The Paper Anniversary

The Paper Anniversary

by Joan Wickersham
     
 

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Jack and Maisie are bright, newly married and miserable. The Paper Anniversary tells the story of their marriage - how it comes about, how it falls apart and how they try painfully to put it back together. Jack has just inherited his family's ailing french fry factory and, after a whirlwind wedding that leaves both their heads spinning, moves back to the Maine town…  See more details below

Overview

Jack and Maisie are bright, newly married and miserable. The Paper Anniversary tells the story of their marriage - how it comes about, how it falls apart and how they try painfully to put it back together. Jack has just inherited his family's ailing french fry factory and, after a whirlwind wedding that leaves both their heads spinning, moves back to the Maine town where he grew up to try to revive the business. Meanwhile, Maisie is mostly living in New York, in her best friend's guest room, pursuing her dream of a "glamorous" literary life. So begins the awkward dance of their commuter marriage: When they get together on weekends, the distance between them only seems greater. They may not make it much past their first anniversary, the paper anniversary - "to hammer home to you," as Maisie says, "that what you've gone through so far is nothing, you haven't earned anything yet." The Paper Anniversary marks the debut of an intensely believable new voice. In this moving portrait of a marriage that matures only when it may be too late, Joan Wickersham gives us a man and a woman as recognizable as our own friends: Maisie, funny, reckless, hard on Jack but ultimately harder on herself, governed by fantasies of what marriage and careers should be like; Jack, responsible, reflective, self-contained, trying to distinguish between what he ought to do and what he wants. Wry and wrenching by turns, but always wonderfully real, The Paper Anniversary is at once a modern comedy of conjugal errors and a sparkling novel with rare insight into the hearts and minds of men and women in love.

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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 - 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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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780671890711
Publisher:
Gallery Books
Publication date:
03/01/1995
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
368
Product dimensions:
5.31(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.90(d)

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