Very Old Bones

Very Old Bones

by William Kennedy
     
 

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For William Kennedy fans, Albany conjures up a tapestry of great beauty and complexity in which the lives of an Irish American family are woven. Earlier Albany novels, including Ironweed, a Pulitzer Prize-winner, whetted our appetites. Now Very Old Bones treats us to one last look at the odd and turbulent Phelans, circa 1958. Stretching the

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Overview

For William Kennedy fans, Albany conjures up a tapestry of great beauty and complexity in which the lives of an Irish American family are woven. Earlier Albany novels, including Ironweed, a Pulitzer Prize-winner, whetted our appetites. Now Very Old Bones treats us to one last look at the odd and turbulent Phelans, circa 1958. Stretching the boundaries of life as the Phelans know it, this powerful work flows back and forth in time, riding on the melody of its language. Its great theme is the promise of redemption for those who seek it.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This return to the pleasures of Kennedy's Albany cycle ( Billy Phelan's Greatest Game ; Ironweed ; etc.) is especially welcome after the comparative disappointment of Quinn's Book . The Pulitzer Prize winner is back in form with a complex but beautifully shaped saga revolving around the elderly scapegrace artist Peter Phelan's unveiling of a masterly series of paintings based on a 19th-century family tragedy. The event takes place at a rare get-together of the scattered and embittered Phelan-Quinn clan. Ancient loves are remembered, old passions rekindled and touching but never cloying reconciliations won--all seen through the eyes of Orson Purcell, Peter's bastard son, a confused writer who has fallen more than once into madness. Kennedy's crisp Irish American dialogue is a joy; his characters, particularly the sardonic Billy, the ravaged and virginal Sarah and the solid but endlessly surprising Molly, are brilliantly realized; and Orson's bursts of madness bring vivid gleams of fantasy. Bones offers the rare pleasure of a novel written with high literary skill that is a sometimes moving, often funny and always persuasive read. First serial to Playboy and Esquire; BOMC and QPB alternates. (Apr.)
Library Journal
``The past is the present,'' says O'Neill's Mary Tyrone in Long Days Journey Into Night , a theory that the Pulitzer Prize-winning Kennedy adheres to. In relating ``this cautionary tale of diseased self contemplation,'' the author uses Orson Purcell, the bastard son of artist Peter Phelan, to carry on his Roman fleuve of Albany, New York's Phelan clan. Building his tale around a family gathering in 1958, Purcell relates his own life story as well as episodes in the history of each family member, both living and dead, who struggle to overcome their collective and individual pasts to embrace a brighter future. Though not a genuine masterpiece like Ironweed ( LJ 12/1/82), this book is still moving, sometimes bleak and difficult but often humorous, much like the lives of the Phelans themselves. The Phelans can claim a place beside O'Neill's Tyrones and Steinbeck's Joads as one of the premier families of American literature who endure and, one hopes, prevail. If you think the great books are no longer being written, reading William Kennedy will change your mind. Highly recommended.-- Michael Rogers, ``Library Journal''

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780140138986
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
04/28/1993
Series:
Albany Cycle, #5
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
916,248
Product dimensions:
5.04(w) x 7.72(h) x 0.77(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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