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Windchill Sumer (Inscribed First Edition)

Norris Church Mailer

ISBN 10: 0375503196 / ISBN 13: 9780375503191
Published by Random House, 2000
Condition: Fine Hardcover
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About this Item

NEW YORK: Random House [2000]. First edition. First printing. Hardbound. Fine/Fine. A tight copy, comes with mylar dust jacket protector. Pristine. SIGNED AND INSCRIBD BY AUTHOR on title page to the former owner in August 2000. Shipped in sturdy box with bubble wrap. 0.0. Bookseller Inventory # 10-2011-67

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Windchill Sumer (Inscribed First Edition)

Publisher: Random House

Publication Date: 2000

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition: Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: 1st Edition....

About this title

Synopsis:

"        It was scary how good I was getting at sin and breaking the law. Every time I went to church, I expected the roof to cave in. I felt like I had been sprayed with glow-in-the-dark paint that would flash like a neon sign--sinner, sinner, sinner--but everyone just treated me like they always had. I began to wonder if some of them might be hiding things, too. The whole business of good and evil seemed completely turned around to what I had always been taught. How could something so good as loving Tripp be considered so bad?"

From a new voice in fiction that's sure to delight fans of Lee Smith and Bailey White comes a heartwarming coming-of-age novel, bringing to life a host of unforgettable characters in a small Arkansas town during the freewheeling sixties.
              
Cherry (short for Cheryl Ann) Marshall is the tallest, gawkiest, most unwittingly beautiful girl ever to come out of Sweet Valley, Arkansas. Her father's a deacon at the First Apostolic Holiness Church of God--a real "Don't" religion, as Cherry sees it. "They don't believe in dancing or drinking or swearing or playing cards or wearing makeup or shorts or even sleeveless dresses, much less swimming suits, to mention a few things." Together with her best friend, Baby, Cherry fights off the drudgery of her job peeling onions at the pickle plant as the rest of the country explodes. It's 1969--the summer of the first moon landing, Woodstock, the Manson murders, and raging protests against the Vietnam War.
          
But when a hip--and sexy--stranger with bedroom eyes and a winning smile comes to Sweet Valley and falls in love with Cherry, she gets a taste of everything that her Fundamentalist upbringing has taught her is bad. Setting out on an adventure, Cherry comes to see that Sweet Valley isn't quite what she thought. Everybody's got secrets: the boys who've just come back from the war, her fellow churchgoers, even Baby. And when the body of a young woman is pulled from the lake, the secrets threaten to sweep away everything good that Cherry has ever believed in.
            
A tender and funny story of a young woman's blossoming, Windchill Summer blends a compassionate look at the turmoil of the sixties with a nostalgic dream of small-town life. Norris Church Mailer is an astonishingly fresh voice in American fiction.

Review:

In Norris Church Mailer's debut, the muggy summer heat of Sweet Valley, Arkansas, mingles with an acrid smell of vinegar and onions at its pickling plant. An engaging, richly painted coming-of-age novel set in the late 1960s, Windchill Summer portrays the exploration and confusion of the times through a group of small-town friends caught up in a big-time web of intrigue and murder. Cherry Marshall has just turned 21 and is preparing for her final year of college when her sheltered existence is turned upside down by the murder of a high school friend. Until the discovery of Carlene's drowned body, life for Cherry had been an easy mix of university art studies, thrice-weekly meetings of the First Apostolic Holiness Church of God (part of the "real Don't religion" you would expect to find in an alcohol-dry Arkansas county), and summer jobs spent pickling cucumbers with her best friend, Baby, a Southern-assimilated Filipino, or "Filbilly." But Carlene's murder kicks off a summer of strange events and even stranger revelations. And as the craziness of the Vietnam War and the haziness of hippie-living begin to seep into Sweet Valley life, Cherry finds a whole new world taking shape around and within her: "I felt an excitement like the pioneers must have felt, knowing they were starting a whole new way of life." The territory she plows isn't quite so virgin, mind you, and many lives are wrecked, transformed, and renewed before the book's climax.

Mailer captures the tone of her young characters, and she writes revealingly of the pull and power of secrets and hypocrisy, of the few options and desperate choices of those caught on the underside of "proper" society. While Cherry tells her tale in the first-person voice, her friends' stories are relayed through Mailer's omniscient third-person voice. This double narrative is somewhat awkward, but the author's expressive style makes up for the oddity. She describes Carlene as a child who had been "prickly and serious, sturdy and pale, with freckles sprinkled on her skin like nutmeg on eggnog," and she tells the story of the local embalmer's wife who, before she died, had Polaroids taken of herself "lying down in various coffins and outfits until she decided on the one she liked. At the funeral, everyone said she had never looked better." Readers will inevitably look for the influence of the author's husband, but this half of the duo tells a captivating story in a voice all her own. --S. Ketchum

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