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Titre : Malaise
Éditeur : Scribner
Date d'édition : 2002
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 THE FIERY PANTHEON, the story of a California woman who falls in love with a British tycoon. Fine/Fine. Signed by Lemann on the title page. N° de réf. du libraire 5111
Synopsis : "A search for love, home, and meaning set between the blazing southern California border town of Esperanza and the old-world haunts of New York," Malaise "is a romantic comedy of manners from a novelist of incomparable style and wit."
Fleming Ford is an Alabama girl exiled to the West Coast, where she is torn between devotion to her husband and a dangerous love for an older Englishman who seems to embody the formality and culture lacking in her new home. California is to Fleming a desert of many kinds, but ultimately she is reluctantly drawn into the culture that she satirizes -- its beautiful vistas, its citizens' endless quest for wellness, the narcotic effect of its perpetual sun. She soon finds herself at the mall or with a botanist, facialist, yoga instructor, or visceral manipulator. She must come to terms with the inhabitants' ceaseless plea to relax, their phobia of weather, their love of malls.
Newly pregnant with her third child while her geologist husband is away searching for water in the barren deserts of the American West, Fleming seeks relief in the companionship of Mr. Lieberman, a British mogul sojourning in Los Angeles. To her, he represents the tragic yet glamorous Old World, the milestones of the twentieth century, and the battlefields of Europe.
Will Fleming risk her marriage and her honor for the love of an aging tycoon? Acclaimed for her Walker Percy-like portraits of Southern society, Nancy Lemann here trains her eye on the contrasts between the East Coast and the West, the Old World and the New, in a captivating story that reflects on universal themes of place, history, and home.
Critique: People either get Nancy Lemann or they don't. Those who do practically worship her for her deeply elegant, eccentric, hilarious novels about displaced Southerners. Those who don't tend to complain that she's too repetitive. That she is, and a good thing, too. In her lovely and odd novel, Malaise, Lemann uses repetition as she does in all her books: as a wellspring for both humor and meaning. Her characters turn phrases over and over in their minds, as if trying to solve them. In Malaise, those phrases concern California, the death of the British Empire, old age, and graciousness. Fleming Ford is a New York journalist, born in Mississippi, whose husband's work takes the family to Esperanza, a San Diegoesque resort city not far from the Mexican border. As always, Lemann's writing wildly conflates the personal and the geographical. Fleming shuns Esperanza as the ends of the earth. At the same time, and not just coincidentally, she falls in love with Mr. Lieberman, an old Englishman who represents the decorousness that she has left behind. Along the way, we get some astonishing writing, like this aside about a visit to Death Valley: "It's so godforsaken, so historical, and so pure that you are curiously elated. It may be called Death Valley, but the minute you get there you are subsumed by a vast and incongruous gaiety." Addled by nostalgia and despair, Lemann's characters are forever bumping into a vast and incongruous gaiety, and telling us about it over and over and over. We wouldn't have it any other way. --Claire Dederer
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