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Gerald's Party
     

Gerald's Party

by Robert Coover
 

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Robert Coover's wicked and surreally comic novel takes place at a chilling, ribald, and absolutely fascinating party. Amid the drunken guests, a woman turns up murdered on the living room floor. Around the corpse, one of several the evening produces, Gerald's party goes on — a chatter of voices, names, faces, overheard gags, rounds of storytelling, and a

Overview

Robert Coover's wicked and surreally comic novel takes place at a chilling, ribald, and absolutely fascinating party. Amid the drunken guests, a woman turns up murdered on the living room floor. Around the corpse, one of several the evening produces, Gerald's party goes on — a chatter of voices, names, faces, overheard gags, rounds of storytelling, and a mounting curve of desire. What Coover has in store for his guests (besides an evening gone mad) is part murder mystery, part British parlor drama, and part sly and dazzling meditation on time, theater, and love.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The latest work by the author of The Public Burning is a less-than-inspired story. It is set during the course of a single evening, at a party given by a fellow named Gerald. The guests, a curious lot, include a frustrated artist, a young lady determined to discover the joys of sex, a retired couple who are devoted tourists, and a kittenish actress who is found stabbed to death on the living room floor. Before the end of this seemingly interminable evening, three more guests lose their lives and several others are wounded in various ways. As his wife (apparently oblivious to the violence that is soaking her home and guests with blood) serves a steady stream of hors d'oeuvres, Gerald flirts with an attractive woman and recalls his past sexual exploits, especially with the dead actress. Fragments of conversation reveal the guests' views on love, life and theater. Despite occasional flashes of wit, Coover's nightmarish tale amounts to very little. January 102
Library Journal
``We have the past, we have the future,'' muses Gerald, ``but what we never seem to be able to get ahold of is the present.'' In this major novel, Coover and his narrator mean to invoke the present, and to suggest again the illusory nature of the other states. Our host's evening starts off with the corpse of a promiscuous minor actress, and an anticipated affair for him. But a parodic police inspector, a few more deaths, a blocked toilet, and a director out to make a play of corpse and motley guests keep things moving in improbable directions that dovetail with ideas on theater, time, and love. The secret of Coover's art is amazing juxtapositionof philosophy, scatology, disparate conversations, acts, memories, and metaphorical inventionall powered by the author's enormous verbal energies. Despite a humorous first impression, this isn't an easy book to enter. But it has ``the power of play to provoke unexpected insights, . . . excite the heart . . . and perhaps persuade that, after all, there's no time like the present. . . .'' Jeff Clark, SUNY Coll. at Old Westbury Lib.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802135285
Publisher:
Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date:
09/28/1997
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
796,509
Product dimensions:
5.47(w) x 8.22(h) x 0.82(d)

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