DEARLY DEPARTED.

Lipman, Elinor.

ISBN 10: 0679463127 / ISBN 13: 9780679463122
Published by New York: Random House, (2001.) dj, 2001
Hardcover
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About this Item

SIGNED hardcover first edition - First printing. Set in small town King George in New Hampshire, this is a tale of 'untimely death, family secrets and unlikely alliances' - with a little golf thrown in. SIGNED on the title page. 269 pp. Near fine in near fine dust jacket. Bookseller Inventory # 56801

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Bibliographic Details

Title: DEARLY DEPARTED.

Publisher: New York: Random House, (2001.) dj

Publication Date: 2001

Binding: Hardcover

Dust Jacket Condition: Dust Jacket Included

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title

Synopsis:

Everyone in King George, New Hampshire, loved Margaret Batten, part-time amateur actress, full-time wallflower, and single mother to a now-distant daughter, Sunny. But accidents happen. The death of Margaret, side by side with her putative fiance, brings Sunny back to the scene of her unhappy adolescence, to the community that remembers her solely, nervously, as "the girl who golfed." Reentry is to be dreaded; there's no hiding in a town with one diner, one doctor, one stop sign, one motel. Yet allies surface: The country club opens its doors to its former Orphan Annie caddie. High school classmates, even the tormenters, have grown up nicely, matured in unforeseen and gratifying ways. Maybe, Sunny begins to think, she wasn't as beleaguered as she felt she was; maybe her mother's life was richer than anyone suspected; and maybe the man at the funeral-the one with her face, her flyaway hair, her golf swing-is the halfbrother she doesn't know she needs.

Elinor Lipman writes with the wry authority of a latter-day Jane Austen. The Dearly Departed is another perfect blend of social comedy, pointed wit, and precise pacing from our last urbane romantic.

Review:

When amateur actress Margaret Batten and her lover Miles Finn are found dead in Margaret's ramshackle gray bungalow, all of King George, New Hampshire, is abuzz. Is it foul play? (No, carbon monoxide poisoning.) Were they engaged? (Yes, if you believe the cleaning lady.) And why do Margaret's daughter Sunny and Miles's son Fletcher have the same kind of wispy, shiny, prematurely gray hair? (They're brother and sister, or so suggests Fletcher, annoyingly and at length.) Meeting one's possible half brother for the first time is jolting enough. But for Sunny Batten, the shock is compounded by finding out that her shy, sweet-faced mother was evidently not the "little mouse"--or even the "late bloomer"--Sunny had always assumed her to be. In other words, when the eulogists praise Margaret's vaunted generosity and her "open door," they aren't necessarily talking about the time she asked the Girl Scouts in for lemonade.

But then King George is full of surprises. Home for the first time since high school, Sunny finds herself reassessing the place. She has ample reason to regret her teenage years--she was poor, had no father, was the only girl on the golf team, found a dead carp in her golf bag one time. But how far can a grudge take you in life? Can we ever really know the truth about our parents? What state of mind does it take to shoot par? Lipman addresses such questions with her customary lighthearted touch, sketching out her ensemble cast with rapid and comical strokes. Witness, for example, anorexic congressional candidate Emily Ann Grandjean's most characteristic tic: "constant sips from a large bottle of brand-name water, then the ceremonial screwing of its cap back on once, twice, full-body twists as if volatile and poisonous gases would escape without her intervention." In the end, all loose ends are neatly tied up and all single characters are suitably paired--in other words, the author once again produces the kind of visceral satisfaction readers associate with her work. It's hard not to devour an Elinor Lipman novel in one sitting; put this one away for a time when you won't have to put it down. --Mary Park

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