Recessional

Recessional

3.5 4
by James A. Michener
     
 

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Set in the Palms, a Florida retirement center, Recessional follows several residents over the course of a year as their individual narratives - humorous, moving, or sometimes triumphant - unfold. Chris Mallory reluctantly relinquishes his driver's license at the age of ninety, but refuses to hang up his dancing shoes. The Palm's five self-appointed elders, all once… See more details below

Overview

Set in the Palms, a Florida retirement center, Recessional follows several residents over the course of a year as their individual narratives - humorous, moving, or sometimes triumphant - unfold. Chris Mallory reluctantly relinquishes his driver's license at the age of ninety, but refuses to hang up his dancing shoes. The Palm's five self-appointed elders, all once outstanding in their respective careers, hotly debate current affairs and plot a daring flying adventure; Laura Oliphant, former head of a private school for girls, never stops learning and never stops educating others, especially about the natural wonders of Florida; and Reverend Helen Quade, the Palms's unofficial pastor, finds an unexpected romance. We meet, too, the families of some of the Palms's residents - among them an independent, unconventional young woman who owes her success to the aunt who encouraged her always to follow her own instincts; and the devoted children of one resident who grapple with difficult decisions about their elderly mother's final days. When they are confronted with any important question that affects their closely knit community, the Palms residents band together and offer the new director, Andy Zorn, both their support and their suggestions.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The veteran author's extended exploration of the world of geriatrics is an up and down affair, alternating inspiring episodes with clich-ridden narratives. Andy Zorn, a young doctor running from a past scandal, has been hired by geriatric mogul John Taggart to revitalize the Palms, a Tampa retirement community that's fallen into a minor malaise of both profits and morale. Michener sets up his usual labyrinthine sprawl of secondary characters, but what's missing is the unique sense of place that's driven his best works in the past. This time, Michener applies his research to the ravages of old age that plague the Palms' population, but the level of detail often seems unnecessary for the story he's telling. Some episodes and characters are touching: the tale of a seemingly mismatched couple in which the husband cares for the wife after she contracts Alzheimer's; a series of stories about four elder statesmen in the home who conspire to build and fly an airplane; and the saga of a widow who must make some difficult decisions after a biopsy for breast cancer. On the negative side, the romantic subplot between Zorn and a handicapped woman whom he rescues after a car accident reads like fodder for a bad TV movie; the doctor's efforts to provide care for an AIDS patient outside the home have similar problems with realism-the worst offense being a series of passages told from the perspective of a rattlesnake. It's obvious that Michener, who turns 87 this year, finds his subject engaging-but there's not quite enough inspiration here to place this with his top-shelf work. Major ad/promo; Random House Audiobook. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Unjust malpractice suits have driven Andy Zorn, M.D., from obstetrics, and he begins a new life as director of a retirement community, The Palms, more than a thousand miles away from his Chicago home. The Palms offers well-off retirees comfortable apartments as well as nursing home and hospice facilities if the need arises. Andy's main job is to turn this place into a moneymaking proposition for its wealthy owner. Predictably, the staff and most of the residents have a story to tell. This novel shows Michener at his worst: long-winded and stultifying. Implausible characters abound, and the background research is shallow at best. In the case of a resident who discovers she has breast cancer, the author's simplistic explanation is misleading. Nevertheless, the author is well known, and major publicity will result in plenty of demand. Buy accordingly. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/15/94.]-Patricia Altner, Dept. of Defense Lib., Bolling Air Force Base, Washington, D.C.
From the Publisher
“The best moments in the novel occur when the characters disclose what’s in their hearts and minds with rueful, snappy humor.”The New York Times Book Review
 
“Michener hooks you with wonderfully humorous scenes. These are then interwoven between the moments of pain and heartache brought about by life choices we all must make.”Tulsa World
 
“Engaging . . . One will be drawn into the novelist’s world. . . . The lush natural setting provides James Michener plenty to show and tell.”The Washington Times

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780679436126
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/27/1994
Edition description:
1st trade ed
Pages:
400
Product dimensions:
6.69(w) x 9.45(h) x (d)

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