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Landvik, Lorna.

ISBN 10: 0345433173 / ISBN 13: 9780345433176
Published by BALLANTINE. NY 1999, 1999
Condition: Fine Hardcover
From WAVERLEY BOOKS ABAA (Santa Monica, CA, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

First Edition. SIGNED by the author on the half-title page. Fine in dj.; Signed by Author(s). Bookseller Inventory # 10413

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Bibliographic Details


Publisher: BALLANTINE. NY 1999

Publication Date: 1999

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Dust Jacket Included

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: First Edition.

About this title


Life, they say, is a state of mind. In the small northwoods town of Tall Pine Minnesota, that state of mind is found at the Cup O'Delight café, where the robust and very beautiful Lee O'Leary makes a cup of coffee that's balm for the heart. The O'Delight gang gathers there every day and occasionally for what it calls the Tall Pine Polka, an event in which heavenly coffee, good food, and that feeling of being alive among friends inspires both body and soul to dance.

Escaping to the northwoods from an abusive husband, Lee answered the question "What am I going to do with my life?" by opening the cafe. Now it's a clubhouse of sorts for Tall Pine's more colorful citizens. There's Miss Penk and Frau Katt, the town's only lesbian couple ("Well, we're za only ones who admit it."); Bill, proprietor of the Shoe Shack, who spends nights crafting beautiful shoes to present to Lee--along with his declaration of love; Slim, the shell-shocked veteran; Mary, whose bad poetry can clear out the cafe in seconds flat; and, most important of all, Lee's best friend, Fenny Ness, a smart and sassy twenty-two-year-old going on eighty, who has managed her parents' tourist shop since their tragic death put her in state of grounded melancholy she has no intention of leaving.

Then Hollywood rolls into Tall Pine. It seems the quiet border town is the perfect location for a romantic comedy set in a place "with quaintness up the wazoo." And Fenny, pounced on like a bone in a yard full of hungry dogs, is evidently that rarity in Hollywood: a "natural." She's also the film's new star.

Then, in the middle of the Tall Pine-Tinseltown culture clash, an itinerant musician known as Big Bill drops his backpack (named Big Bill because he's big and, well, his name is Bill). Soon Lee and Fenny find their friendship tested in unimagined ways by their mutual affections for the attractive newcomer. As the eccentrics keep a cool eye on the complex geometry of this romantic triangle, events at once sublime, surreal, and tragic push all their hearts in unexplored directions--where endings can turn into new beginnings.

Delighted readers of Your Oasis on Flame Lake and Patty Jane's House of Curl have something to cheer about. Resplendent with Lorna Landvik's trademark pathos, hilarity, and offbeat characters, The Tall Pine Polka is a lyrical, funny, and idiosyncratic tale that is both hilarious and heartbreaking. Landvik is a remarkable writer with the power to illuminate the workings of the human heart.


Balanced on the remote edge of the boundary waters in northern Minnesota, the Cup o' Delight Café is home to a motley crew of locals. Drawn to the addictive coffee and the equally addictive company, the customers share the fortunes of life together. Having left the dangers of the big city and an abusive husband behind, owner Lee O'Leary helps guide and inspire her friends, particularly Fenny Ness. There seems to be no problem that Lee or her coffee can't solve.

Then Hollywood arrives and chooses the town of Tall Pine as the setting--and Fenny as the star--of a new film. With the encouragement of her friends, Fenny overcomes her inhibitions and agrees to act. To add to the general excitement, a handsome stranger arrives in town. Big Bill has qualities that draw both Lee and Fenny to him; as their world turns upside down, Lee and Fenny struggle to balance loyalty and happiness.

Author Lorna Landvik has won acclaim for her blend of quirky humor and bittersweet realizations. As in her earlier novels, Patty Jane's House of Curl and Your Oasis on Flame Lake, Landvik juxtaposes a slapstick sense of rural Minnesota with humble and human pathos. Unrequited love, personal insecurity, and post-traumatic stress disorder may not be the most original sources of profundity, but Landvik builds her characters' growth like layers of translucent watercolor, and ultimately creates a complex and endearing novel. --Nancy R.E. O'Brien

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