Title: Gorgeous Lies
Publisher: Harcourt, New York
Publication Date: 2002
Binding: Hard Cover
Book Condition: Fine
Dust Jacket Condition: Fine
Signed: Signed by Author
Edition: First Edition
First edition, stated; first printing, full letter line (A-K). Signed by the author on the title page: "Martha McPhee." The author's second novel, after "Bright Angel Time." The book is tight, square, and unmarked; the dust jacket is not price-clipped (original price $25.00). Brodart protected. Bookseller Inventory # 002641
Synopsis: Returning to the Furey-Cooper family Martha McPhee introduced in Bright Angel Time, Gorgeous Lies opens two decades later. Charismatic therapist Anton Furey is dying, and the tribe he heads--his five children, his wife's three girls, and their uniting child, Alice--has returned to Chardin, the farm where they grew up and Anton played out his visions of communal living. Chronicled by film crews and reporters, they had been famous for being the new American blended family. But as Anton grows weaker, the hurts, allegiances, and betrayals of those years boil to the surface, and the children find themselves reliving the knotty intimacy they share as they struggle to make their peace with Anton and Anton struggles to make peace with himself.
McPhee has already established herself as an acclaimed new talent; now she fulfills her promise. With shimmering prose and an acutely observant eye, she has created a portrait of an era and a family that explores the limits, and obligations, of love.
Review: Let's face it, sequels can be confusing. Especially sequels that are meant to be standalone literary experiences. Martha McPhee's Gorgeous Lies explores the fictional world established in her well-received first novel, Bright Angel Time. In the 1970s, therapist and would-be revolutionary Anton Furey becomes the paterfamilias of two families. He brings them to live together under one roof, where they become a kind of hippie Brady Bunch.
They were famous for many reasons. They were famous because they lived on a vast piece of property. They were famous because Anton was a Gestalt therapist and in town he had a reputation for holding therapy sessions on his front lawn. They were famous because there were so many of them. They were famous with all the shopkeepers and merchants in town for making late payments on their bills, but even so they still got credit, because they were famous.
The book toggles between that chaotic time and the present, when Anton Furey lies dying of cancer and his family is scattered to the four winds. Gorgeous Lies reveals, never quite completely, what happened in the intervening years. The writing here is careful and funny and evasive, at times almost mystical. But McPhee's elliptical style isn't well suited to a standalone sequel. Too often we're left wondering if she means to leave some mystery open-ended, or if it was just something we missed in the first novel. Fans of Bright Angel Time will welcome the return to utopia. The rest of us are charmed, but a bit befuddled. --Claire Dederer
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