Number We End Up With

Overview

A tragicomic novel about fading love and sudden death, falling for the wrong guy and forgiving your father-all over the course of one fateful summer

"When the man you love leaves you, a portion of your soul may wander into the bastions of hell, sift through the flames, run amok with the devil, and pray he dies. I know mine did." Anjou Lovett was conceived under a pear tree one half-moon night in August 1965. Not much in her life has been quite as poetic since. Her father left ...

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Overview

A tragicomic novel about fading love and sudden death, falling for the wrong guy and forgiving your father-all over the course of one fateful summer

"When the man you love leaves you, a portion of your soul may wander into the bastions of hell, sift through the flames, run amok with the devil, and pray he dies. I know mine did." Anjou Lovett was conceived under a pear tree one half-moon night in August 1965. Not much in her life has been quite as poetic since. Her father left five weeks before sister Stella was born and returns only to set in motion a pattern of coming and going that would define their family. With this sad, sordid history behind her, the thirty-two-year-old Anjou is unprepared for the entrance of handsome, successful Alex into her life. But after two near-idyllic years together, he too comes home one day and says, "We need to talk about us." What follows is this emotionally honest, imaginative story of a woman confronting the demons of her past and the absurdities of her present. With Goldner's light and "uncommonly perceptive"(New York Times Book Review) touch, The Number We End Up With is both a page-turner and literary exploration of the power of forgiveness.

Author Biography: Beth Goldner lives in Narbeth, Pennsylvania. Her debut collection of stories, Wake, was published in 2003. This is her first novel.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A grieving accountant in Philadelphia becomes a loopy U.S. Census enumerator in Goldner's charming, mournful first novel, following her collection of stories, Wake. Right after the death of her married and philandering boyfriend, Quinn, who walked out on her just before he was hit by a car in downtown Philly, Anjou Lovett is fired from her job as a forensic accountant and gets a temporary Census Bureau position knocking door-to-door in her suburban neighborhood of Glyn Neath. Single, 32-year-old Anjou is an obsessive-compulsive counter, and she is unraveling after the death of Quinn, whose desertion forces her to revisit the bigamous treachery of her own father when she and her sister, Stella, were growing up. Bringing her grief more than her training in the scrutiny of taxes to bear on census gathering, Anjou begins to ask wildly inappropriate questions of her neighbors completing the forms. ("Is it possible to be in love with more than one person at the same time?") Meanwhile, she begins the healing process by making tentative contact with her father, as well as with the woman Quinn left her for shortly before he died. With the house-to-house gathering of census forms, Goldner provides the novel with an elegant structure and pace, and in Anjou, she has created a touching, modern character, rife with contradictory desires. Agent, Noah Lukeman. (July) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A notable first novel by Goldner (stories: Wake, 2003) takes up the depressed plight of a Philadelphia census taker obsessed with asking questions. Before linguistics-professor Quinn, her boyfriend of three years, up and left her for an older widow named Grace, and then got hit by a car while reading Proust, Anjou Lovett was a well-adjusted and even contented tax accountant living with Quinn in her stately own house in the idyllic Philadelphia hamlet of Glyn Neath. Yet the death of Quinn, who was handsome and chronically unfaithful, reminds Anjou (conceived under a pear tree in 1965) of the nagging family drama in her own past she can no longer ignore: her father walked in and out on her mother's life while he was loving another woman. Anjou, at 35, has never forgiven her father for his desertion of her and her younger sister, Stella, until Quinn's perfidy (and untimely death) prompts her to seek answers to questions she always meant to ask. Getting fired from her accounting job and securing work roaming her neighborhood completing forms for the U.S. Census is her perverse attempt at finding emotional recourse. The questions she puts to her neighbors, however, become increasingly more bizarre, such as whether they have cheated on their spouse ("I wanted to dispel my own notion that men are the natural cheaters in relationships," she explains), and whether they have ever wished somebody they love would die. Troubling questions, indeed, and Anjou is eventually reported to her manager and her job terminated. But at her sensible, married sister Stella's urging, Anjou begins to make overtures at rapprochement with her father, then with Grace, both of whom she presents with a list of questionsshe urgently needs answered. What should she do with the information that Grace never loved Quinn in the first place?Goldner's neurotic list-maker narrator is also endearing, in a debut with emotional resonance. Heartfelt, interior work.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781582432700
  • Publisher: Counterpoint Press
  • Publication date: 7/4/2005
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.55 (h) x 1.00 (d)

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