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In her first novel, Alther traces the troubled, funny, heartbreaking coming of age of Ginny Babcock Bliss during the l950s and '60s. The daughter of one of the first families in Hullsport, Tennessee, Ginny bounces from one identity to another, adopting the values, politics, lifestyle, even sexual orientation of each new partner. In Kinflicks, Alther reels through the ups and downs of Ginny's life by dividing her narrative into two sequences: Ginny herself narrates the adventures of her past while a third-person narrator takes over to describe her present, when she returns to Hullsport as an adult to care for her dying mother. Mary Cantwell, writing in The New York Times Book Review, called Kinflicks"an almost flawless balance of light and dark, the skittery and the sad." "Ginny is the classic outsider," noted the Saturday Review in a rave review of the book, "and her fine sense of the comic permits the novel to approach a kind of high seriousness...A best-seller? Sure. In the august company of The Catcher in the Rye, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Huck? Yes, indeed."
|Product dimensions:||5.00(w) x 7.70(h) x 1.60(d)|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
'Kinflicks' is a witty and zestful take on the Sixties, basically a Baby Boomer's coming-of-age story but far above the norm in quality. Our heroine hails from little 'Hullsport' (read: Kingsport) Tennessee, goes Up North to a good college, and gets into the Sixties just as they heat up. Of the many virtues of this novel, two stand out to me: (1) Alther narrates the story in a moderate point-of-view, avoiding the twin perils of getting too immersed in the subject or too distant and 'snooty'; and (2) related to this, her lead character's voice (which reflects her personality) is good, clear and steady throughout the book. Alther's literary creation is a 'feminist' in most salutory sense of the work, but this novel doesn't contain the mandatory man-bashing that became so common a few years later. Instead, Alther invokes an avalance of wit and sharp observation that will provoke a healthy nostalgia in the over-40s, a realistic warts-and-all view of that Sixties in the under-40s, and a pretty darn good look at that pivotal decade for young adult readers who pick up the book. Perhaps you know a teen who's 'into' the 1960s?