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LARRY'S PARTY.

Shields, Carol.

ISBN 10: 0670873926 / ISBN 13: 9780670873920
Published by VIKING. NY 1997, 1997
Condition: Fine Hardcover
From WAVERLEY BOOKS ABAA (Santa Monica, CA, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

Precedes the Canadian edition. SIGNED by Carol Shields on the title page. Fine in a virtually fine dj. (Couple of tiny spots of creasing on cover of dj.); Signed by Author(s). Bookseller Inventory # 4855

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Bibliographic Details

Title: LARRY'S PARTY.

Publisher: VIKING. NY 1997

Publication Date: 1997

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Dust Jacket Included

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: First Edition.

About this title

Synopsis:

A detailed look at the ordinary life of Larry Weller between 1977 and 1997 follows the floral designer as he deals with the rapidly changing world and two marriages and two divorces along the way. By the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Stone Diaries. 200,000 first printing. Tour."

Review:

Larry Weller is a regular guy, or so Carol Shields has him think. When we first meet him in 1977 Winnipeg at age 26, he's pondering the pluses of Harris tweed, still living at home, and realizing he's in love with his girlfriend, Dorrie, a flinty car saleswoman. Larry is proud of his job at Flowerfolks, even though he fell into floral design by accident, and if his relationship with his parents isn't perfect, it's not too bad, either. (Stu and Flo Weller may have less page-time in Larry's Party, but they are hugely memorable. He is a master upholsterer, happiest when working; she is a woman ruined by nervous guilt, having inadvertently killed off her mother-in-law with some improperly preserved green beans.)

Carol Shields has said that she had "always been struck by the fact that in most novels people aren't working." Though her hero climbs the floral managerial trellis for 17 years and finds more rhapsody in work than marriage, Larry and Dorrie's honeymoon in England points him toward what will be his true vocation--mazes. These living constructs turn him into a thinker, a man of imagination, and the author's descriptions are quietly spectacular as well as effortlessly sweet. Larry wonders at their "teasing elegance and circularity ... a snail, a scribble, a doodle on the earth's skin with no other directed purpose but to wind its sinuous way around itself." Just as Larry changes with the times--each elliptical chapter ages him by one or two years--so does his art. In 1990, he designs a maze in which you can't really lose yourself. In 1997, the McCord Maze "is intended to mirror the descent into unconscious sleep, followed by a slow awakening." Larry, too, has a slow awakening, taking several false turns before reaching midlife. As the novel closes, with a bravura dinner party scene, he may finally be at ease in the world. But his creator knows that he is only halfway there, and still has to negotiate his way from the center of the maze to its exit.

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