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The Museum of Happiness
     

The Museum of Happiness

by Jesse Lee Kercheval
 

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"After her husband’s sudden death, Ginny Gillespie travels with his ashes to Paris, where she meets and falls in love with Roland Keppi, a strange, visionary man without a country. Their dreamlike affair is disrupted when Roland vanishes, deported to a German camp for people without identity papers. But coincidences, dreams, and visions eventually

Overview

"After her husband’s sudden death, Ginny Gillespie travels with his ashes to Paris, where she meets and falls in love with Roland Keppi, a strange, visionary man without a country. Their dreamlike affair is disrupted when Roland vanishes, deported to a German camp for people without identity papers. But coincidences, dreams, and visions eventually reunite them with the promise of a bright future. Set primarily in France between the world wars, the narrative moves easily between the present and the past and among Ginny, Roland, and the important people in their lives. These intertwining stories raise questions of fate and the meaning of family, identity, and happiness."—Library Journal

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Kercheval's ( The Dogeater ) first novel moves, rather like a warmer-hearted version of an Almodovar movie, through the ups and downs of two people of passion: Ginny Gillespie, a 20-year-old American widow feeling her oats in Paris of 1929, and Roland Keppi, an Alsatian-German victim of misfortune trying, like Ginny, to fit together the stray pieces of his identity. They meet by chance in the capital city; fall in love; survive a very trying separation; and are reunited magically and marvelously. But to say so doesn't describe the brisk, fanciful aplomb of the writing, which takes us on an adventure full of trans-Atlantic incongruities without getting lost. Kercheval's talents are many--a delicate sense of the visual; robustly realistic dialogue; a tragic and comic imagination--but the most impressive may be her narrative balance, sustained throughout many diversions in the plot. Her balance is thematic, too, gathering together distinctly different elements: the personal and the political, wit and earnestness, the force of death and that of life. Her cinematic brio in constructing scenes could be the envy of a filmmaker; her appreciation of character is deep, large, sharp. (Nov.)
Library Journal
After her husband's sudden death, Ginny Gillespie travels with his ashes to Paris, where she meets and falls in love with Roland Keppi, a strange, visionary man without a country. Their dreamlike affair is disrupted when Roland vanishes, deported to a German camp for people without identity papers. But coincidences, dreams, and visions eventually reunite them with the promise of a bright future. Set primarily in France between the world wars, the narrative moves easily between the present and the past and among Ginny, Roland, and the important people in their lives. These intertwining stories raise questions of fate and the meaning of family, identity, and happiness. Full of gentle, quirky characters and a rich sense of place, this first novel by the author of The Dogeater: Stories (Univ. of Missouri Pr., 1987) is a delight.-- Barbara E. Kemp, Lib. Applications Specialist, Reston, Va.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780299187347
Publisher:
University of Wisconsin Press
Publication date:
03/28/2003
Series:
Library of American Fiction Series
Edition description:
1
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author

Jesse Lee Kercheval is the Sally Meade Hands Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she directs the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing and codirects the Program in Creative Writing. Her memoir, Space, won the Alex Award from the American Library Association. She is also the author of a novel, The Museum of Happiness; two collections of poems, Dog Angel and World as Dictionary; and a story collection, The Dogeater, which won the Associated Writing Programs Award in Short Fiction.

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