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The Paper Anniversary

The Paper Anniversary

by Joan Wickersham

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The depiction of a young couple's troubled marriage in this wry, candid and often beguiling first novel depends more on accrued detail than controlled plot and character development. Maisie and Jack Eldridge's first (paper) anniversary has been particularly difficult: Maisie is working in a menial publishing job in New York, Jack has returned to Maine to manage the family french fry business following the death of his father. Although it is Maisie who asks for an informal separation, it is Jack who lands the first serious and rewarding extramarital romance. When Maisie wants to return to the security of her marriage, it is all but over in Jack's heart. Although they do eventually grow more mature during their awkward dance-around separation/reunion, lovers and family are bruised in the process. Uneven pacing is a problem here: after the slow motion ping-pong of the first three quarters of the novel, the plot erupts with surprises, but they seem gratuitous and artificial. Wickersham, whose short fiction has appeared in The Best American Short Stories , has keen powers of observation: the locals' pronunciation of Jack's hometown (Champs du Soleil) as ``ShamDOOsly,'' for example. Most significantly, however, her tolerance and compassionate understanding of her characters' faults and foibles gives her novel a distinctive voice. 25,000 first printing. (Apr.)
Library Journal
Maisie marries Jack, a Ph.D. candidate in German literature. Prince turns to frog, however, when Jack abandons academia to become CEO of his deceased father's ailing French-fry factory in far northern Maine. Reckless Maisie takes a job in Manhattan. Young husband and wife become strangers to each other. Can this commuter marriage be saved? Readers will suffer for both characters, who alternately toss out and take back their love for each other. Wickersham excels at revealing the complex, paradoxical emotions of a marriage in turmoil. One chapter of this memorable first novel appeared in both The Best American Short Stories 1990 and The Graywolf Annual Eight .-- Keddy Ann Outlaw, Harris Cty. P.L., Houston

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Gallery Books
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5.31(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.90(d)

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