In the Language of Love: A Novel in 100 Chapters

Overview

Joanna has been brought up to believe that if she does the right thing, happiness will be hers. Now, she is coming to understand that life is determined as much by chance as by careful control. If only she can be assured of loving and of being loved. But the love she finds is more than the romance she dreamed about as a girl. It is the guilty but savored passion of an affair with a married man, the poignant caring for an aging father, the visceral bonding between mother and child. Held in an intricate web of ...
See more details below
Available through our Marketplace sellers.
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (29) from $1.99   
  • New (1) from $8.95   
  • Used (28) from $1.99   
Close
Sort by
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any BN.com coupons and promotions
$8.95
Seller since 2005

Feedback rating:

(283)

Condition:

New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.

New
1996 Hard cover First edition. American ed. New in new dust jacket. Clean and tight-unused copy-Excellent! ! Sewn binding. Paper over boards. With dust jacket. 368 p. Audience: ... General/trade. Read more Show Less

Ships from: Wauwatosa, WI

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Close
Sort by
Sending request ...

Overview

Joanna has been brought up to believe that if she does the right thing, happiness will be hers. Now, she is coming to understand that life is determined as much by chance as by careful control. If only she can be assured of loving and of being loved. But the love she finds is more than the romance she dreamed about as a girl. It is the guilty but savored passion of an affair with a married man, the poignant caring for an aging father, the visceral bonding between mother and child. Held in an intricate web of emotion, she must understand and encompass it as a woman, a lover, a wife and a mother. Diane Schoemperlen has written an astonishing and inventive first novel of a young woman's progress of love, from childhood to adulthood. Employing the 100 stimulus words from the Standard Word Association Test as her narrative framework, Schoemperlen interweaves, in a series of short but brilliant chapters, the defining moments of Joanna's life.

Already compared to Carol Shields and Margaret Atwood, and poised on the edge of international acclaim for her short stories, Schoemperlen presents her first novel--a penetrating lexicon of the heart; a witty, wise, and compassionate collage of one life's defining moments.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Kate Moses

In 1910, the American Journal of Insanity published the dubious Kent-Rosanoff Word Association Test, used by its authors to assess the sanity of those who responded to a list of 100 seemingly innocuous words -- butterfly, citizen, short, carpet, square, etc. In her ingenious, resonant first novel, the Canadian writer Diane Schoemperlen takes those same 100 words as chapter titles to create a structure for the life of a woman named Joanna.

If "average" means as uncelebrated as most of us, Joanna is an average person. She is imaginative, optimistic, occasionally plagued by "nerve-racking dreams of disgrace and forgetting," respectful to her parents (who don't understand her), a good citizen and a diligent housekeeper, a loyal girlfriend and dutiful wife, a tender mother and an interested cook. She's also secretly vain, uncertain, had a passionate affair with a married man in her youth, wonders why she still feels bad about herself since her childhood wasn't traumatic, is indiscriminately angry at her aging father, and sometimes inexplicably rigid with or resentful of her mild, supportive husband.

Schoemperlen has taken on the banal particulate of the everyday to question what words like "life" and "love" really signify. Why is it, Schoemperlen's heroine wonders, that she can recall every ugly detail of her mother's brown plaid dishes, but when her own baby is born, "what she does not, cannot, will never be able to remember, is exactly how she feels at that moment of first cradling between her sore breasts his small head"?

Despite all of her bafflement, Joanna is sometimes surprised to find herself face to face with happiness and a real life that started without announcing itself. Her grateful, fleeting recognition of the gravity of her life is as close as any of us will ever get to knowing what we're all doing here, and that is what Schoemperlen reminds us of -- gently, genuinely, and very, very quietly. -- Salon

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Joanna is a collage artist, an appropriate calling for the protagonist of one of the finest montages of language to head south from Canada since Margaret Atwood's Surfacing. In her first novel, Schoemperlen (author of The Man of My Dreams, 1990, and three other story collections) has taken 100 words from the 1910 Kent-Rosanoff Word Association Test and used each as a chapter title. The result is an elegant pastiche of forms that conveys-in non-chronological free-association-the story of Joanna's everywoman life. Unlike Joanna, who ``begins to see her life in sections... so that [except for her parents] none of the characters from one stage leak forward into the next,'' the narrative bleeds across time: one chapter tells of all the houses Joanna has lived in or has wanted with the three loves of her life. These men are Henry, a guitar-playing truck driver; Lewis, her married lover, an artist who compartmentalized well enough to work on several paintings at once; and Gordon, the man she married. Most poignant, however, perhaps are the vignettes with Joanna's father and son. Widower Clarence seems to take his bitter wife's death as ``the end of possibility''; Joanna's young son, Samuel, filters word and meaning with the same nimble clarity as his mother. With this novel, Schoemperlen triumphantly establishes her literary credentials. 25,000 first printing; $25,000 ad/promo; author tour. (Feb.)
Library Journal
Using chapter titles like "River," "Wish," "Sleep," "Short," "Comfort," and 94 other stimulus words from a common word association as a springboard, Schoemperlen tells the story of Joanna, from her childhood as the daughter of a bitter, angry mother and a quiet resigned father to her love affairs, marriage, and motherhood. Joanna discovers that her early ideas of romance fade in the reality of a passionate relationship with a married man, the complicated feelings of guilt and sorrow as she watches her father age, and her intense love for her son. A marvelously evocative writing style that will resonate with most readers overcomes the novel's one real weakness-of all the characters only Joanna is truly three-dimensional; the others are seen in profile, as they relate to Joanna's life. Still, if we judge by this first novel, which was shortlisted for the 1994 Books in Canada/Smithbooks First Novel Award, Schoemperlen has the right stuff to join the list of other Canadian writers such as Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro, and Carol Shields. Recommended for most public libraries.-Nancy Pearl, Washington Center for the Book, Seattle
Donna Seaman
Schoemperlen, a Canadian writer renowned for her short stories, has made the leap from story to novel by combining the two in a dynamic narrative as notable for its clever and original structure as for its emotional resonance. Schoemperlen uses 100 words from a 1910 word association test, words like "table, dark, loud, ocean, anger," as seeds for chapters that quickly flower into breathtakingly intricate vignettes on all the vagaries and marvels of love. Each unexpected "word association" grants us a glimpse into the life of a young woman named Joanna, from her rather stifling childhood with her furious mother and suppressed father to her relationships with men, including a "romance" with a married man, and her delight, ultimately, in her own marriage and in motherhood. Joanna is a collage artist, and her recycling and recombining of images plays in rich counterpoint to the author's own improvisational twists upon these "official" words. In each perfectly composed chapter, Schoemperlen takes off from the modest launchpad of these seemingly simple concepts, soaring away in wholly unexpected directions. And we follow, thrilled by her quicksilver prose, warm humor, sexiness, precision, and tenderness.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780670865178
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/23/1996
  • Edition description: 1st American ed
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 9.36 (w) x 6.32 (h) x 1.16 (d)

Meet the Author

Diane Schoemperlen is the author of Our Lady of the Lost and Found; In the Language of Love; and five short story collections, including Forms of Devotion, which won the Governor General's Award for Fiction in 1998; and The Man of My Dreams, which was nominated for a Governor General's Award and a Trillium Award.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)