Cousins

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1992 Hardcover New jacket First Edition. First Edition, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1991, New Hardcover with dust jacket, clean, tight, unmarked, (Fine with Fine Dust Jacket), ... -JP All orders are shipped by kbooks every business day. Read more Show Less

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Poet Jiles ( Blackwater ), on a trip home from Canada to the Missouri Ozarks, has a romance with Jim Johnson, a married retired army officer and Vietnam vet. Despite their political disagreements (she's a dove, he's a hawk), Johnson leaves his wife to travel with Jiles across the U.S. South on a pilgrimage to find and interview the author's cousins on her father's side. Jiles successfully brings their love affair to life, recounting mutual passion as well as fiery arguments with spirit and wit. Woven throughout the travel anecdotes are interesting verbatim interviews with Jiles's cousins, who unravel family mysteries and give her a new perspective on her background. An inventive memoir combining adventure, introspection and the redemptive power of love between two middle-aged people who revel in their differences. (Feb.)
Library Journal
This is the result of award-wining poet/writer Jiles's seven-month quest to find and interview her cousins, scattered throughout southeast Missouri, the Midwest, and the South, and to rediscover her dead father through her family's memories. Jiles presents her cousins' unadorned narratives, punctuating them with descriptions of her volatile relationship with her traveling companion and lover, Jim Johnson, who is fleeing a messy divorce. The cumulative effect is of being privy to the emergence of a family's mythology. By the book's end, the interviews have merged into a portrait of an American family, a portrait at times superficial but always real, immediate, and true. One might wish for more psychological depth and longer, more probing interviews, or for more of Jiles's own analysis, but the book ultimately succeeds on its own terms. For most public libraries.-- Ellen Finnie Duranceau, MIT Lib.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780394580142
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/3/1992
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Pages: 365

Meet the Author

Paulette Jiles
Paulette Jiles
Acclaimed journalist, award-winning poet, and New York Times-bestselling novelist, Paulette Jiles is a writer who steeps her prose in the places she's called home, from the Missouri Ozarks to the Texas plains.

Biography

Poet, memoirist, and novelist Paulette Jiles was born and raised in the Missouri Ozarks and moved to Canada in 1969 after graduating with a degree in Romance languages from the University of Missouri at Kansas City. She spent eight years as a journalist in Canada, before turning to writing poetry. In 1984, she won the Governor General's Award (Canada's highest literary honor) for Celestial Navigation, a collection of poems lauded by the Toronto Star as "...fiercely interior and ironic, with images that can mow the reader down."

In 1992, Jiles published Cousins, a beguiling memoir that interweaves adventure and romance into a search for her family roots. Ten years later, she made her fiction debut with Enemy Women (2002), the survival story of an 18-year-old woman caged with the criminally insane in a St. Louis prison during the Civil War. Janet Maslin raved in The New York Times, "This is a book with backbone, written with tough, haunting eloquence by an author determined to capture the immediacy of he heroine's wartime odyssey." The book won the Willa Literary Award for Historical Fiction (U.S.) and the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize (Canada).

In her second novel, 2007's Stormy Weather, Jiles mined another rich trove of American history. Set in Texas oil country during the Great Depression, the story traces the lives of four women, a widow and her three daughters, as they struggle to hold farm and family together in a hardscrabble world of dust storms, despair, and deprivation. In its review, The Washington Post praised the author's lyrical prose, citing descriptions that "crackle with excitement." Stormy Weather became the fourth selection in the Barnes & Noble Recommends program.

A dual citizen of the United States and Canada, Jiles currently lives on a ranch near San Antonio, Texas.

Good To Know

Some interesting outtakes from our interview with Jiles:

"When I lived in Nelson, British Columbia, there were three or four of us women who were struggling writers; we were very poor and we had a great deal of fun. We shared writing and money and wine. Woody (Caroline Woodward) had a great, huge Volkswagen bus -- green -- named Greena Garbo. When any of us managed to publish something there were celebrations. It was a wonderful time. They always managed to show up at my place just when I'd baked bread. One time Meagan and Joanie arrived to share with me a horrible dinner they had made of cracked wheat and onions -- we were actually all short of food. I had just made lasagna -- and they ate all of my lasagna and left me with that vile dish of groats and onions. And then we all got married and went in different directions."

"I have a small ranch that keeps me busy -- two horses, a donkey, a cat, a dog, fences, a pasture -- I and spend lots of time preventing erosion, clearing cedar, etc."

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    1. Hometown:
      Southwest Texas
    1. Education:
      B.A. in Romance Languages, University of Missouri

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