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The Body of Jonah Boyd (Paperback, Export ed) Loot Price: R261 Discovery Miles 2 610 You Save: R14 (5%)
The Body of Jonah Boyd (Paperback, Export ed): David Leavitt
The Body of Jonah Boyd (Paperback, Export ed): David Leavitt

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The Body of Jonah Boyd (Paperback, Export ed)

David Leavitt

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List price R275 Loot Price R261 Discovery Miles 2 610 You Save R14 (5%)

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Leavitt's ungainly sixth novel appears to be an amalgam of transposed autobiography, literary in-talk, and the emphasis on family dynamics that distinguished his early work (The Lost Language of Cranes, 1986, etc.). His complicated story is narrated in retrospect by Judith "Denny" Denham, secretary and mistress to Ernest Wright, a psychology prof at California's Wellspring University, and captive piano-playing partner and exploited houseguest of Ernest's intense, busy wife Nancy. The early chapters feature solid and sometimes amusing writing about college life and how it influences families. But the tale slackens when its serpentine plot-initiated by a volatile 1969 Thanksgiving dinner hosted by the Wrights-kicks off. Tensions surround the Wrights: eldest son Mark flees the draft by moving to Canada; teenaged daughter Daphne sleeps with an older man; Nancy presumably senses Ernest's adulteries (but neither confides in nor confronts Denny). And 15-year-old Ben Wright, a fledgling poet burdened with multiple insecurities, attracts the possibly improper attention of Nancy's old friend Anne Armstrong, while playing disciple to Anne's undisciplined husband Jonah Boyd, a novelist who has the irrational habit of continually losing notebooks containing his work-in-progress. One such loss mars that Thanksgiving Day, and resonates long afterward-as we learn from Denny's exhaustive account of her reunion (after Nancy has died and Ernest been murdered) with Ben (now himself a successful novelist) and Ben's disclosure of secrets he has kept since 1969. This all feels like much ado about rather little, and none of it is especially believable. It's hard not to infer a correlation between this book's plot and the notoriety that surrounded Leavitt's third novel, While England Sleeps (1993), allegedly partially plagiarized. That's about as interesting as Jonah Boyd ever gets. One hopes the gifted Leavitt is capable of much better work. But the clock is ticking. (Kirkus Reviews)
It's 1969, and Judith "Denny" Denham has just begun an affair with Dr. Ernest Wright, a psychology professor at Wellspring University, who just happens to be her boss. But her position in the Wright household is not merely as a mistress. Ernest's wife, Nancy, has taken Denny under her wing as a four-hand piano partner and general confidante, although Denny can never seem to measure up to Anne, Nancy's best friend from back East, either in piano playing skill or general grace. Ernest's eldest son has fled over the Canadian border to escape the draft, while his only daughter has embarked on a secret affair with her father's protege. The remaining son, Ben, is fifteen, and as delicate and insufferable as only a poetry-writing fifteen-year-old can be. That autumn, Denny crosses the freeway that separates Wellspring from its less affluent mirror image, Springwell, to spend Thanksgiving with the Wrights and their assortment of strays, including two honored guests: the eagerly anticipated Anne and Anne's new husband, the novelist Jonah Boyd. The chain of events set in motion that Thanksgiving will change the lives of everyone involved in ways that none can imagine, and that won't become clear for decades to come. Hilarious and scorching, by turns tender and tendentious, David Leavitt's first novel in four years is a tribute to the power of home, the lure of success, the mystery of originality, and, above all, the sisterhood of secretaries. Flawlessly crafted and full of surprises, it is the perfect showcase for this author's considerable skills.


Imprint: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
Country of origin: United Kingdom
Release date: July 2004
Authors: David Leavitt
Dimensions: 210 x 140mm (L x W)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 224
Edition: Export ed
ISBN-13: 978-0-7475-6446-1
Barcode: 9780747564461
Categories: Books > Fiction > General & literary fiction > Modern fiction
LSN: 0-7475-6446-9

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