Herb's Pajamas [NOOK Book]

Overview

With her own special brand of delicate, elliptical, and humorous fiction, Abigail Thomas offers another extraordinary visit with people she knows far better than they know themselves. There's Walter, newly abandoned by his wife; there's Edith, a fiftyish virgin; there's Bunny, taking care of her mother and her mother's boyfriend; and there's Belle, whose married lover dies in the hallway wearing her dead husband Herb's pajama top. Blindly, they encounter one another in ways the reader recognizes are profound even...
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Herb's Pajamas

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Overview

With her own special brand of delicate, elliptical, and humorous fiction, Abigail Thomas offers another extraordinary visit with people she knows far better than they know themselves. There's Walter, newly abandoned by his wife; there's Edith, a fiftyish virgin; there's Bunny, taking care of her mother and her mother's boyfriend; and there's Belle, whose married lover dies in the hallway wearing her dead husband Herb's pajama top. Blindly, they encounter one another in ways the reader recognizes are profound even as the characters themselves are unaware. The genius and the art in this collection derives from the possibility that these ships might actually find each other by daylight. If only these four could get together--they'd be so good for each other. "Written with an expert touch, and a wise and tender sensibility. The effect is subtle, strong, and comic."--Charles Baxter, author of BELIEVERS and BURNING DOWN THE HOUSE; "It's hard to think she is capable of writing anything that isn't immediately engaging and a joy to read. Probably someone should publish her shopping lists."--Elizabeth Berg, author of TALK BEFORE SLEEP. A BOOK-OF-THE-MONTH CLUB SELECTION
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The four lonely Upper East Siders who inhabit this muted but moving collection of related short stories have each lost something and want it back. Middle-aged Walter's wife has left him, and he can't come to terms with her desire merely to be his friend. Edith, "a trembly maiden of 52" who has never seen a man naked, yearns to connect but doesn't know how, while her neighbor, the widowed, aging Belle, finds her own lover, "the sweetest man who ever lived," dead in the kitchen and must dispose of his body. The most appealing character is the protagonist of "Bunny's Sister," a gently drawn account of a 14-year-old's journey to find her runaway sibling, who disappeared one day after announcing: "I'm smoke." Along the way, we gradually come to understand that Bunny has known all along how her journey will end, and that makes her sadness sharper for the reader. Although the carefully chronicled minor events that make up these stories don't always amount to much on their own, Thomas has a way with details that makes for endings as bittersweet as her beginnings.
Chicago Tribune
Compassion peppered with wit.
Florida Times-Union
Wryly funny...bittersweet, nostalgic.
NY Times Book Review
Blends tears and laughter.
San Diego Union-Tribune
Writing that reads like a visit, writing that drives you to little throat noises, to shouts, to laughing your head off and not necessarily because something is funny.
Boston Book Review
[An] air of heartbreaking reality.
Arizona Republic
A fresh, deceptively light touch.
Valerie Miner
[Thomas'] prose reveals the wry wordliness of a person who has zig-zagged through several lives, and the spare, exact knowledge of someone who spent one of those lives as a book editor pruning other people's literary orchards. -- The Women's Review of Books
Barbara Quick
Fittingly enough, the scenes in this puzzle depict the solitary lives of people looking to connect -- of New Yorkers in search of lost love. -- The New York Times Book Review
Kirkus Reviews
A curiously uneven gathering of four very loosely linked stories. Thomas (An Actual Life), who specializes in romantic and familial conflict, has been compared to Anne Tyler, but her knowing portraits of terminally lonely people more closely resemble Dorothy Parker's (albeit with the acid content considerably diluted). She's perfected a crisp, forthright style featuring simple declarative sentences punctuated by summary single words or brief phrases. She has a keen eye for such salient details as "the hot-hair smell of a little girl" and the sight of an insomniac househusband eating cornflakes at three a.m., hugging in bed a nightgown abandoned by the wife who has also abandoned him. The latter is the protagonist of "Walter's Book," the strong opening story about a middle-aged New York textbook editor settling unhappily into the knowledge that he'll spend the rest of his life by himself. It's followed by "Edith's Wardrobe," the tale of a fiftyish virgin (the sort of character Estelle Parsons plays to perfection) left on her own after the death of her famous mother. Edith and Walter pass on the street, but never meet. Even more tenuously connected to its companions is "Bunny's Sister," an overwritten and borderline-maudlin piece about a teenage runaway. Better linked, but still inconsequential, is the anecdotal title story, in which Edith helps an adulterous neighbor move the body of her married lover, who's died after a heart attack. The recurring plot elements here (yard sales; outcast children sleeping in cars) suggest that these "stories" were perhaps pieces of a novel that wouldn't come together. Whatever. Herb's Pajamas is a disappointing whole that comes to muchless than the sum of its parts.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781565127494
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
  • Publication date: 6/17/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 212
  • Sales rank: 382,633
  • File size: 2 MB

Table of Contents

Walter's Book 1
Edith's Wardrobe 45
Hats 47
Negligee 53
Gloves 62
Handkerchiefs 66
Fur Coat 72
Leopard-Skin Skirt 82
Totes 87
Fig Leaf 91
Sunglasses 94
Shoes 96
Shopping Bag 109
Birthday Suit 111
Underwear 113
No Pocketbook 120
Bunny's Sister 123
Herb's Pajamas 189
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 3 )
Rating Distribution

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(2)

4 Star

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3 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2014

    Coalspark

    "Oops! My mistake. It was res 3."

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2014

    To lizzi

    Go bacl to lover place

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2007

    Utterly boring

    This book is divided into 4 short stories. The first one was sad yet believable, the second one was silly and mildly belivable and had very creative section titles. The third story was utterly boring and the author lost me. With just pages left to go in the entire book I gave up as I did not care about what was going to happen to the character(s). The author failed to develop her characters completely to make them seem believable and to have her readers care about them too. The storylines were lacking as well.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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