How do people live in this world? is a question that seems to hover, alongside the Hollywood sign, over the neighbourhood of Los Feliz. Certainly Pete Ross wonders as much, his run as a successful chef, husband, and father having imploded so spectacularly as to land him back in the fraught care of his mother. Similarly, Alice Black's life - ...
How do people live in this world? is a question that seems to hover, alongside the Hollywood sign, over the neighbourhood of Los Feliz. Certainly Pete Ross wonders as much, his run as a successful chef, husband, and father having imploded so spectacularly as to land him back in the fraught care of his mother. Similarly, Alice Black's life - hinging as it does on a married boyfriend - is yet pending, and Helen Harland's ministry has thus far failed to enchant her new congregants. Meanwhile, at the retirement home down the street, Alice's aunt Kate lives in a world whose most vivid presence is her distinguished ancestor William James. Each of them, then, is trying to divine who or what is both missing and essential. They encounter one another - and several significant others besides - at Helen's midweek service, and amidst the quotidian tumult their particular desires gradually dovetail in a quest not just for romance and friendship but also for deeper meaning in what one of them calls ' the variety show of religious experience' .
Very good. Appearance of only slight previous use. Cover and binding show a little wear. All pages are undamaged with potentially only a few, small markings. Help save a tree. Buy all your used books from Thriftbooks. Read. Recycle and Reuse.
Good. Ex-Library Book-will contain Library Markings. Light shelving wear with minimal damage to cover and bindings. Pages show minor use. Help save a tree. Buy all your used books from Thriftbooks. Read. Recycle and Reuse.
Fair. A book with obvious wear. May have some damage to the cover but integrity still intact. The binding may be slightly damaged but integrity is still intact. Possible writing in margins, possible underlining and highlighting of text, but no missing pages or anything that would compromise the legibility or understanding of the text.
Of this author's 3 novels, I liked this the best. Original, off-beat, and well written.
If you have limited time to read, you will not begrudge spending some of it on this book. I will definitely re-read it at some point in the future.
Dec 29, 2011
Well-written, funny, quirky, smart novel about redemption, friendship and growth. Generous and warm without being "sensitive".
Publishers Weekly, 2003-07-28 Like her critically acclaimed Round Rock, Huneven's sophomore effort explores a tightly knit community of troubled eccentrics. In the Los Angeles neighborhood of Los Feliz, a motley handful of residents attends Helen Harland's casual and inclusive services at the local Unitarian church. Helen-who can't interest her boyfriend in her preaching profession, and who battles the church board over matters such as men holding hands in the sanctuary-has her own struggles with faith, yet finds herself inspiring it in some of Los Feliz's other lonely souls. There's Alice Black, hot off a string of bad love affairs (including one with the husband of a local movie star) and living in a house belonging to her great-aunt Kate. The intermittently lucid Kate, now ensconced in a rest home, is still pursuing a life-long writing project related to her illustrious ancestor, the philosopher William James. And then there's crazy Pete Ross, a failed husband, father and chef now living with his mother, a nun, as part of his therapy. Spunky Helen maneuvers dinners and other get-togethers where people seemingly at odds grow (warmly and predictably) to know and love one another. More intelligent and quirky than the usual melodrama, this novel succeeds in exploring the slow and halting journey to self-acceptance. But this level of realism also becomes problematic: the narrative is slow-going, and the author's fondness for flashbacks further decelerates the plot. The theological conversations and the extensive information about William James may also be a turn-off for some readers. For those who are patient, however, this is a gentle, well-turned story of the search for redemption. (Sept. 16) Forecast: Round Rock was a New York Times Notable Book and an L.A. Times Best Book of the Year, so review attention will be strong, but readers may find Huneven's latest a bit underwhelming. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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