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Duet
     

Duet

5.0 1
by Kitty Burns Florey
 

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Duet, Kitty Burns Florey's acclaimed fifth novel, is set during the Vietnam years and provides a panoramic view of the 1960s. It’s the story of an aspiring singer named Anna Nolan, and the lonely misfit who's the love of her life, Will Westenberg. The novel follows Anna from her adolescence in a Catholic school in the early 1960s, when the death of a friend

Overview

Duet, Kitty Burns Florey's acclaimed fifth novel, is set during the Vietnam years and provides a panoramic view of the 1960s. It’s the story of an aspiring singer named Anna Nolan, and the lonely misfit who's the love of her life, Will Westenberg. The novel follows Anna from her adolescence in a Catholic school in the early 1960s, when the death of a friend brings her and Will together, through her career as a cabaret singer in Boston, and finally her marriage to an idealistic lawyer in New Haven. Layered between the two parts of Anna's story is Will's, as he struggles with a haunting secret from his past, endures a loveless marriage, and desperately tries to gain custody of his son. As the years go by, Anna and Will encounter each other for brief, overwhelming episodes, each obsessed and preoccupied by the other in different ways, until the book's shattering ending. The novel is about the music, the politics, and the texture of life in the '60s, but mostly it's about the power of love to disrupt and redeem.


About the Author
Kitty Burns Florey is a veteran copyeditor and the author of nine novels and a non-fiction book, Sister Bernadette's Barking Dog: The Quirky History and Lost Art of Diagramming Sentences.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Stealing a march on Dante, Anna Nolan fixes her heart on Will Westenburg in third grade and stands fast thereafter. Although this overlong novel is packed with characters, from Grandma Mamie Nolan, who sings loud but true, to Patty, Anna's precocious stepsister, and although nubile Anna is courted by many beaux, charismatic Will is at the center of the action. This is not always credible, since Will is an alcoholic, ambitionless and underachieving, has impregnated Anna's best friend, who kills herself rather than have an abortion, and disappears after high-school graduation with an older woman whose money and guile persuade him to marry her. Anna meantime studies voice, becomes a nightclub singer and marries her bass player, a thoughtful, attractive, responsible man, who cannot communicate with Anna, since her antennae are trained on Will. He in fact takes over a section of the novel to describe his struggles with drink, his wife's decision to divorce him and his return home, where he encounters Anna again. The foreknowledge of Anna's certain reunion with her lover and its spine-tingling postponements provides tension, diminished somewhat by the crowded canvas and the profusion of episodes. But Florey (Real Life) succeeds in making this story of obsessive love a very appealing tale. (September 30)
Library Journal
Anna Nolan fell in love with Will Westenberg in third grade in Syracuse in the 1950s. And Anna never stopped loving Willthrough her mother's death, Will's high school romance with her best friend Martha, Martha's death (an accident or suicide?), a tender coupling on graduation night, then seven years of the briefest of encounters. Besides Will, only music matters to Anna, and her promising voice brings her modest success as a club singer, while Will, always a poor loner, deals with alcoholism and divorce. So reality intrudes on romanceboth Anna and Will realize, in separate, startling incidents, that the other has lived a separate unknown lifebut music enriches it, as song lyrics threaded through the narrative provide recurring themes and memories. Florey's fifth novel is real, warm, and wonderfully appealing. Michele Leber, Fairfax Cty. P.L., Va.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781935073116
Publisher:
Armory New Media
Publication date:
06/03/2014
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
372
File size:
515 KB

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Kitty Burns Florey is a veteran copyeditor and the author of nine novels and a non-fiction book, Sister Bernadette's Barking Dog: The Quirky History and Lost Art of Diagramming Sentences.

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Duet 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
oldjayroad More than 1 year ago
I read this book when it first came out and remember totally enjoying it--feeling like I was Anna, loving Will. The scenes are artfully written, the emotional content true and strong. It made me feel not alone, like a good book can do. At the time it reminded me of Anne Tyler's work, but I don't know if I'd still think that--I'll have to read it again, in ebook format this time. DUET is a good introduction to the work of this author. Other favorites by Florey: CHEZ CORDELIA, REAL LIFE, and SOLOS. Settle into these books and enjoy them; to read Florey is to have a satisfyingly good time, without leaving your brain behind.