The History of Now [NOOK Book]


In this story of destiny and history colliding in a fictional New England town. Blending the present-day story with tidbits from Grandville history, Klein brings the town vividly to life. 
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The History of Now

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In this story of destiny and history colliding in a fictional New England town. Blending the present-day story with tidbits from Grandville history, Klein brings the town vividly to life. 
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
“A charming philosophical lesson in this story of destiny and history colliding in a fictional New England town. Blending the present-day story with tidbits from Grandville history, Klein brings the town vividly to life. As the drama unfolds, the actors remind us that destiny is writ in history.”
Kirkus Reviews
“How the past influences what follows, and how self-understanding inspires broader comprehension of all things: These are the themes of this gently philosophical family chronicle. Klein channels his inner Thornton Wilder in this piecemeal history of a New England village (Grandville, Mass.), which combines the family-album features of Our Town with the inconclusive fatalism of The Bridge of San Luis Rey."
Book List
“This is one of those novels you sink into, like a familiar and comfortable chair. Klein writes in clear, precise language, crafting characters who reveal themselves gradually, telling a small-town story that will resonate with every reader, even the big city types. This story is written in the present tense, with the author/narrator occasionally speaking directly to the reader—a device that feels just right. In fact, everything about the novel, from its cast to its setting to its
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Product Details

  • BN ID: 2940013742758
  • Publisher: The Permanent Press
  • Publication date: 1/12/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 296
  • File size: 458 KB

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 24, 2009

    A Small-Town Novel That Asks Big Questions

    Daniel Klein's novel, The History of Now, is an ingenious philosophical examination of cause and effect and, at the same time, an engaging story of a small-town family. That Klein manages to execute both premises successfully is impressive indeed. The New England village of Grandville has been the home of generations of the deVries family; Wendell, who never wanted to leave the projection booth of the theater-turned-cinema, his daughter Franny, a doubt-ridden artist, and his granddaughter Lila, whose lack of ambition is truly impressive. Klein dips far into the family's past (as far back as the 1600s in The Netherlands) to examine the causes of the current situation and to ask the question, "What is now?" If events are shaped by causes and produce effects, which are in turn causes to other effects (and so on), then is 'now' the current moment or does it encompass all the causes that came before and the effects that will come after?

    For those less interested in the philosophical bent, the small-town/family drama that unfolds has more than enough to hold the reader's attention. Wendell, whose disastrous marriage has left him alone (except for his dog, a charming character) and clinging to the movie house of his childhood, begins to open up and find love again. At the same time, his daughter, Franny, is headed toward a breakdown as she obsesses over the unjustness of the war in Iraq and struggles to bring meaning to a vapid community theater production. As if that weren't enough, his granddaughter, Lila, is smoking pot and seems to have lost direction. When Lila shows interest in her roots (by way of a revelation that Grandville was once home to a black family named deVries), Wendell is delighted to investigate. An unrelated (for the moment) storyline brings Hector, a young Colombian, closer to Grandville. Klein has woven these plots (and subplots involving other Grandville residents) into a graceful picture of a small town, the past that has shaped it, and the events that continue to unfold with glimpses into its future.

    A couple of jarring notes: Hector's story pulled me out of Grandville. It's obvious that he will be important in shaping Grandville events, but since his perspective is left out once he reaches Grandville, I really felt the payoff for being pulled out of the story wasn't worth it. In addition, the war in Iraq was a bit intrusive. I think it's very difficult to work current events into a novel, and while some references (Franny's protest group) are central to the plot, the references became a bit too much. And since the war isn't even over, they are already outdated (with criticism of a former President). However, neither of these is enough to lower my rating by more than a half-star. This is an excellent read that combines philosophy with small-town quirks and the search for meaning.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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