On a midwestern farm in the last century, a boy is forced to come of age in a colorful family of dysfunctional women, scarred by the unfulfilled dreams of his alcoholic mother, his strange spinster aunts, his malevolent nieces, and especially "the prettiest girls in Euphoria, Kansas," his five unforgettable sisters.
The hapless lives of frigid Emily, beautiful Louella, the competitive but dim twins Verda and Opal, and baleful Alice (also the lives of the losers they marry or don't) range from hilarious to heartbreaking. Inevitably, these women - equally appealing and appalling - dominate their much younger "Brother," an identity he can only escape by fleeing from them.
In The Prettiest Girls in Euphoria, Kansas, literary biographer Bruce Kellner probes the fragmented nature of memory in a narrative that does not tell time by clocks or remember it by calendars.
By turns whimsical, bawdy, poignant, and heartfelt, The Prettiest Girls in Euphoria, Kansas examines not only the empowering sense of the past on the present but the indestructible threads that bind families together.
|File size:||355 KB|
About the Author
Bruce Kellner has published books on such celebrated figures as Ralph Barton, Charles Demuth, Gertrude Stein, Carl Van Vechten and Donald Windham. A scholar of the Harlem Renaissance during the Jazz Age, Kellner compiled the first encyclopedia covering that period in American history. A Professor Emeritus of English at Millersville University, he lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Sometimes Brother, the youngest child and only son in the Wyss family, may complain this is the case. But he can't stop thinking--and talking about--his five sisters, and their daughters, and his mother who spends more and more time with her toddies. Give yourself the first five pages, set at the local funeral home, where several of the sisters are "adjusting" the makeup of Emily, the oldest and first to die, as she lies in her coffin, and you'll be entranced, too. This is Kansas, pre-World War II, a remote world any more, but don't adjust your set: the pictures will be lucid, the dialogue hilarious and occasionally earthy, and the commentary full of folksy humor. I'm not the quickest person to laugh, and I laughed often--audibly--and had a wonderful time. I suppose we could pull out the old label, novel of manners. But there are no drawing rooms here, no parlors. Oh yes, there is one piano--a player piano, and lots of squabbles, and a little experimentation of the sexual sort in the loft of the barn. My favorite scene: the longest speech in the book, by the most taciturn of characters: Abel Wyss, the father, telling Brother how certain things are done by cows and humans alike. Treat yourself!!