Still Life with Bread Crumbs: A Novel

( 93 )

Overview

A superb love story from the #1 New York Times bestselling author Anna Quindlen

Still Life with Bread Crumbs begins with an imagined gunshot and ends with a new tin roof. Between the two is a wry and knowing portrait of Rebecca Winter, a photographer whose work made her an unlikely heroine for many women. Her career is now descendent, her bank balance shaky, and she has fled the city for the middle of nowhere. There she discovers, in a tree stand with a roofer named Jim Bates, ...

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Still Life with Bread Crumbs: A Novel

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Overview

A superb love story from the #1 New York Times bestselling author Anna Quindlen

Still Life with Bread Crumbs begins with an imagined gunshot and ends with a new tin roof. Between the two is a wry and knowing portrait of Rebecca Winter, a photographer whose work made her an unlikely heroine for many women. Her career is now descendent, her bank balance shaky, and she has fled the city for the middle of nowhere. There she discovers, in a tree stand with a roofer named Jim Bates, that what she sees through a camera lens is not all there is to life.

Brilliantly written, powerfully observed, Still Life with Bread Crumbs is a deeply moving and often very funny story of unexpected love, and a stunningly crafted journey into the life of a woman, her heart, her mind, her days, as she discovers that life is a story with many levels, a story that is longer and more exciting than she ever imagined.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for the novels of Anna Quindlen
 
“Packs an emotional punch . . . Quindlen succeeds at conveying the transience of everyday worries and the never-ending boundaries of a mother’s love.”The Washington Post, about Every Last One
 
“New friends await readers . . . characters you will delight in getting to know and miss once you’ve finished the book.”—St. Louis Post-Dispatch, about Rise and Shine
 
“[Quindlen] writes passionately . . . painstakingly uncovering all the intensity, suspicion and primitive love that bonds mothers and daughters.”The Boston Globe, about One True Thing
 
“A polished gem of a novel . . . lovingly crafted, beautifully written.”—The Miami Herald, about Blessings
 
“Mesmerizing . . . impossible to put down.”—St. Louis Post-Dispatch, about Black and Blue
 
“A small triumph . . . elaborate and playful . . . honest and deeply felt . . . Here is the Quindlen wit, the sharp eye for details of class and manners, the ardent reading of domestic lives.”—The New York Times, about Object Lessons
Library Journal
09/15/2013
Photographer Rebecca Winter was once famed worldwide for images like Still Life with Bread Crumbs, for which she is best known. But now her success has faded, as has her income, and she's sublet her big-city apartment and moved to a cabin in the woods. A need for home repairs leads her to roofer Jim Bates, and by the novel's closing pages she has love, a new view of the world, and a shiny tin roof. Upbeat romance from the socially astute Quindlen; with an eight-city tour.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781480533165
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio
  • Publication date: 11/4/2014
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Sales rank: 253,376
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 5.50 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Anna Quindlen
Anna Quindlen is a novelist and journalist whose work has appeared on fiction, nonfiction, and self-help bestseller lists. She is the author of seven novels: Object Lessons, One True Thing, Black and Blue, Blessings, Rise and Shine, Every Last One, and Still Life with Bread Crumbs. Her memoir Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake, published in 2012, was a number one New York Times bestseller. Her book A Short Guide to a Happy Life has sold more than a million copies. While a columnist at The New York Times she won the Pulitzer Prize and published two collections, Living Out Loud and Thinking Out Loud. Her Newsweek columns were collected in Loud and Clear.

Biography

Anna Quindlen could have settled onto a nice, lofty career plateau in the early 1990s, when she had won a Pulitzer Prize for her New York Times column; but she took an unconventional turn, and achieved a richer result.

Quindlen, the third woman to hold a place among the Times' Op-Ed columnists, had already published two successful collections of her work when she decided to leave the paper in 1995. But it was the two novels she had produced that led her to seek a future beyond her column.

Quindlen had a warm, if not entirely uncritical, reception as a novelist. Her first book, Object Lessons, focused on an Irish American family in suburban New York in the 1960s. It was a bestseller and a Times Notable Book of 1991, but was also criticized for not being as engaging as it could have been. One True Thing, Quindlen's exploration of an ambitious daughter's journey home to take care of her terminally ill mother, was stronger still—a heartbreaker that was made into a movie starring Meryl Streep. But Quindlen's fiction clearly benefited from her decision to leave the Times. Three years after that controversial departure, she earned her best reviews yet with Black and Blue, a chronicle of escape from domestic abuse.

Quindlen's novels are thoughtful explorations centering on women who may not start out strong, but who ultimately find some core within themselves as a result of what happens in the story. Her nonfiction meditations—particularly A Short Guide to a Happy Life and her collection of "Life in the 30s" columns, Living Out Loud—often encourage this same transition, urging others to look within themselves and not get caught up in what society would plan for them. It's an approach Quindlen herself has obviously had success with.

Good To Know

To those who expressed surprise at Quindlen's apparent switch from columnist to novelist, the author points out that her first love was always fiction. She told fans in a Barnes & Noble.com chat, "I really only went into the newspaper business to support my fiction habit, but then discovered, first of all, that I loved reporting for its own sake and, second, that journalism would be invaluable experience for writing novels."

Quindlen joined Newsweek as a columnist in 1999. She began her career at the New York Post in 1974, jumping to the New York Times in 1977.

Quindlen's prowess as a columnist and prescriber of advice has made her a popular pick for commencement addresses, a sideline that ultimately inspired her 2000 title A Short Guide to a Happy Life. Quindlen's message tends to be a combination of stopping to smell the flowers and being true to yourself. Quindlen told students at Mount Holyoke in 1999, "Begin to say no to the Greek chorus that thinks it knows the parameters of a happy life when all it knows is the homogenization of human experience. Listen to that small voice from inside you, that tells you to go another way. George Eliot wrote, 'It is never too late to be what you might have been.' It is never too early, either. And it will make all the difference in the world."

Studying fiction at Barnard with the literary critic Elizabeth Hardwick, Quindlen's senior thesis was a collection of stories, one of which she sold to Seventeen magazine.

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    1. Hometown:
      New York, New York
    1. Date of Birth:
      July 8, 1952
    2. Place of Birth:
      Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    1. Education:
      B.A., Barnard College, 1974
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 93 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(34)

4 Star

(23)

3 Star

(17)

2 Star

(13)

1 Star

(6)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 93 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2014

    Beautifully written story

    It made me think of life as possibilities, with both beginnings and endings as never black or white. It was well written and entertaining and I found meaning, true to life, on every page. Brilliant!

    23 out of 25 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 7, 2014

    I rarely rate the books I am reading or have read.  I make this

    I rarely rate the books I am reading or have read.  I make this an exception.  I found the writing to be beautiful...at times like poetry.  The last time i read a book a second time, it was A Tree Grows in Brooklyn when I was 12.  This book I will read again...Thank you, Anna...

    20 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 8, 2014

    Anna Quindlen is a gifted author.  She understands life and I fi

    Anna Quindlen is a gifted author.  She understands life and I find her writing inspirational.  The writing is so well crafted  and both  meaningful and a fun read.  She just makes you feel better. I will be reading this book many times.

    11 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2014

    Happy Endings

    Written artistically. It is rare to read a book where the narrative style matches the creativity of the characters. Would have given 5 stars if Quindlen had not contrived to let everyone overcome adversity and live "happily ever after".

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 4, 2014

    at 60 life sometimes slows down....gets quiet...while internally

    at 60 life sometimes slows down....gets quiet...while internally there is a constant movement of purpose...of upheaval...a change that becomes necessary...persistent in thought...not physically hurried, but mentally and emotionally looking ahead...as far as you can......for as long as you can live...sometimes with fear, dread, question, concern.....while others around you become smaller, sometimes disappearing..leaving, dying...and leaving behind some hope....some thing that gathers you up and propels you...into the rest of your life.....good for rebecca...for jim...for benji, for sarah, for tad.....for me and for you

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 1, 2014

    Enjoyable book

    I enjoyed this story and Anna Quindlen's style of writing. It was a very enjoyable ready.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 21, 2014

    A good read

    I was a little concerned when I first read some reviews on this book; but bought it anyway. The book takes off a little slow, it does jump back and forth, however keep reading it gets better as it goes, and besides you really want to find out how it all comes out in the end. I would recommend it.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 11, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    So , I agree with Amanda. Why did Jim kill the raccoon? This b

    So , I agree with Amanda.
    Why did Jim kill the raccoon? This book is overrated. It is a lame story with some self-absorbed people who are insensitive to others. Really, how did this book get to be so popular?

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 28, 2014

    Excellent read

    I liked this book a lot - There are so many possibilities in life and this novel by Ms. Quindlen underlines this in a beautifully written way.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 30, 2014

    As with everything else Ms. Quindlen does, the book is well writ

    As with everything else Ms. Quindlen does, the book is well written and plotted.   Am I alone in being tired of novels
    portraying a woman (usually one who is outwardly successful) finding in her sixth or
    seventh decade that her life has  lacked meaning?  That the simple things, usually found in some
    rural setting, are the most important?
    Frankly, I don't see much wrong with the life Rebecca led prior to exiling herself in East of Nowheresville.  
    It seems she has lived her entire life (one, it appears, she freely chose) without being happy.  IMO, authenticity 
    can live anywhere.   I'm really getting tired of being told through fiction that the only reality that matters is
    in someplace back of beyond, with people who live "authentic" lives. What is so inauthentic about living in a city?

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2014

    Highly recommended

    Very good book would recommended it to anyone. Would read more of her books

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2014

    A wonderful, well-written story

    As usual, Anna Quindlen's use of the English language and imagery is beautiful. Her understated development of Rebecca's story is both poignant and amusing. It is a book to be savored.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2014

    Boring

    Not worth your tim

    1 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2014

    excellent as Quindlen always is

    well written

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2014

    Excellent

    Love the epiphanies

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2014

    Still Life with Bread Crumbs Very poorly Written

    I couldn't get past thde first three chapters. I really didn't think it deserved one star but I felt I needed to place a rating down
    Kloe Oregon

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2015

    Well Written

    When I first starting reading the book, my initial reaction was "not another divorced woman who finds romance". There was some of that but it was more about a woman finding her identity and not having to apologize. There was humor and sadness. Good story and so well written.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2015

    OUTSTANDING READ

    THIS IS WELL WRITTEN AND A TERRIFIC STORY. EASY READ, VERY ENJOYABLE. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS AUTHOR AND THIS BOOK.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2014

    Sadly Boring & I'm a Big Fan

    (above says it all)

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2014

    Absorbing, Insightful Book

    I have always been a fan of Anna Quindlen, but this book whose main character is a middle-aged woman trying to re-invent herself and finding a completely different set of values is stunning in its sensitivity. Her decision to rent a remote cabin in a rural community that is equivalent to a foreign country to her brings physical and emotional challenges that she stumbles through very well. Anna Quindlen has written a splendid story that pares life down to its basic best.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 93 Customer Reviews

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