The bestselling author of "The Public Burning" spins a darkly magical tale about life in an ordinary small town and the woman who casts a spell on its inhabitants.
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Our most abrasive and challenging postmodernist (Pinocchio in Venice, 1990, etc.) writes at pretty nearly peak level in this mock-epic chronicle of the vagaries of sex, greed, and death in an unnamed midwestern town whose inhabitants are all linked together by their admiration for--or friendship or obsession with--the opaque title character. John is a prominent building contractor, wealthy and successful beyond his envious neighbors' wildest dreams. His gorgeous wife (herself unnamed) ``always seemed,'' we're told, ``to be at the very heart of things in town, an endearing and ubiquitous presence, yet few of the town's citizens, if asked, could have described her.'' Nevertheless, Gordon, the local photographer, surreptitiously snaps pictures of her unawares; Floyd, who manages John's hardware stores, has blunter designs on her beauty; Ellsworth, who edits the Town Crier and nurses artistic pretensions, makes her the heroine of his fondest fantasies; Daphne, her best friend, wonders whether she really knows her at all. The woman makes only teasing, fleeting appearances throughout, and we never come to know her. We are, however, made privy to a rich, raffish cross-section of village life, a generous array of sharply realized characters: Otis the lawman, reluctantly involved with Gordon's notorious wife Pauline, a pathetic victim of childhood sexual abuse for whom a violent fate awaits; ``Mad Marge,'' the woman who can't get along with anybody and perversely decides to run for mayor; and a ragtag collection of hormonally unsettled teenagers whose melodramatic rites of passage are transcribed with delicious wit. It's fun watching Coover pull all this random (and randy) material together, his energy never flagging, as the novel surges toward its extended climax during the town's annual Pioneers Day barbecue--then toward a stunning d‚nouement that expertly plaits together a dozen or more loose ends and offers, for good measure, an unnerving surprise on the very last page. A pitch-perfect, pitch-black comedy, and one of Coover's most elegant and entertaining books yet. -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.Review:
Coover's unpleasant vision of a small, suburbanized midwestern city at first fascinates but finally bores the reader of his new novel. The sex, which is constant, is extraordinarily aggressive and emotionless, the plot withholds any hints of redemption or hope, and the narrator is spectacularly contemptuous of the town's population. All of this is engaging enough for a while, but Coover's scathing style becomes ever less interesting and more oppressive as his novel continues. By not affording the characters even the smallest degree of depth or complexity, John's Wife is reduced to a disjointed catalog of uncontrolled neuroses and desires rather than a truly disturbing exploration of the perversions underlying the mythic American small town.
Copyright © 1996, Boston Review. All rights reserved. -- From The Boston Review
Occasionally funny, more often as anarchically nihilistic as a dirty joke, what Mr. Coover is up to in John's Wife echoes the more extreme hallucinogenic action of such earlier novels of his as The Public Burning (about the Rosenberg case), Spanking the Maid and Gerald's Party, and the stories in Pricksongs and Descants, In Bed One Night and Other Brief Encounters and A Night at the Movies. . . . If it is possible anywhere to grieve with joy, then Mr. Coover's cheerfully psychotic world is the place for it. -- The New York Times Book Review, Christopher Lehmann-Haupt
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Descripción Simon & Schuster, 1997. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Never used!. Nº de ref. de la librería P110684830434
Descripción Simon & Schuster. PAPERBACK. Estado de conservación: New. 0684830434 New Condition. Nº de ref. de la librería NEW7.1195140