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Titre : Off Keck Road
Éditeur : Knopf
Date d'édition : 2000
Reliure : Hardcover
Etat du livre : Fine
Etat de la jaquette : Fine
Signé : Signed by Author
Edition : 1st Edition.
First Edition (first printing). The fourth novel by the author of ANYWHERE BUT HERE, a story of the precise costs of "staying" Fine/Fine. Signed by Simpson on the title page. N° de réf. du libraire 4157
Synopsis : From Anywhere But Here (a first novel that prompted Anne Tyler to proclaim, "She is already a master") to her most recent, A Regular Guy ("What a pleasure," observed Newsweek, "to see a successful novelist take a huge chance and fly high with it"), Mona Simpson has proven herself one of her generation's defining voices. With three books she has created a memorable cast of searchers who leave home in order to reinvent themselves, to find the missing parent or dream. But in this superb new novella, Simpson reveals the precise costs and rewards of staying?out of affinity and obligation, out of chance, circumstance, and choice.
In Green Bay, Wisconsin?here vividly realized and imagined?Bea Maxwell comes of age in the fifties, and Off Keck Road follows her extended circle along the arc of their lives, through their frustrations and occasional successes, well toward old age. A story of family and friends, of change and many generations, it gathers itself around this remarkable woman, who discovers much about the world from her experience in the one place she has always belonged
Mesmerizing, compact, and intense, Off Keck Road reflects fully half a century of American life?and displays a writer at the maturity of her accomplishment.
Critique: Off Keck Road seems an off-putting title for a book--just try saying it out loud. But that might be the point. Mona Simpson, celebrated author of Anywhere but Here, The Lost Father, and A Regular Guy, has written a novel about life's left-behinds. Her characters are people no one really wants, and Keck Road, in a dingy Wisconsin suburb, is a place where no one wants to live. Simpson's story follows tenderhearted Bea Maxwell, daughter of one of Green Bay's leading families, as she befriends first one, then another of the road's residents. Bea herself hails from a fancier part of town, where as a teenager in the 1950s she is busy and happy and not quite like everyone else: "It was as if adolescence--that new word that everyone all of a sudden knew--was a contagion Bea somehow had not caught. She agreed with her reasonable parents that dieting yourself half to death was dangerous. She found high heels ridiculous. She ate casseroles and desserts with the abandon of a ten-year-old boy." Bea never does pair up with anyone, boy or man, and her virginity, as imagined by Simpson, is a lifelong, defining condition: it "seemed an erectness in her posture, something symmetrical, silver."
Bea compensates for her lack of love by weaving a tight web of equally not-quite-the-thing friends: Bill, the divorced boss at the real estate agency where she works; June, a single mom; Matthew, a priest; and finally, Shelley, uneducated, clever, a polio survivor. A dual portrait emerges: Simpson shows us a gossipy, exclusionary Midwestern town. And she shows us, in full, Bea, a character who teeters between the conventional (golfer, broker of the year, board member at the church) and the off-beat. The author never forces Bea into the unlikely role of heroine, nor does she judge her curious circle of friends. In the end, Simpson's warts-and-all rendering has a real humanity to it. --Claire Dederer
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