Kinflicks

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Overview

In her first novel, Alther traces the troubled, funny, heartbreaking coming of age of Ginny Babcock Bliss during the l950s and '60s. The daughter of one of the first families in Hullsport, Tennessee, Ginny bounces from one identity to another, adopting the values, politics, lifestyle, even sexual orientation of each new partner. In Kinflicks, Alther reels through the ups and downs of Ginny's life by dividing her narrative into two sequences: Ginny herself narrates the adventures of her past while a third-person ...
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Kinflicks

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Overview

In her first novel, Alther traces the troubled, funny, heartbreaking coming of age of Ginny Babcock Bliss during the l950s and '60s. The daughter of one of the first families in Hullsport, Tennessee, Ginny bounces from one identity to another, adopting the values, politics, lifestyle, even sexual orientation of each new partner. In Kinflicks, Alther reels through the ups and downs of Ginny's life by dividing her narrative into two sequences: Ginny herself narrates the adventures of her past while a third-person narrator takes over to describe her present, when she returns to Hullsport as an adult to care for her dying mother. Mary Cantwell, writing in The New York Times Book Review, called Kinflicks"an almost flawless balance of light and dark, the skittery and the sad." "Ginny is the classic outsider," noted the Saturday Review in a rave review of the book, "and her fine sense of the comic permits the novel to approach a kind of high seriousness...A best-seller? Sure. In the august company of The Catcher in the Rye, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Huck? Yes, indeed."
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Editorial Reviews

Doris Lessing
"I very much like this book, am sure Alther will be recognized as a strong, salty, original talent. Is the word I am looking for balanced? She does fuse qualities, being robustly desparing, tenaciously critical, yet vigorously creative, grim but comical -- she had me laughing at four in the morning. No man could have written it, but it is very far from being "a woman's book", and it made me wonder what Tom Jones would be like, written now. It is the size and scope of the territory Alther claims which is impressive. -Doris Lessing
New Yorker
An ambitious, funny, lucid, and unfailingly honest novel...No other writer has yet synthesized (the coming of age in the 60's) as well as Ms. Alther has! -New Yorker, 3/29/76
Harper's Magazine
So continuously funny that its wisdom takes you by surprise...We are in the presence of a most powerful and remarkable talent. -Alice Adams, Harper's, 5/76
Doris Grumbach
An extraordinary first novel.... Funny with the touchmark of acute, aching, poignant reality... the most marvelously described teens, adolescent mores and attitudes, sex and sensibilities since Salinger took us on Holden Caulfield's journey... Ginny is the classic outsider and her fine sense of the comic permits the novel to approach a kind of high seriousness... In the august company of The Catcher in the Rye, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and Huck? Yes, indeed. -- Saturday Review, 3/20/76
John Leonard
Amazing... a very funny book... about serious matters, full of people one would like to meet, and oddly invigorating. The tone of voice throughout is a tone that has been missing in American fiction for years -- the speech of breezy survivors, of Holden Caulfield, Augie March, and ultimately Huck Finn. -- New York Times book Review, 3/14/76
Christopher Lehmann-Haupt
Composed of an adolescence of small-town suffocation, an education of Ivy League respectability, a dropout into lesbian communalism and then a copout into matrimonial conventionality, Ginny's life promises to be the progress of a 1960's pilgrim with all the resoluteness of a cork on a stormy ocean... At the very end, when Ginny at long last takes serious stand, we not only respect her position but we also finally take seriously all the clowning that led up to it. And feel thankful to Lisa Alther for a rewarding reading experience. -- New York Times, 3/16/76
Alice Adams
"So continuously funny that its wisdom takes you by surprise....we are in the presence of a most powerful and remarkable talent." -- Harpers
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780451119858
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/1/1977
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 5.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2001

    2 Good 2 Be 4 Got 10

    'Kinflicks' is a witty and zestful take on the Sixties, basically a Baby Boomer's coming-of-age story but far above the norm in quality. Our heroine hails from little 'Hullsport' (read: Kingsport) Tennessee, goes Up North to a good college, and gets into the Sixties just as they heat up. Of the many virtues of this novel, two stand out to me: (1) Alther narrates the story in a moderate point-of-view, avoiding the twin perils of getting too immersed in the subject or too distant and 'snooty'; and (2) related to this, her lead character's voice (which reflects her personality) is good, clear and steady throughout the book. Alther's literary creation is a 'feminist' in most salutory sense of the work, but this novel doesn't contain the mandatory man-bashing that became so common a few years later. Instead, Alther invokes an avalance of wit and sharp observation that will provoke a healthy nostalgia in the over-40s, a realistic warts-and-all view of that Sixties in the under-40s, and a pretty darn good look at that pivotal decade for young adult readers who pick up the book. Perhaps you know a teen who's 'into' the 1960s?

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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