Glock, Allison.

ISBN 10: 0375401210 / ISBN 13: 9780375401213
Published by New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2003. dj, 2003
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SIGNED hardcover first edition - First printing. The author's first book, a memoir of her grandmother, one which captures not only "the irrepressible vitality of a woman born ahead of her time, but also the eccentricities of a small-town, working-class West Virginia family, trying to survive the Great Depression and World War II." SIGNED on the title page. Illustrated with photographs. 187 pp. Very near fine in a like dustjacket. Bookseller Inventory # 57656

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Bibliographic Details


Publisher: New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2003. dj

Publication Date: 2003

Binding: Hardcover

Dust Jacket Condition: Dust Jacket Included

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title


“The first lesson [my grandmother] ever taught me was that dancing matters. . . . When she did come across men she fancied who didn’t dance, she sent them away until they did. They always learned, because my grandmother was bitingly beautiful, and that is the second lesson she taught me—that beauty inspires, all of God’s beauty, but especially hers.”

So writes Allison Glock at the start of her irresistible memoir of her maternal grandmother, Aneita Jean Blair, a woman who came of age during the Depression in a West Virginia factory town yet refused to succumb to the desperation that surrounded her. Instead, Aneita Jean rouged her cheeks and kicked up her heels and did
her best to forget the realities of life in an in-sular community where your neighbors could be
as unforgiving as the Appalachian landscape. Before it was all over, Aneita Jean would have seven marriage proposals and her share of the tragedies that befall small-town girls with bushels of suitors and bodies like Miss America, girls “who dare to see past the dusty perimeters of their lives.”

In lyrical and often breathtaking language, Glock travels back through time, assisted by a fistful of old photos and the piercing childhood memories of her grandmother, “a skinny, eager child with disobedient hair and bottomless
longing.” Together they guide us through the cramped dankness of the pottery plants, the dense sweetness of the holler, and into the surging promise of the Ohio River, capturing not only the irrepressible vitality of Aneita Jean Blair, but also the rich ambiance of working-class West Virginia during the twenties, the Great Depression, and World War II. Expertly written, lovingly told, Beauty Before Comfort is stirring testimony to the vanished dreams, and powerful spirit, of an extraordinary person and place.

From the Back Cover:

Beauty Before Comfort is as apt a title as you could find for a memoir that is tart and poetic. Allison Glock has the kind of writing talent that packs worlds into sentences. It’s a small book but it takes in all of American small town life and all of the American Dream. With a few deft strokes Ms. Glock summons up some wonderful characters from her family history, all circling around the grandmother, Aneita Jean Blair. You won’t forget this woman and you’ll remember forever the writer’s magical skills. What a storyteller! What a book! get a cup of tea. Put out the cat. Setlle down and you’ll finish the book in one session.”
--Frank McCourt

“Allison Glock’s multi-layered memoir manages to call the reader’s attention to several things simultaneously. Its refrain is the implicit analogy between the making of pottery in pre-World War II West Virginia, and the way one’s consciousness is shaped by place, as well as by desire and destiny. Beauty, itself, is one of the book’s subjects, which is also expressed–apparently in a line of direct descent–in the author’s quite beautiful writing.”
--Ann Beattie

“Allison Glock introduces us to a real American beauty and a true original, her grandmother, Aneita Jean Blair, whose spirit was as raw and real as the rugged West Virginia mountains that bore her. Told with clarity and wit and wry humor, this is a real peek behind the tin roofed shacks, the toothless grins, the yawning pickup trucks, the world of the so called hillbillies, where we meet men and women of pride, of resounding humor and grit, who were more aware of life’s ironies and the tight spaces they lived in than any outsider could imagine. Allison Glock skillfully takes us to places we’ve never been before and may never see again. I tip my cap to her”
--James McBride

“This is a funny, tender, searing–and uniquely honest–take on one woman’s life. It’s also a portrait of a generation. Not to mention a meditation on our stories, how they echo, and what those echoes mean.”
--Colum McCann

"Beauty Before Comfort is wise and passionate, wiseass and sorrowful all at the same time–just like Aneita Jean Blair, the unforgettable heroine at its center. Her story, about a girl whose dreams are bigger than the place that holds her and the life she is destined to lead, is a familiar one and it never fails to break the heart. What’s different here, what changes everything, is the way Allison Glock tells that story. You can hear traces of the ache and beauty of rural West Virginia in her voice and she sneaks so gracefully in and out of her grandmother’s history you forget she’s writing at all. You can’t help but lose yourself in this memorable life and in this lonely, lovely place and in this remarkable book.”
--Michael Knight

“Allison Glock makes it look easy. Her memoir of her sexy, spirited grandmother (a sort of Appalachian Emma Bovary, but with a sense of humor) is a perfectly told and perfectly written American story. I can’t remember the last time I met a woman in print who became as real to me as young Aneita Jean Blair–a girl so heartbreaking, so wild, so vividly rendered into flesh that you can almost feel yourself inside her body, sashaying down her Depression-era factory-town street in her tightest dress, turning every man’s head while yearning so desperately to be transported into some glamorous other world. An unforgettable portrait.”
--Elizabeth Gilbert

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Store Description - the name used by Volk and Iiams, Booksellers- specializes in first editions of twentieth century literature, with an emphasis on women authors, African American, Native American and Latin American authors - plus mystery & detective fiction, science fiction & fantasy, poetry and children's & illustrated books. We try to offer many uncommon books, and have a large selection of first books, and books by authors who are less frequently collected. Of the approximately 50,000 volumes in stock, the majority are hardcover first editions, although we also stock vintage science fiction paperbacks as well as sf digests and pulps. We also have a large selection of books signed by the author and uncorrected proof copies. Less than 50% of our stock is catalogued, so please inquire if you are searching for specific titles. Selling books by mail order and on the internet since 1993. We have a large booth dedicated to books (called Books Upstairs) at the Antiques Upstairs Mall, 5 Main Street, Jackson, CA. (open every day from 10-5) The emphasis there is on Western Americana, children¿s books and inexpensive reading copies. In 1998 we relocated our main business from Sacramento to the Sierra foothills of Amador County, about 35 miles east of downtown Sacramento and between Ione & Sutter Creek. There, on 10 acres of rolling oak-covered hills, we built a ¿bookhouse¿ for our books. When we are there, we welcome visitors by appointment (call 209-274-6960 or, in the US only, toll free at 1-877-bookfev or contact us by email Our web page is Traditional bookseller grading used - fine is our highest grade (an "A"), very good is above average (a "B), good is average (a "C"). All significant flaws are described; dust jackets are protected by archival covers, and books are packed carefully for shipping. We welcome questions by email or phone.

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Terms of Sale: is a partnership between Christine Volk and Eugene Iiams, Booksellers. Our mailing address is PO Box 696, Ione CA 95640 USA. Our store is located at 5 Main Street, Jackson, CA 95642 USA. Email: Phone: 209-274-6960. We accept Mastercard, Visa AMEX, Discover, checks or Paypal, whichever is most convenient for customers. Please contact us if you have any questions, or want to confirm availability. All dustjackets are in archival mylar covers, and books are packed ...

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