A Summons to Memphis

( 2 )

Overview

One of the most celebrated novels of its time, the Pulitzer Prize winner A Summons to Memphis introduces the Carver family, natives of Nashville, residents, with the exception of Phillip, of Memphis, Tennessee.

During the twilight of a Sunday afternoon in March, New York book editor Phillip Carver receives an urgent phone call from each of his older, unmarried sisters. They plead with Phillip to help avert their widower father's impending remarriage to a younger woman. Hesitant ...

See more details below
Paperback
$12.77
BN.com price
(Save 14%)$14.95 List Price
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (57) from $1.99   
  • New (11) from $5.70   
  • Used (46) from $1.99   
Sending request ...

Overview

One of the most celebrated novels of its time, the Pulitzer Prize winner A Summons to Memphis introduces the Carver family, natives of Nashville, residents, with the exception of Phillip, of Memphis, Tennessee.

During the twilight of a Sunday afternoon in March, New York book editor Phillip Carver receives an urgent phone call from each of his older, unmarried sisters. They plead with Phillip to help avert their widower father's impending remarriage to a younger woman. Hesitant to get embroiled in a family drama, he reluctantly agrees to go back south, only to discover the true motivation behing his sisters' concern. While there, Phillip is forced to confront his domineering siblings, a controlling patriarch, and flood of memories from this troubled past.

Peter Taylor is one of the masters of Southern literature, whose work stands in the company of Eudora Walty, James Agee, and Walker Percy. In A Summons to Memphis, he composed a richly evocative story of revenge, resolution, and redemption, and gave us a classic work of American literature.

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1986, A Summons to Memphis is "a delicious novel . . . funny, touching."--Newsweek. After two phone calls from his sisters, Philip Carver reluctantly leaves his Manhattan home and returns to Memphis . . . and into his own past as well.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"We finish the novel feeling we've not only come to know his characters, but also come to share their inner truths." --Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

"A beautiful ironic novel. Peter Taylor's fiction is full of rewards." --The New York Times Book Review

"A Summons to Memphis is like a leisurely port wine sipped slowly and with pleasure beneath a blackjack oak." --The Philadelphia Inquirer

"Something of a miracle.... [A Summons to Memphis] is a work that manages to summarize and embody its author's entire career." --The Washington Post Book World

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
It seems amazing that only now has Taylorwell advanced in a life that seems as measured as his lucid prosedelivered himself of a second novel. It has been as well worth waiting for as a treasure uncovered after years of searching. As in his celebrated short stories, Taylor here offers a reconstruction of an earlier era in a distinctively Southern settinga closely knit society permeated by inflexible codes of conduct whose consequences reach through the generations. This is the story of the Carver family, formerly of Nashville, whose move to Memphis was the result of the father's betrayal by his best friend and major legal client. Phillip Carver, the narrator, tells of the events that followed from that move, in which his autocratic father destroyed the lives of his wife and all four of his children. The circumstances are affected by the particular milieu of Memphis, just a few hundred miles away from Nashville, but having its own accents of speech, social hierarchy, customs and patterns of behavioreven a certain style of dressing. Taylor conveys these characteristics in the same way that he evokes personality: with an accretion of detail built on sensitive and sympathetic observation. As the novel unfolds, what seems a simple story becomes weighted with psychological nuances, revealed as layer after layer of family secrets is stripped away. In a beautifully constructed symmetry, events come full circle; the revelation of paternal hubris also unmasks treachery and festering resentment and fully illuminates the tragedy of hopes dashed and young lives wasted. Through a final, wrenching irony, Phillip eventually comes to understand the wellsprings of his father's character, and he is able to achieve empathy and forgiveness. Master raconteur Taylor casts implicationsfar wider than his novel's settingabout the insidious undercurrents in family relationships. This is a wise book, and despite its deliberate understatement, a profoundly affecting one. (October 6)
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375701177
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/28/1999
  • Series: Vintage International Series
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 126,647
  • Product dimensions: 5.18 (w) x 7.95 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter Taylor was born in Tennessee in 1917. He was the author of seven books of stories, including The Collected Stories of Peter Taylor, A Long Fourth, In the Miro District and Other Stories and The Old Forest and Other Stories (which won the Pen/Faulkner Award for fiction in 1985); three novels including A Summons to Memphis (which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1987); and three books of plays. Mr. Taylor taught at Harvard University, the University of North Carolina, and Kenyon College, from which he graduated in 1940. Before his death in 1994, he was Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of Virginia.
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 2 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 30, 2009

    A tidy, uninteresting read

    I have had this book on my shelf since the late 90s. I started the book on multiple occassions only to get side-tracked or to lose interest. A native Memphian, I was always intrigued by this set up of opposites: Memphis and Nashville. I always liked to think Memphis far superior...so I was disappointed to find that the place, as frequently as it was referred to, was not really all that important to the story, other than the author's transplantation there becomes his chief, life-long obstacle. Anyway, spoiler alert...he lives in NY, stays in NY and imagines himself eventally dissolving there. I guess the story is realistic, but in a very banal, unimaginative way that doesn't really make it worth being on the other end as reader. I found A Summons to Memphis redundant so much so that you expect when approaching the climax of the book for there to be a stark revelation. Indeed there was not.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2005

    not what i expected

    Book was more of an inspection of the mores of a controlling father and his times and culture and the attempts at intervention by his two daughters. My only reason for giving it only 4 stars is because it took 50-60 pages to 'get into it'.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)