Laura Rider's Masterpiece

Laura Rider's Masterpiece

by Jane Hamilton
3.2 15

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Laura Rider's Masterpiece by Jane Hamilton

Laura and Charlie Rider have been married for twelve years. They share their nursery business in rural Wisconsin, their love for their animals, and their zeal for storytelling. Although Charlie's enthusiasm in the bedroom has worn Laura out, although she no longer sleeps with him, they are happy enough going along in their routine.

Jenna Faroli is the host of a popular radio show, and in Laura's mind is "the single most famous person in the Town of Dover." When Jenna happens to cross Charlie's path one day, and they begin an e-mail correspondence, Laura cannot resist using Charlie to try out her new writing skills. Together, Laura and Charlie craft florid, strangely intimate messages that entice Jenna in an unexpected way. The "project" quickly spins out of control. The lines between Laura's words and Charlie's feelings are blurred and complicated, Jenna is transformed in ways that deeply disturb her, and Laura is transformed in her mind's eye into an artist. The transformations are hilarious and poignant, and for Laura Rider, beyond her wildest expectations.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780446551243
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: 04/09/2009
Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 719,095
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Jane Hamilton is the author of The Book of Ruth, winner of the PEN/Hemingway Award for first fiction, and A Map of the World, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and named one of the top ten books of the year by Entertainment Weekly, Publishers Weekly, the Miami Herald, and People. Both The Book of Ruth and A Map of the World have been selections of Oprah's Book Club. Her following work, The Short History of a Prince, was a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 1998, her novel Disobedience was published in 2000, and her last novel When Madeline Was Young was a Washington Post Best Book of 2006. She lives in and writes in an orchard farmhouse in Wisconsin.

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Laura Rider's Masterpiece 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
ellarogue More than 1 year ago
Laura and Charlie Rider own and run Prairie Wind Farm in rural Wisconsin, with Laura ruling and delegating, and Charlie obliging along. While she is planting and pruning, Laura Rider listens to Jenna Faroli of the famous Jenna Faroli Radio Show and dreams of writing a romance novel. She envisions Jenna simultaneously as a teacher, a confidante, and the heroine of her book. Charlie's chance encounter with Jenna on the side of the road is the turning point, and Laura sees it as a chance to understand what makes Jenna tick. Together, Charlie and Laura begin corresponding with Jenna via e-mails that are at first friendly, but become increasingly intimate. Jenna's interest is at first a surprise, but pretty soon they are all crossing lines they never thought they'd cross. I ran through a gamut of feelings while reading Laura Rider's Masterpiece by Jane Hamilton. My initial thoughts were that the characters were just weird, plain and simple. There were too introspective, too I-believe-in-aliens-and-think-my-cats-have-human-like-lives. Delving deeper into the book, I became interested as to how their lives would turn out, as to how they would ever escape their self-made messes. Finally, I thought of how unlikeable the characters were. Usually, there is at least one that I sympathize with or root for; Laura Rider's Masterpiece had none. All were either manipulative and selfish, or aloof and out of touch with reality, or hypocritical and arrogant. That said I did enjoy the book, and more so after the first twenty pages. At first it was almost too dreamy too be enjoyable, but it eventually moved along into an interesting look at the characters' motivations. Each was scheming to reach his or her objective, and I do not believe anyone actually did.
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KrisPA More than 1 year ago
This is an odd book. I almost threw it on the floor and gave up on it, but instead kept reading. I really didn't care for any of the characters except Charlie. He may not have been highly educated or cultured, but I liked him. He was unpretentious and happy and apparently good in the sack. Jenna was an intellectual snob and was happiest with Charlie when he was in his environment. As soon as she took him out of it (the dinner date), she was annoyed with his lack of sophistication. Even when the bad thing happened (which I won't say more about), Jenna was more horrified about the loved-crazed idiot language she used in the email, not so much as where the email ended up. Laura Rider is the most intriguing character. Although she claims to love Charlie, I got the impression that he was a project that she took on and when she got bored with him and considered him a success, she decided she needed a new project, thus the romance between Jenna and Charlie. She goes about encouraging and planning out their relationship in a rather cold-blooded way and is not at all jealous when their relationship turns sexual (as an earlier reviewer, who I don't think read the book at all, wrote). She is mostly irritated that it happened so quickly because she considers the sexual tension, the "before sex" part of a romance to be the best. In some way, all the characters are deluding themselves about something. This book has been described as "humorous" but I didn't really find it so. A few parts were mildly amusing, but mostly I found it sad. Laura is a very unsympathetic and unlikeable character who thinks nothing of toying with Jenna and Charlie's lives just to try out her romance novel experiment. This would be a great book to read in a book club or with a friend to discuss. I am not sure I liked this book and I don't know if I would read anything else by this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The minor characters such as Jenna Faroli's husband, were far more interesting than the three main characters. A disappointment.
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Slessman More than 1 year ago
LAURA RIDER'S MASTERPIECE Jane Hamilton Grand Central Publishing $22.95 ISBN: 978-0-446-53895-4 214 pages Reviewer: Annie Slessman Laura Rider has taken her green thumb and turned it into the profitable Prairie Wind Nursery. She has been married to Charlie Rider for twelve years and has lost sexual interest in their marriage. She still loves Charlie - no one is like Charlie - but her sexual desire waned and soon became non-existent. Consequently, when her idol, Jenna Faroli, a public radio star moves to their town, Laura sets up a romance between Jenna and Charlie in motion. While his may seem a bit quirky for a married woman who still loves her husband, Laura has a motive to her madness. LAURA RIDER'S MASTERPIECE by Jane Hamilton is a story of greed and self-centeredness. Laura Rider wants to write a romance novel. To put it in her words, "I've been trying to study, to study what, in my opinion - in my humble opinion? - an ideal woman, a brilliant and amazing woman, actually wants in a man, what kind o f hero she needs when she's already sort of perfect. Because, today's women are superevolved. I don't need to tell you that! They run their own businesses, they raise children alone, they take charge of their own learning. If women need men, why do they? What kind of man can improve the new model? What kind of partner can take her to new heights? That's what my research is all about. And if the artist has to snoop a little bit and create opportunities, if you have to listen very hard to the people around you and watch, that's all part of the process." Laura is of course, speaking about her own research for the great masterpiece she intends to write. This is a romance novel, of sorts, a character study, of sorts, and an easy read. This would make a good book to take with you to the beach this summer. It doesn't demand a quick read but keeps you reading until the end.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In Hartley, Wisconsin, after dozen years of marriage, Laura and Charlie Rider are comfortable with each other though their relationship has become nonsexual. They enjoy working together in their Prairie Wind Farm nursery business and especially enjoy good storytelling. However, something subtly changes between the couple when Charlie and radio show host Jenna Faroli begin exchanging emails encouraged by Laura who thinks that will enable her to write a Jane Austen quality romantic masterpiece. Laura persuades Charlie to jointly write fanciful and flowery intimate messages to lure the town's most famous person into "The Project". However, the game they play spins out of control when Charlie begins to desire Jenna; jealous Laura believes she is working on a masterpiece; and Jenna finds herself wanting and loathing Charlie as the "author" of those romantic emails. This is an interesting but strange triangle as each of the prime trio has wants and flaws with a sort of modern day gender bending Cyrano take of who is writing the poetic romantic emails. Throw in Jenna's supportive buddy Dickie into the mix to further complicate the already convoluted relationships. Amusing yet profound, LAURA RIDER'S MASTERPIECE is refreshing and original although the audience will feel Jane Hamilton could have went even further outside the conventional story line. Harriet Klausner