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LIVING TO BE A HUNDRED.

Boswell, Robert.

ISBN 10: 0679430636 / ISBN 13: 9780679430636
Published by NY: KNOPF. 1994, 1994
Condition: Fine Hardcover
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Cloth. First Edition. REVIEW COPY. (Publisher's printed review slip laid-in) Fine in dj. Stories. (LC). Bookseller Inventory # 19080

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Bibliographic Details

Title: LIVING TO BE A HUNDRED.

Publisher: NY: KNOPF. 1994

Publication Date: 1994

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Dust Jacket Included

Edition: First Edition.

About this title

Synopsis:

Robert Boswell, author of the highly acclaimed Mystery Ride and Crooked Hearts, has written a stunning new collection of short stories. In them, he brings us into the familiar territory of family relationships and brilliantly describes the strain, the humor, the confusion, and the kaleidoscope of feelings these bonds evoke. But he also introduces us to new terrain as he places us in worlds so heightened by emotion that, at times, the commonplace turns eerie and the odd becomes downright scary.
In "Rain," Karen and Orla are paired off in a search party formed to find a lost boy during a storm. Although the boy is located, the two women discover during their search that parts of themselves, over the years, have gone missing. In "Glissando," a father and son drift through life, jobs, schools, towns, and women trying to both find and escape their past. An alcoholic husband, in "The Good Man," resolves to stop drinking after he finds a note tacked to the door from his wife that says "Good-bye, you shit." In order to get his family back, he suffers through maggot-filled hallucinations and vomit-covered nights at the rehabilitation center, but the worst of not drinking has yet to come. Alvin and Rita Bishop lose their infant girl to crib death in "The Earth's Crown"; Rita goes mad with grief and Alvin has an affair with a pregnant woman. "The Products of Love" tells of Paula and Eugene's mysterious marriage. And in "Living to Be a Hundred," three men on a construction crew hammer out their lives and loves - literally.
Soul-piercing and freshly funny, these stories are at once strikingly contemporary and timeless in their power to move us.

From Kirkus Reviews:

From the author of Mystery Ride, a collection of short stories that too often read like a few good characters in search of a major insight. All have previously been published in venues such as the New Yorker, Best American Short Stories 1989, and Ploughshares. An accomplished creator of vivid characters thoroughly and lovingly realized, Boswell is less original when it comes to creating defining moments for them. In the first story, ``Rain,'' which previously appeared in the New Yorker, a young woman joins a search party for a young boy lost in the nearby woods, and, long after the boy is found, finds herself questioning her marriage, her attraction to her co-searcher Orla (a divorced neighbor) and her longing to return to the forest. Only a re-enactment of the search with Orla gives her the less than earth-shattering epiphany she has been searching for. In ``The Good Man,'' the second New Yorker story and one of the best in the book, the match between character and situation is more subtly nuanced as a recovering alcoholic moves with his wife and family to Arizona, where his wife ``misses trees, grass, rain, snow but mostly trees,'' and sometimes even the way her husband used to be when he drank. Other notable stories are ``Grief,'' in which parents struggle to accept the death of a daughter in an accident that her boyfriend, the driver of the car, survives, and after which he goes on to court and marry their remaining daughter; ``Living to be a Hundred,'' which limns the sexual and class tensions of three former college students working in a small desert town; and ``Imagining Spaniards,'' in which a high school teacher is suddenly aware of ``the presence of death...death was not a metaphor. Its coarse tongue chafed his skin.'' The least distinguished tale is ``Brilliant Mistake,'' a sexual awakening story that tries to be different but isn't. Beautifully wrought prose that tries too hard for the bells- and-whistles moment when a quieter, more subtle resolution would better serve. But a writer to watch. -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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