The Names of the Mountains: A Novel

The Names of the Mountains: A Novel

by Reeve Lindbergh

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The author, the youngest child of Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh, has earned a solid reputation chiefly on the basis of her adult nonfiction ( The View from the Kingdom ) and her children's books ( The Day the Goose Got Loose ); this exceptionally perceptive, graceful novel, her second, should win her distinction as a first-rate stylist and storyteller. Clearly autobiographical and narrated by Lindbergh's fictional counterpart, Cressida, it describes the dynamics of the phenomenally famous but publicity-shy Linley family (parents Cal and Alicia are legendary aviators and writers). The five siblings, presented in adulthood but with their shared childhood glimpsed through Cressida's reminiscences, all cope with the ghost of their oldest brother, kidnapped and killed before they were born; with their parents' paradoxical attitudes toward their role in history; and, urgently, with the deteriorating memory of their aging, long-widowed mother. Lindbergh manages to be at once revealing and respectful; far from an expose, her book is filled with insight and affection. Cressida, for example, recalls her father's claim that his children never listened to him: ``He seemed surprised and amused when he said this, as if our attitude was unique in his experience, as perhaps it was.'' This view of the reclusive Lindberghs would be noteworthy even had it come from a pedestrian writer--instead, this author's writing would be noteworthy even had she come from a pedestrian family. (Dec.)
Library Journal
In this autobiographical novel, author Lindbergh ( Moving to the Country, LJ 9/1/83), the daughter of Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh, details the private legacy of her parents' fame and the intricate relationships of adult siblings. The unsettling memory lapses of Alicia Linley, 80-year-old widow of famous pilot Cal Linley, bring her children together for one weekend to face the consequences of her aging and to renew their bonds. Told from the perspective of the youngest daughter, Cressida, the story intertwines memories of the past with events of the present. Lindbergh gently and perceptively unfolds this complex family history, revealing no great scandals or resentments but instead the dignity of her family in the face of personal tragedies and triumphs. Recommended for most fiction collections. Also reviewed in this issue are Dorothy Herrmann's Anne Morrow Lindbergh: A Gift for Life and Joyce Milton's Loss of Eden: A Biography of Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh , both p. 83.--Ed.-- Jan Blodgett, St. Mary's Cty. Records Ctr. & Archives, Leonardtown, Md.
Lindsay Throm
The responsibility of caring for elderly parents is often a burden, but Cressida Linley thinks it is particularly grueling when those parents are famous and their difficulties are of interest to the public. Like Reeve Lindbergh herself, who's the daughter of Anne Morrow and Charles Lindbergh, the narrator of this novel is the child of famous parents, and when her mother begins to suffer loss of memory, Cressida considers this new situation, as she has considered most things in her life, in the light of fame. This event sends her on a journey through her memory during which she gauges the impact of fame upon each event in the family's history, a history that includes the loss of two children. Family relations are often difficult, and in this story the narrator shares how being watched can complicate things further.

Product Details

Simon & Schuster
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.88(w) x 8.74(h) x 0.86(d)

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