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All He Ever Wanted

Shreve, Anita

12,927 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0316782262 / ISBN 13: 9780316782265
Published by Little Brown & Company, New York, NY, U.S.A., 2003
Condition: Fine Hardcover
From Kennedy Books (Jamestown, ND, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

Fine unread copy protected by Archival Brodart Cover. Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Bookseller Inventory # 000246

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Bibliographic Details

Title: All He Ever Wanted

Publisher: Little Brown & Company, New York, NY, U.S.A.

Publication Date: 2003

Binding: Hard Cover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Edition: First Edition.

About this title

Synopsis:

Years after escaping from a hotel fire and encountering an elusive woman, who he subsequently married and divorced, a man travels from New England to Florida by train and remembers the relationship. 325,000 first printing.

Review:

Anita Shreve's All He Ever Wanted reads like Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own told from the perspective of the husband. The wife gains a measure of freedom, but how does the repressive, abandoned husband feel about that freedom? Set in the early 1900s in the fictional New England college town of Thrupp, and narrated by the pompous Nicholas Van Tassel, All He Ever Wanted is at once an academic satire, a period novel, and a tale of suspense. Shreve's ability to nimbly hop through genres brings a liveliness to this story of love gone depressingly wrong. Van Tassel is an undistinguished professor of rhetoric at Thrupp College and a confirmed bachelor when he meets--in no less flamy a scenario than a hotel fire--the arresting Miss Etna Bliss. Immediately smitten, he woos and wins her. At least, he persuades her to become his wife. But Van Tassel hasn't really won her. Etna keeps her secrets and her feelings to herself. The extent of her withholding only becomes clear after a couple of kids and a decade or so of marriage. Then we find out that she's been creating a secret haven for herself all along. Van Tassel is in turn revealed--through his own priggish, puffed-up sentences--as something of a monster. The book is cleverly done; watching Etna through Van Tassel's eyes is like looking at beautiful bird from a hungry cat's point of view. But Van Tassel's voice might be too well written; he's pedantic and dull and snarky all at once, and by the end we find that we, like Etna, can't bear his company a minute longer. --Claire Dederer

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