Shadow Play

Overview

"In his quiet cosmic wonderment, Baxter is the equal of John Updike and Anne Tyler at their largest and best."—GQ
Without question Charles Baxter, whose ravishing novel The Feast of Love was a National Book Award finalist, is one of our finest contemporary writers. These two books, set in the Michigan landscape that Baxter has made his own, display his unparalleled gift for revealing the unexpected in everyday life. In the novel Shadow Play, a decent man, having made a "devil's bargain," finds himself on that ...

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Overview

"In his quiet cosmic wonderment, Baxter is the equal of John Updike and Anne Tyler at their largest and best."—GQ
Without question Charles Baxter, whose ravishing novel The Feast of Love was a National Book Award finalist, is one of our finest contemporary writers. These two books, set in the Michigan landscape that Baxter has made his own, display his unparalleled gift for revealing the unexpected in everyday life. In the novel Shadow Play, a decent man, having made a "devil's bargain," finds himself on that precarious border between personal love and social responsibility. Reading group guide included.

His wife does gymnastics and magic tricks. His crazy mother invents her own vocabulary, and his aunt writes her own version of the Bible. Through all this, Wyatt Palmer tries to live a normal life. But when he lures a toxic waste producing chemical plant to his economically depressed town, Wyat discovers he has truly made a deal with the Devil.

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Editorial Reviews

Dallas Morning News
Powerful...an invigorating experience.
Lorrie Moore
Big, moving, rich with life and story. —New York Times Book Review
Michiko Kakutani
We have the satisfaction of having been immersed in a beautifully rendered and fully imagined world. —New York Times
GQ
In his quiet cosmic wonderment, Baxter is the equal of John Updike and Anne Tyler at their largest and best.
Library Journal
In this tale of normalcy mixed with eccentricity and lunacy, Wyatt Palmer's father spends his weekends in the family basement, building incomprehensible model houses and filling a drawer with philosophical notes. After he dies, Wyatt's mother goes off the deep end, making up words and talking to herself. Wyatt is eventually raised by his Aunt Ellen, who is writing a new bible. Although Wyatt has artistic talent, after college he marries and cultivates a super-normal life in his Midwestern hometown, working as an assistant city manager. The outside world invades Wyatt's ``normal'' life when a schoolmate builds a factory that emits toxic fumes inside its own building, which brings about the death of Wyatt's jailbird cousin, Cyril. In the aftermath, Wyatt flees to New York City, where his mother feels at home. Baxter is at his best in his short stories e.g., A Relative Stranger , LJ 8/87; here, he leaves the reader with less than satisfying resolutions. But his odd characters, set in familiar American landscapes and rendered in a fine, controlled style, remain vivid. Recommended for public libraries.-- Harold Augenbraum, Mercantile Lib., New York
Lorrie Moore
"Big, moving, rich with life and story...Baxter has...gone into the ordinary secret places of people -- their moral and emotional quandaries, their typically American circumstances, their burning intelligence, their negotiations with what is trapped, stunted, violent, sustaining, decent or miraculous in their lives." -- The New York Times Book Review
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393322743
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/28/2001
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Charles Baxter

Charles Baxter lives in Minneapolis and teaches at the University of Minnesota.

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    1. Hometown:
      Minneapolis, Minnesota
    1. Date of Birth:
      May 13, 1947
    2. Place of Birth:
      Minneapolis, Minnesota
    1. Education:
      B. A., Macalester College, 1969; Ph.D., State University of New York at Buffalo, 1974
    2. Website:

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