Hard Laughter

( 2 )

Overview

Anne Lamott's poignant first novel, reissued in an attractive new edition.

Writer (and sometime housecleaner) Jennifer is twenty-three when her beloved father, Wallace, is diagnosed with a brain tumor. This catastrophic discovery sets off Anne Lamott's unexpectedly sweet and funny first novel, which is made dramatic not so much by Wallace's illness as by the emotional wake it sweeps under Jen and her brothers, self-contained Ben and feckless, lovable Randy. With characteristic ...

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Overview

Anne Lamott's poignant first novel, reissued in an attractive new edition.

Writer (and sometime housecleaner) Jennifer is twenty-three when her beloved father, Wallace, is diagnosed with a brain tumor. This catastrophic discovery sets off Anne Lamott's unexpectedly sweet and funny first novel, which is made dramatic not so much by Wallace's illness as by the emotional wake it sweeps under Jen and her brothers, self-contained Ben and feckless, lovable Randy. With characteristic affection and accuracy, Lamott sketches this offbeat family and their nearest and dearest as they draw ever closer in the intimacy Jen prizes "among the other estimable things: good music, good hard laughter, good sex, good industry, and good books."

The author's first novel is set in a small Northern California town of trust-fund radicals, dream consultants, and average folks named Aurora, Zapata, and Karma.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The appeal of this book is . . . that it has much to say about how a good family works . . . in times both hard and easy . . . It's a moving and strangely joyful book, a kind of celebration, and it's written with an assurance far beyond the reach of most first novelists."--Anne Tyler, The New York Times Book Review

"If love is details, so is storytelling, and Anne Lamott excels at it. Her way with analogy, metaphor, and evocative detail is subtle; her ability to shift from the specific to the general to the specific again, superb."--Suzanne Mantell, The Nation

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780865472808
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 4/15/1979
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 653,947
  • Product dimensions: 5.53 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.82 (d)

Meet the Author

Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott is the author of five novels and two works of nonfiction, Operating Instructions and Bird by Bird. She lives in Northern California.

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    1. Hometown:
      Fairfax, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 30, 1953
    2. Place of Birth:
      San Francisco, California
    1. Education:
      Attended Goucher College in Maryland before dropping out to write

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 2.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 10, 2014

    I love reading Anne Lamott's works. This book is not my favorite

    I love reading Anne Lamott's works. This book is not my favorite; maybe it's the subject matter. It's hard to laugh when times are tough; and that is the point of this book. Having someone close to you with the diagnosis of cancer is difficult; how to stay positive and to live life to the fullest, and yet be sensitive to the "icky" stuff, and acutely aware of a possible pending death sentence sooner than later.

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  • Posted June 23, 2014

    I read another book by this author and really liked it, so when

    I read another book by this author and really liked it, so when I saw this book at a tag sale, I snatched it up. Sadly, this one just doesn't seem to hold my attention. The narrator in the story is just too messed up and I while I get the general idea that she and her two brothers are working through their fears and grief for their father with laughter and jokes, I just keep wanting to shake this woman and tell her to grow up. She constantly peppers her narrative with mini stories about all sorts of odd people that live in her town and who appear to be burned out on drugs and alcohol. For that matter, there is no explanation as to how this woman is able to own or rent a cabin, keep her home stocked with alcohol and weed, and apparently pay her bills on $16 a week. None of it makes sense. I just cannot identify with this character. This is one of Ann Lamott's earlier works, so I think she has gotten a lot better over time. 

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