

A writer of dexterity and imagination.” NYTBR

A novella that reads like an epic: part prison story, hospital-ward drama, family tragedy, and historial flight of fancy . . . [An] enigmatic and challenging debut.” LAT

A bone-chilling family drama . . . Hughes’s portrait of a weary, shell-shocked family is pitch perfect. . . . Succinct, intelligent, and completely unsentimental, Wavemaker II introduces a beautiful new voice in fiction.” Time Out NY

A spectacular splash.” Vanity Fair

[Wavemaker II] is, in all sense of the word, a composed work of fiction . . . elegantly constructed.” The Washington Post

The most important and surprising first novel I’ve read in years, full of subtlety and compassion and paradoxical empathy for a world-class scoundrel. Hughes’s elegant provocations get into you like a virus, and their traces kick around for a long time after.” Rick Moody

A brave and deeply moving first novel.” Lorrie Moore

A stunning first novel.” Mindi Dickstein, St. Petersburg Times

Subtly, cunningly, with a perfect instinct for the implicating detail, Mary-Beth Hughes has graphed the contours of the self-sabotaging human heart. Wavemaker II flashed forward relentlessly, every page peeling back further the mask of public power to expose the private corruptions of love. More a detonation than a debut.” Sven Birkerts

[Wavemaker II] is so ridiculously good that I’m sure to exhaust my supply of adjectives before I come close to expressing my admiration for it. . . . There is much to praise about Wavemaker II: its lovely spare prose, perfect pacing, details sharp and lethal as ice picks, and a handful of terrifying scenes into which Hughes writes so fearlessly that readers will be left wrung and stricken. Finally, though, what sets the novel apart is a raw power, an unselfconscious intensity and elegance, a rare breadth and depth of vision . . . sounds like genius to me.” Darcy Cosper, Bookforum

With insight and compassion, Hughes lays bare the Clemenses’ intricate dramas. . . . [An] artful first novel.” Lisa Shea, O Magazine

In her admirable debut novel, Wavemaker II, Mary-Beth Hughes stitches together a complex story of an unraveling family. . . . While the story line is full of daring shifts in point of view and authentic historical details, what holds the work together is the essential authority and music of the narrative voice. . . . It’s a grim and yet lyrically vivid period in this young family’s life, when nothing is going right, when the world is in league against them, and Hughes captures this with a wondrous array of sensual detail and a keen eye for the telling gestures of the crystallized percetopn.” Fred Leebron, Ploughshares

Highly original . . . [A] lyrical, poignant debut . . . in succinct, clipped sentences, Hughes relays intricate, heart-wrenching details . . . moving and vital.” Publishers Weekly

This first novel offers rich, nuanced characterizations ripe for book club discussion. Dozens of memorable scenes showcase Hughes’s eye for penetrating detail. . . . Highly recommended for all fiction collections.” Library Journal

In this glorious book about a glamorous, doomed family, Mary-Beth Hughes has taken a small, intricately knotted story from American history and unraveled it into a compelling narrative about the healing power of illness and the transcendence of the human spirit. . . . Hughes creates vivid scenes from the heart.” Susan Cheever

It takes a deft and sensitive writer to fill out the reality of such a story without being hobbled by the trueness of the characters and circumstances. . . . This novel evokes what a factual account of a life cannot bring us the true beauty of human conflict, its tensions and releases, sensory assaults and pleasures, and the unconscious awkwardness and grace of it. For Mary-Beth Hughes, this is a truly impressive debut.” Sarah Goodman, Bookpage

I found it impossible to turn a page without being moved by this gorgeously written and deeply felt story of one father’s public act and its devastating personal ramifications. Wavemaker II’s complex message and its depiction of Roy Cohn are especially important now, when America is once again forced to make Gordian decisions about her civil liberties.” Sheri Holman

Wavemaker II comes out of a time when America was in one of its troubled childhoods, the years following Korea and preceding the hippies, when so many of us alive today were born, years which in retrospect appeare almost to have been made up of the stuff of this novel: cocktails, big spending, surprising sex, weird politics. This is a book full of that special brand of American hopefulness and optimism that ran people ragged. Mary-Beth Hughes has given us a novel that is mysterious, intelligent, elegant.” Donald Antrim

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