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Hotline Heaven

Overview

The romance of a middle-aged couple who meet on a suicide hotline. The caller is Jo, a baker of cakes who is thinking of killing herself, while the man who takes her call is crisis volunteer Monk, a stock car driver. Lots of ups and downs.

The romance of a middle-aged couple who meet on a suicide hotline. The caller is Jo, a baker of cakes who is thinking of killing herself, while the man who takes her call is crisis volunteer Monk,...

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1998-07 Hardcover First Edition New Hardcover with dust jacket. Stated First Edition. 1st printing (no later printings indicated). No markings. Ships from NYC.

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Overview

The romance of a middle-aged couple who meet on a suicide hotline. The caller is Jo, a baker of cakes who is thinking of killing herself, while the man who takes her call is crisis volunteer Monk, a stock car driver. Lots of ups and downs.

The romance of a middle-aged couple who meet on a suicide hotline. The caller is Jo, a baker of cakes who is thinking of killing herself, while the man who takes her call is crisis volunteer Monk, a stock car driver. Lots of ups and downs.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Grieving over the loss of his young son, Monk Miller volunteers at a crisis hotline and ends up marrying one of his regular callers, a woman named Jo, the narrator of this slim tale of an awkward domestic arrangement. Five years later, Monk and Jo are happy, more or less. Jo is working in a bakery; Monk is a low-level manager for Home-Mart, a chain that supplies home repair materials. When the couple buys a house, Jo makes friends with the previous owner, an elderly widower named Clyde. Although Jo is pleased with Clyde's frequent presence at the table as cake sampler and raconteur, Monk has little compassion for anyone but himself. As Monk struggles with corporate bureaucracy, Jo cares for the increasingly needy Clyde, relives painful memories from her childhood and attempts to bake the perfect cake. Monk's growing dissatisfaction with his career becomes all-encompassing, until he gets the promotion he wants, restoring his self-confidence and bringing new hope for the marriage. Although the dynamic between Jo and Monk is the foundation of the book, the relationship between Jo and Clyde is the only one with any life--and it is cut short when Monk reclaims his conjugal rights by throwing Clyde out of the house, an abrupt end to an unrealized, sentimental novella. (July)
Dougher-Telcik
I find obsessions fascinating, which is one of the reasons I loved Hotline Heaven, Frances Park's deut novel . . . .[T]his book's all about -- dilemmas, obsessions and writing so rich, you can smell the coffee, taste the cakes, feel the weight of depression and the joy of escaping it. -- City Link
Kirkus Reviews
Lumpish fiction debut by the owner of a D.C. chocolate shop detailing the lives of a middle-aged couple who meet via a suicide prevention hotline and continue to struggle against a nagging desire to end it all. Jo's woes began when her father committed suicide when Jo was only six and her mother wrapped herself in an impenetrable blanket of denial. Having cared for her mother until her death from cancer, then having moved into the basement of her married sister's home, Jo began the long march to age 40 as a self-loathing 'old troll.' That is, until she called the Hotline Heaven suicide prevention number and found Monk on the other end. A divorced former stock-car racer still grieving over the death of his young son, Monk turns out to have a knack for relieving Jo's pain. The two arrange a meeting, fall in love at first sight, marry, and eventually settle down in tiny Canterbury, Pennsylvania. "Happily ever after" proves not to be a phrase in their emotional vocabularies, however: Even as Monk is promoted twice by his employer, a home improvement chain called Home-Mart, and even as Jo finds a satisfying creative outlet as baker at The Cake & Coffee, depression stalks them both. When Monk is fired from his job, he runs his car into a ditch; his near-death experience convinces him there's no life after death and therefore no reason for hope in this one. When The Cake & Coffee is singled out for a feature article in Hearthstone, the pressure on Jo to create a cake good enough to grace the magazine's cover takes the pleasure out of baking for her. Husband and wife suffer through this rough patch, empathetic yet too wounded to help each other. It takes a new job offer and a perfect caketo life their spirits, allowing these two aging lovers to stagger through another year. Park strives for lyricism in depicting the lives of this more-or-less average small-town couple, but too often her prose dissolves into sentimental murk.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781579620110
  • Publisher: Permanent Press, The
  • Publication date: 7/28/1998
  • Pages: 144
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Frances Park
FRANCES PARK and GINGER PARK are the authors of several award-winning books for children. The idea for The Have a Good Day Cafe originated many years ago when the authors would drive to work together and see a Korean family setting up an outdoor food cart each morning. The Parks both live in the Washington, D.C., area.
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