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Gloria, a modern-day "snake-oil" saleswoman, travels from town to town with her teenaged daughter, Kim, but her life abruptly changes when Kim falls in love with Arthur, a gentle widower, thirty years her senior. 10,000 first printing.
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Jill Ciment's tough, tender first novel tells an unlikely, utterly beguiling love story. Both laugh-out-loud funny and heartachingly poignant, it is not only a delicate, loving portrayal of a daughter's fierce devotion to her wildly unconventional mother, but a surprisingly magical story of a true May/December relationship. Gloria is a modern-day "snake oil" saleswoman, a quixotic entrepreneur who sells everything from metal detectors to aphrodisiac perfumes but whose real stock-in-trade is hope. "I am not dealing with the banal arithmetic of earning a couple of bucks", she says, "I am dealing with the aerodynamics of human dreams". She and her teenage daughter, Kim, drive throughout the Southwest, pulling their trailer home from town to town, just one step ahead of the postmaster general ("I imagined him as a successful mailman with epaulets") and the FDA. It is the only world Kim has ever known - until Arthur literally comes crashing into their lives, demolishing the trailer and taking Kim's heart hostage. As the young girl and the gentle widower thirty years her senior begin to fall in love, a new home no less improbable than the first takes shape - an embodiment of the magic Gloria has tried all her life to peddle in a bottle. Meanwhile, Gloria has a vision in a car wash and launches into the scheme she hopes will bring her greatest triumph. . . By turns lyrical, droll, and hauntingly sad, this larger-than-life love story distills the ingredients of the only aphrodisiac that really works: one part mad dream, one part chance, and three parts genuine humanity.From Kirkus Reviews:
Ciment, author of the story collection Small Claims (1986), has come up with a charming first novel so light and breezy it nearly flutters away. ``When I was small, I believed that the atmospheres girdling the earth included an extra sphere. There was the blue-black stratosphere, the airy and weather-beaten troposphere, and just below table height where I lived, a sphere about which I told no one--the kindersphere.'' So begins Kim's story (fortunately, the cute bits diminish with age) as the resentful daughter of Gloria, a pretty blond manic-depressive who makes her living hawking homemade aphrodisiacs. In an effort to elude the Postmaster General's justifiable wrath, Gloria is forced to cross state lines regularly in the pair's Airstream trailer, and Kim hardly enters a school before she's forced to move again. She's relieved, then, when a collision with a Packard forces mother and daughter to pause and recuperate in the home of Arthur, its gentlemanly driver. But the travelers' injuries have barely had time to heal before Kim, now 15, discovers she's in love with widowed, lonely, conventional Arthur, and, taking advantage of Gloria's new obsession with a sure-fire pyramid scheme, attempts a seduction. Spooked, Arthur flees, leaving his house to the two others--but Kim is not the type to let herself be so easily dumped. A college education for Kim and a dozen fizzled scams for Gloria later, Kim tracks down Arthur, consummates their love, notifies her mother and moves back in with Arthur. Naturally, Gloria follows, and the odd trio that first found happiness together a decade earlier pick up where they left off--in a slightly different combination. An honorable contribution to the dysfunctional-mother genre- -though there's not much substance beneath the whimsy. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Book Description Simon and Schuster. Condition: New. Brand New. Seller Inventory # 1501123831
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