The Monsters of Templeton

The Monsters of Templeton

3.7 164
by Lauren Groff
     
 

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In the wake of a wildly disastrous affair with her married archaeology professor, Willie Upton arrives on the doorstep of her ancestral home in storybook Templeton, New York, looking to hide in the one place to which she swore she'd never come back. As soon as she arrives, though, a prehistoric monster surfaces in Lake Glimmerglass, changing the very fabric of the

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Overview

In the wake of a wildly disastrous affair with her married archaeology professor, Willie Upton arrives on the doorstep of her ancestral home in storybook Templeton, New York, looking to hide in the one place to which she swore she'd never come back. As soon as she arrives, though, a prehistoric monster surfaces in Lake Glimmerglass, changing the very fabric of the town. What's more, Willie's hippie-turned-born-again-Baptist mother, Vi, tells her a secret she's been hiding for nearly thirty years: that Willie's father wasn't the random man from a free-love commune that Vi had led her to imagine, but someone else entirely. Someone from this very town. As Willie puts her archaeological skills to work digging for the truth about her lineage, she discovers that the secrets of her family run deep when past and present blur, dark mysteries come to light, and the shocking truth about more than one monster is revealed.

Editorial Reviews

Denver Post
"Lauren Groff hits a home run in her first at-bat, with a novel that is intriguingly constructed and compulsively readable."
Entertainment Weekly
"Groff's multilayered saga both thrills and delights with poignant, breathtaking prose. A"
San Francisco Chronicle
"THE MONSTERS OF TEMPLETON, a fascinating first novel by Lauren Groff, is a book with joy in its marrow--fabulous."
Stephen King
"Lauren Groff's debut novel, The Monsters of Templeton, is everything a reader might have expected from this gifted writer, and more. Willie is a funny, sexy, plucky heroine; her Mom--a once-upon-a-time hippie who's gone Baptist but not square--is a hoot; her family history is a funhouse through which Willie must wander in order to find her father. Best of all is Templeton, a town that will remind readers of Ray Bradbury at his most magical. There are monsters, murders, bastards, and ne'er-do-wells almost without number. I was sorry to see this rich and wonderful novel come to an end, and there is no higher success than that."
From the Publisher
"Groff's multilayered saga both thrills and delights with poignant, breathtaking prose. A"—Entertainment Weekly"

THE MONSTERS OF TEMPLETON, a fascinating first novel by Lauren Groff, is a book with joy in its marrow—fabulous."—San Francisco Chronicle"

Lauren Groff's debut novel, The Monsters of Templeton, is everything a reader might have expected from this gifted writer, and more. Willie is a funny, sexy, plucky heroine; her Mom—a once-upon-a-time hippie who's gone Baptist but not square—is a hoot; her family history is a funhouse through which Willie must wander in order to find her father. Best of all is Templeton, a town that will remind readers of Ray Bradbury at his most magical. There are monsters, murders, bastards, and ne'er-do-wells almost without number. I was sorry to see this rich and wonderful novel come to an end, and there is no higher success than that."—Stephen King, Entertainment Weekly"

Lauren Groff hits a home run in her first at-bat, with a novel that is intriguingly constructed and compulsively readable."—Denver Post

Publishers Weekly

Groff's tale of a young woman searching for her true identity through old letters, journals and articles is a vivid portrait of the past and present, but Nicole Roberts's delivery is far too stolid and contrived to bring the material to life. As if reading a teleprompter, Roberts sounds more like a news anchor, slightly disconnected from the material and doing her best to make it sound important. At times she races through the story at breakneck pace, at others she reads painfully slow as if reading to a group of uninterested first graders. While her pitch is clear, her tone is almost plastic and fake, making the story so dreary and unimaginative that most listeners will be immediately turned off. Simultaneous release with the Hyperion hardcover (Reviews, Nov. 26, 2007). (Feb.)

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Library Journal

Twenty-eight-year-old Willie Upton has just detonated a promising academic career by her scandalous affair with a married professor. Now pregnant, she slinks home to Templeton, NY, just as an enormous dead monster is pulled from nearby Lake Glimmerglass. There, Willie's mother, a former hippie, admits she has always lied about Willie's paternity and discloses this one clue about her biological father's actual identity: he is a descendant of Judge Marmaduke Temple and currently a prominent member of Templeton. Sound familiar? Pay attention: James Fenimore Cooper is from Cooperstown, NY (as is Groff) and used it as the model for Templeton, NY, setting of The Pioneers. Yes, Groff has daringly used Cooper's Templeton and its inhabitants as the launching pad for Willie's search for her father. Willie takes her mother's clue and pulls on it, following endless strands to get her answer, all the while tormented with indecision about her own pregnancy. Liberally peppered with old photographs, diary entries, letters, and a family tree constantly in need of revision as Willie eliminates one possibility after another spanning more than two centuries of shocking Templeton history, this is an irresistible adventure. Highly recommended.
—Beth E. Andersen

Kirkus Reviews
Cooperstown, N.Y., and its most famous native son provide first-time novelist Groff with much of the grist for this sprawling tale of a young woman searching for her father. In The Pioneers, James Fenimore Cooper rechristened his (and Groff's) hometown as Templeton; she not only adopts the name, but grafts her protagonist onto the family tree of a character from the novel, Judge Marmaduke Temple. Grad student Willie Upton slinks back into Templeton in the summer of 2002 just as the corpse of a mysterious, 50-foot creature surfaces in Lake Glimmerglass. She's had a disastrous affair with a married professor and isn't sure she can go back to Stanford, Willie tells her feisty single mother. Vi, who always claimed not to know which member of her San Francisco commune knocked her up in 1973, has a surprise of her own. In truth, Willie's father lives in Templeton and doesn't even know he has a daughter. Vi won't tell Willie his name, but (implausibly) drops a big hint. Like Vi, Willie's dad is descended from Judge Temple, who apparently scattered illegitimate children across the 18th-century landscape. As Willie hunts through old documents for clues to her parentage, the voices of generations of Templeton residents mingle with those of such archetypal Cooper creations as Natty Bumppo and Chingachgook in a narrative that winds through 250 years of American history. The secrets uncovered include murder, arson, poisonous intra-family rivalries and the exploitation of slaves and Native Americans. The leviathan pulled out of the lake seems less of a monster than some of Templeton's respectable founders. Willie and other contemporary citizens are far nicer; readers will be pleased when the likableheroine meets her father, reconciles with Vi and forms a tentative new relationship with a decent guy. But there seem to be two novels here, and they don't fit together terribly well. Flawed, but commendably ambitious and stuffed with ideas-many of them not well developed, but inspiring hope for a more disciplined second effort from this talented newcomer. Agent: Bill Clegg/William Morris Agency

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781401340926
Publisher:
Hyperion
Publication date:
11/04/2008
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
270,952
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.80(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

Stephen King
Lauren Groff's debut novel, The Monsters of Templeton, is everything a reader might have expected from this gifted writer, and more...Best of all is Templeton, a town that will remind readers of Ray Bradbury at his most magical. There are monsters, murders, bastards, and ne'er-do-wells almost without number. I was sorry to see this rich and wonderful novel come to an end, and there is no higher success than that.
Lauren Belfer
In The Monsters of Templeton, Lauren Groff has crafted a multi-layered story that is boldly inventive and surprising, by turns wistful, elegiac, and sweeping. (Lauren Belfer, author of City of Light)
Lorrie Moore
The Monsters of Templeton is a bold and beautiful hybrid of a book...Lauren Groff is an exciting young novelist, gifted with an elegant prose style and a narrative ambition as deep and as serious as the human mysteries she sets out to explore.

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