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All He Ever Wanted

Shreve, Anita

ISBN 10: 0316861146 / ISBN 13: 9780316861144
Published by Little Brown, 2003
Used Condition: Very Good Hardcover
From Daniel Montemarano (Newfield, NJ, U.S.A.)

AbeBooks Seller Since November 23, 2001 Seller Rating 4-star rating

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About this Item

1st UK Edition/1st Printing. SIGNED by author on a bookplate affixed to front end page (signature only). Some page age-toning. DJ has small chip on rear top. Price present on DJ flap n UK Pounds. Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Bookseller Inventory # 020296

Bibliographic Details

Title: All He Ever Wanted

Publisher: Little Brown

Publication Date: 2003

Binding: Hard Cover

Book Condition:Very Good

Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good

Signed: Signed by Author

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title

Synopsis:

'I believe an entire story, an entire marriage, was written in that embrace, though I could not have forseen it then. And based on that experience, I would advise young lovers to be as attentive to the first embrace with the beloved as one would be to a soothsayer...' It is a fire in a New Hampshire hotel that brings Nicholas Van Tassel and Etna Bliss together - two strangers grateful to have escaped the burning building with their lives. For Nicholas, it is also a chance meeting that lights up a lifelong passion, and sets in motion a persuit of Etna that is to end in their marriage. But their life in the college town of Thrupp is not everything they could have imagined. Many years later, on a train bound for Florida, Nicholas recounts their courtship, and their time together. And as the threads of the story begin to unravel, what is revealed is a patchwork of promises, truths, secrets and lies, and a man, madly in love, for whom his wife is all he ever wanted...

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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