The Blue Hour: A Novel

Overview

What is the Blue Hour? It's when Father Doesn't Know Best, it's the morning after "Queen for a Day." It's when meltdown threatens a 1950s nuclear family in Meander, Illinois. It's 1959, as America gets ready to say goodbye to Mamie Eisenhower and hello to Jackie Kennedy. In this stunning debut, Elizabeth Evans shines the soft light of dusk on a 1950s family's journey from unquestioning innocence into tragic loss. "Very much a Great American Novel . . . one of those rare novels one finishes with the sense of ...

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1995-01-11 Paperback New 1995 Algonquin Books, 1st edition, softcover, NEW; clean pages, no marks.

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Overview

What is the Blue Hour? It's when Father Doesn't Know Best, it's the morning after "Queen for a Day." It's when meltdown threatens a 1950s nuclear family in Meander, Illinois. It's 1959, as America gets ready to say goodbye to Mamie Eisenhower and hello to Jackie Kennedy. In this stunning debut, Elizabeth Evans shines the soft light of dusk on a 1950s family's journey from unquestioning innocence into tragic loss. "Very much a Great American Novel . . . one of those rare novels one finishes with the sense of having needed to read it."—Washington Post Book World.

It's 1959, a pivotal year in American family life, as Eisenhower leaves office and diet pills are only just beginning. In the tradition of Robb Forman Dew's The Time of Her Life and Jane Smiley's Barn Blind, The Blue Hour brilliantly follows a fifties family's metamorphosis from satisfied and unassuming into something quite different--and utterly tragic.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
With its dead-on evocation of 1959 America, this novel of family transformation proves a diverting first novel from an accomplished short-story writer. Though narrated by Penny Powell as an adult, the story is imbued with the acute sensitivity of Penny the child, who likens her function to that of ventriloquist dummies Mortimer Snerd and Charlie McCarthy. At age 10, Penny moves with her family from tiny Dolores, Ill. (pop. 7000), to ``grand and intimidating'' Meander (pop. 50,000), redolent of the scent from the local slaughterhouse. Her father, Bob, plans to build a door factory with Archie Jones, a down-on-his-luck Welshman who, like all of Bob's previous business partners, will show himself to be a snake in the grass. Meanwhile, her mother, Dotty, once accomplished and attractive, labors under Bob's view of her as crippled, fat, silly and a bad driver. Moving into an impressive custom-built house, Dotty falls under the sway of sophisticated neighbors and is propelled by French lessons, diet pills and hair bleach toward regained selfhood-and tragedy, as Bob's fortunes spiral downward. (Sept.)
Library Journal
Set in 1950s middle America, Evans's first novel unfurls the story of a typical but tragic family, using the affecting, engrossing viewpoint of its younger daughter. Almost fiercely sensitive and empathetic, Penny Powell, ten at the time of the story and an adult at the time of its telling, watches her hapless entrepreneurial father, her devoted but changing mother, her newly adolescent sister, and their exotic new acquaintances. A move from small-town Illinois to the comparatively large and plush city of Meander and a trusted but fated new business venture for Penny's father provide the backdrop and impetus for a bittersweet, detail-rich domestic drama. Penny's real-life readerly contemporaries will appreciate the tangible evocation of recent American culture. A fine selection for general fiction collections.-Janet Ingraham, Worthington P.L., Ohio
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781565121249
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
  • Publication date: 1/28/1995
  • Series: Front Porch Paperback Ser.
  • Pages: 358
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 6.94 (h) x 1.00 (d)

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