Abbeville

Abbeville

4.6 3
by Jack Fuller
     
 

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Until the dot.com bubble burst, George Bailey never gave much thought to why his grandfather seemed so happy.

But then George’s wealth vanished, rocking his self-confidence, threatening his family’s security and making his adolescent son’s difficult life even more painful. Returning to the little Central Illinois farm town of Abbeville, where… See more details below

Overview

Until the dot.com bubble burst, George Bailey never gave much thought to why his grandfather seemed so happy.

But then George’s wealth vanished, rocking his self-confidence, threatening his family’s security and making his adolescent son’s difficult life even more painful. Returning to the little Central Illinois farm town of Abbeville, where his grandfather had prospered and then fallen into ruin, flattened during the Depression, George seeks out the details of this remarkable man’s rise, fall, and spiritual rebirth, hoping he might find a way to recover himself.

Abbeville sweeps through the history of late-19th through early-21st century America—among loggers stripping the North Woods bare, at the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893, with French soldiers at the Battle of Verdun, into the abyss of the Depression, and finally toward the new millennium’s own nightmares. At the same time it examines life at its most intimate. How can one hold onto meaning amidst the brutally indifferent cycles of war and peace, flood and drought, boom and bust, life and death?

In clean, evocative prose that reveals the complexity of people’s moral and spiritual lives, Fuller tells the simple story of a man riding the crests and chasms of the 20th century, struggling through personal grief, war, and material failure to find a place where the spirit may repose. An American story about rediscovering where we’ve been and how we’ve come to be who we are today, Abbeville tells the tale of the world in small, of one man’s pilgrimage to come to terms with himself while learning to embrace the world around him.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial writer Fuller (Fragments) delivers a resonant, intricate saga of the multigenerational Bailey/Schumpeter family of Abbeville, a farming community in central Illinois. Karl Schumpeter goes to work as a clerk at his uncle's logging outfit before moving at the end of the 19th century to cosmopolitan Chicago to deal in grain futures. Once married, young Karl returns to Abbeville and prospers as an entrepreneur and banker. Almost 40 at the outbreak of WWI, Karl oddly travels to France to serve in the ambulance corps (showing shades of Hemingway, another Illinoisan). Later, after Black Tuesday, Karl's illegal loans to friends and family land him in prison. Impoverished and humiliated, Karl eventually returns home to Abbeville and the shell of his former life. Years later, Karl's grandson, George Bailey, loses his livelihood in the dot-com bust and searches for meaning and strength by examining Karl's earlier travails. However, the dot-com bust pales when juxtaposed to the 1929 crash. The tales of the past generations feel more compelling and immediate. Fuller's a talented writer, and his gifts are on full display when chronicling Karl's life and times. (June)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

Drawing loosely on the life of his grandfather, Fuller-a Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial writer who has authored several novels-traces the story of Karl Schumpeter from the late 19th through the mid-20th century. From humble German farmer stock, Karl is taken under the wing of his uncle, first working for his logging operation, then for the Chicago Board of Trade. He has a brief romance with the streetwise Luella before returning to his hometown of Abbeville to marry his childhood sweetheart, Cristina. During the course of the novel, Karl makes and loses a fortune and discovers life's true value. There is a framing story involving Karl's grandson that isn't particularly well integrated into the rest of the plot, and many of the characters, particularly Karl and Cristina, don't really come to life until the book's concluding chapters. But the book has some true things to say about very American ideas of manhood and success and the relationships among fathers, sons, brothers, grandfathers, and grandsons. Recommended for public libraries.
—Christine DeZelar-Tiedman

From the Publisher

“Sweeping and kind-hearted, steeped in the author's underlying respect for those who choose to rise above the battering ram of unstoppable events.”—The Chicago Tribune

"A wonderful novel. Abbeville put me in mind of Theodore Dreiser at his most tender, far-seeing, and astute. I hope it finds the widest possible audience."—Ward Just

“In this deceptively simple Midwestern-set tale, we discover the universal threads that connect us. What’s important in life? How do we find it? Will we know it when we see it? Fuller’s control is such that he brings us there so easily, we don’t even know we’ve been brought. Abbeville is a gentle masterwork.”—January Magazine

“Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial writer Fuller (Fragments) delivers a resonant, intricate saga of the multigenerational Bailey/Schumpeter family of Abbeville, a farming community in central Illinois. ..Fuller's a talented writer.”—Publishers Weekly

“Drawing loosely on the life of his grandfather, Fuller—a Pulitzer Prize–winning editorial writer who has authored several novels—traces the story of Karl Schumpeter from the late 19th through the mid-20th century…During the course of the novel, Karl makes and loses a fortune and discovers life’s true value…the book has some true things to say about very American ideas of manhood and success and the relationships among fathers, sons, brothers, grandfathers, and grandsons.”—Library Journal

"In his new novel, Abbeville, Jack Fuller once again brilliantly illuminates how it is that smart, decent, striving, flawed people wrestle with the essential issues of modern life and with the powerful forces of culture and family that have shaped their attitudes and are seeming to drive their fate. If you don’t know the extraordinary creative work of Jack Fuller, this is a perfect place for you to begin. He has long been snug in the palm of the handful of America’s best novelists, though too often overlooked there. By all the righteous stars of serious culture, Abbeville will bring Fuller the wide literary acclaim and audience he richly deserves." —Robert Olen Butler

"Abbeville is wonderful, an evocative and involving tale about the meanings of success and failure across the generations and the values that unite a family through time. A terrific novel."—Scott Turow

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781936071036
Publisher:
Unbridled Books
Publication date:
09/01/2009
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
490,794
File size:
2 MB

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