Centering around a Minneapolis beauty parlor that also functions as a women's support group, this novel explores the loves, losses, hopes, and victories experienced by Patty Jane and Harriet, two eccentric sisters.
When a Hollywood movie crew shows up in Tall Pine, Minnesota, two friends find their relationship tested as one of them lands a major part in the film and both fall for the same man. Reader's Guide included. Reprint. 25,000 first printing.
The classic novel of a small Minnesota town—and of one school teacher who calls it home This utterly charming, deeply poignant debut remains perhaps the signature achievement of beloved novelist Jon Hassler—once hailed by The New York Times as “a writer good enough to restore your faith in fiction.” It’s the story of a week in the life of Miles Pruitt, a thirty-five-year-old bachelor who teaches high school English in Staggerford, Minnesota. And though it is only a week, it’s an extraordinary week, filled with the poetry of living, the sweetness of expectation, and the glory of surprise that can change a life forever. Praise for Staggerford “Witty, intelligent, compassionate . . . an absolutely smashing first novel.”—The Plain Dealer “You’ll remember it for a long time.”—The Minneapolis Tribune “One of the year’s truly freshly conceived and carried out novels, one whose not always so gentle ironies address themselves to a broader range of life than is to be found in Staggerford, Minnesota.”—The Kansas City Star “A thoroughly convincing X-ray vision of small-town life . . . so sincere, so true, so honest with itself, and so very, very funny that a reader often has to wipe the tears out of the corners of his eyes before he can—as he must—read on.”—The Houston Post “Very entertaining . . . [Miles is] one of the most likable protagonists of modern fiction.”—The Pittsburgh Press “Staggerford, Minnesota, is a town out of control. It is as weird and convoluted as any lover of comic fiction could wish.”—Boston Herald American
With her trademark wit and warmth, Lorna Landvik follows Nora Rolvaag (the do-or-die-trying daughter of Patty Jane) and a cast of characters between city and wooded retreat, Minnesota and Norway, a past that's secret and a future that's promising, but uncertain. Readers are in for a rollicking good time with characters whose strengths, foibles, and choices will have you laughing and crying.
Megastar of stage, screen, and television, Geneva Jordan now has a command performance in Minnesota, where she agrees to look after her thirteen-year-old nephew, a boy with Down’s syndrome, while his parents take a long-overdue vacation. Though Geneva and her sister, Ann, are as different as night and day (“I being night, of course, dark and dramatic”), Geneva remembers she had a family before she had a star on her door. But so accustomed is she to playing the lead, finding herself a supporting actress in someone else’s life is strange and unexplored territory. Then the discovery of an old scrapbook that she and her sister created long ago starts her thinking of things beyond fame. For The Great Mysterious is a collection of thoughts and feelings dedicated to answering life’s big questions—far outside the spotlight’s glow. . . . From the Trade Paperback edition.
Author: Lorna Landvik
Publisher: Random House Digital, Inc.
Release Date: 2004
From the initial formation of The Freesia Court Book Club and over the course of the next thirty years, five women in small-town Minnesota share the events, triumphs, tragedies, hardships, joys, and sorrows of their lives, in a heartwarming story of friendship. By the author of Patty Jane's House of Curl. Reader's Guide included. Reprint.
Welcome to the utterly eccentric world of Selby, Georgia, where the folks sprinkle three things liberally over their daily lives: sugar, religion, and the wicked fun of Southern living. Margaret Pinaldi is the quiet daughter of a hell-raising abortion-rights advocate who recently died—bequeathing Margaret a house in Georgia. Finally free from her mother’s demanding presence, this transplanted Yankee is finding herself for the first time, courtesy of the Deep South. And, much to her surprise, she likes it. A former International Dogwood Festival Queen, Donna Kabel once had cute male suitors chase her like hounds to the fox. But all that changed after a car accident left her with a huge facial scar. Now Donna works in the produce section of Kroger. But it seems that the scar that could have cost Donna her inner strength has actually spurred her to reinvent herself. Thirty-four-year-old Suzanne Parley, the chardonnay-alcoholic wife of a fifth-generation Selby neurosurgeon named Boone, longs to have the most exquisitely decorated house in the affluent Red Hill Plantation community. Childless and directionless, Suzanne suddenly comes up with a bold plan to make her bored husband love her again: she’ll simply fake a pregnancy. On the eve of this year’s all-important Dogwood Festival, the disparate lives of these three women will converge in a brilliant comedy of Southern manners like none other. With this funny and poignant novel, Ad Hudler joins Fannie Flagg and Adriana Trigiani as one of our best chroniclers of Southern life. From the Trade Paperback edition.
I am convinced that at birth the cake is already baked. Nurture is the nuts or frosting, but if you’re a spice cake, you’re a spice cake, and nothing is going to change you into an angel food. Tall, slender Violet Mathers is growing up in the Great Depression, which could just as well define her state of mind. Abandoned by her mother as a child, mistreated by her father, and teased by her schoolmates (“Hey, Olive Oyl, where’s Popeye?”), the lonely girl finds solace in artistic pursuits. Only when she’s hired by the town’s sole feminist to work the night shift in the local thread factory does Violet come into her name, and bloom. Accepted by her co-workers, the teenager enters the happiest phase of her life, until a terrible accident causes her to retreat once again into her lonely shell. Realizing that she has only one clear choice, Violet boards a bus heading west to California. But when the bus crashes in North Dakota, it seems that Fate is having another cruel laugh at Violet’s expense. This time though, Violet laughs back. She and her fellow passengers are rescued by two men: Austin Sykes, whom Violet is certain is the blackest man to ever set foot on the North Dakota prairie, and Kjel Hedstrom, who inspires feelings Violet never before has felt. Kjel and Austin are musicians whose sound is like no other, and with pluck, verve, and wit, Violet becomes part of their quest to make a new kind of music together. Oh My Stars is Lorna Landvik’s most ambitious novel yet, with a cast of characters whose travails and triumphs you’ll long remember. It is a tale of love and hope, bigotry and betrayal, loss and discovery–as Violet, who’s always considered herself a minor character in her own life story, emerges as a heroine you’ll laugh with, cry with, and, most important, cheer for all the way. From the Hardcover edition.
Bestselling author Lorna Landvik shines in this delightful holiday novel of redemption and forgiveness. Heiress Caroline Dixon has managed to alienate nearly everyone with her alcohol-fueled antics, which have also provided near-constant fodder for the poison-pen tabloids and their gossip-hungry readers. But like so many girls-behaving-badly, the twenty-six-year-old socialite gets her comeuppance, followed by a newfound attempt to live a saner existence, or at least one more firmly rooted in the real world. As Caro tentatively begins atoning for past misdeeds, she reaches out to two wonderful people who years ago brought meaning to her life: her former nanny, Astrid Brevald, now living in Norway and Arizona dude ranch owner, Cyril Dale. While Astrid fondly remembers Caro as a special, sweet little girl left in her charge, Cyril recalls how he and his late wife were quite taken with the quick-witted teenager Caro had become when she spent a difficult period in her life at the ranch as her father was dying. In a series of e-mail exchanges, Caro reveals the depth of her pain and the lengths she went to hide it. In turn, Astrid and Cyril share their own stories of challenging times and offer the unconditional support this young woman has never known. The correspondence leads to the promise of a reunion, just in time for Christmas. But the holiday brings unexpected revelations that change the way everyone sees themselves and one another. At once heartfelt and witty, ’Tis the Season bears good tidings of great joy about the human condition–that down and out doesn’t mean over and done, that the things we need most are closer than we know, and that the true measure of one’s worth rests in the boundless depths of the soul. From the Hardcover edition.
In 1903, a young Scotswoman named Mary Mackenzie sets sail for China to marry her betrothed, a military attachÉ in Peking. But soon after her arrival, Mary falls into an adulterous affair with a young Japanese nobleman, scandalizing the British community. Casting her out of the European community, her compatriots tear her away from her small daughter. A woman abandoned and alone, Mary learns to survive over forty tumultuous years in Asia, including two world wars and the cataclysmic Tokyo earthquake of 1923.
This sweet and funny tale of a preppy literary editor buying a Brooklyn deli with his Korean in-laws is about family, class, culture clash, and the quest for authentic experiences in an increasingly unreal city. It starts with a simple gift, when Ben Ryder Howe's wife, the daughter of Korean immigrants, decides to repay her parents' self-sacrifice by buying them a store. Howe, an editor at the rarefied Paris Review, reluctantly agrees to go along. However, things soon become a lot more complicated. After the business struggles, Howe finds himself living in the basement of his in-laws' Staten Island home, commuting to the Paris Review offices in George Plimpton's Upper East Side townhouse by day, and heading to Brooklyn at night to slice cold cuts and peddle lottery tickets. The book follows the store's tumultuous lifespan, and along the way paints the portrait of an extremely unlikely partnership between characters across society, from the Brooklyn ghetto to Seoul to Puritan New England. Owning the deli becomes a transformative experience for everyone involved as they struggle to salvage the original gift — and the family — while sorting out issues of values, work and identity. From the Hardcover edition.
Author: Jane K. Cleland
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Release Date: 2009-04-14
One of the mainstays of Prescott's Antiques and Appraisals has always been the cheerful and helpful assistant, Gretchen, who turned up unexpectedly just as Josie was setting up shop in New Hampshire. Gretchen has always been so dependable that it seems odd when she doesn't show up for work one day. Surprise soon turns to alarm when a dead body is found in Gretchen's house, with Gretchen the prime suspect. How much does Josie know about Gretchen, anyway? Enough to believe she isn't capable of murder, so Josie, with a crack team of antiques appraisers at her side, sets out to find the real killer and bring Gretchen home safely, no matter the cost.
A mild-mannered actuary, Fletcher Weschel lives at the crossroads of Bland and Humdrum--or so he thinks until a cosmic contest catapults him into the fantasy world he made up as a boy. Suddenly his childhood bedroom is aswarm with aliens, all bent on discovering the human who best personifies their mission--in this case, the deeply serious pursuit of fun. Ejected from the boring comfort of his office chair, Fletcher finds himself astride the bare back of a horse, in front of a safe (that he happens to be cracking), and then . . . in the cabin of a weight-loss camp for kids? Apparently adventures come in all shapes and sizes, and it's up to Fletcher to make the most of these, conducted by his alien guide, Tandala, who takes on the corporeal form of a big-boned Jamaican and tends to get distracted by Earth's many surprising pleasures (garlic! libraries! love!). But even fantasies can have consequences, and as Fletcher struggles through them, he is cheered and assisted by Wanda Plum, a plucky second-grade teacher who helps him realize what his ultimate role really is on this highly mysterious, infinitely marvelous pale-blue dot in a vast universe. Though its cast includes aliens, this charmed and charming book is quintessential Lorna Landvik--less about outer space than about the crowded, complex inner space of the human heart.
"Best to Laugh" follows Lorna Landvik's latest irresistible character, Candy Pekkala, from Minnesota to Hollywood as she pursues her dream of becoming a comedian. Herself a comic performer, Landvik taps her own adventurous past and writes in her classic style--sometimes so funny, you'll cry; sometimes so sad, you might as well laugh; and always impossible to put down.