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The Scenic Route (P.S.)

by

The Scenic Route (P.S.) Cover

ISBN13: 9780060784744
ISBN10: 0060784741
Condition: Standard
All Product Details

Only 1 left in stock at $3.50!

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

"This is the story of Henry and me. I wish it had a different end," Sylvia Landsman begins what is, in part, the story of her ill-fated romance.

Divorced, alone, and unexpectedly unemployed, Sylvia escapes to Italy where she meets Henry, a middle-aged expatriate. Henry lives a tony life for which he pays a steep price: the chance to be happy. With his wife's money bankrolling a grand tour, Henry and Sylvia travel a circuitous route. Sylvia entertains Henry with stories which unfold into stories of her peculiar family, her damaged friends, Alma Mahler, dead ducks.

A tapestry of remembrances and regrets, these narrative threads foreshadow Sylvia's shame: through a small, cowardly sin of omission, she betrayed her best friend. Yet when the opportunity arises for Sylvia and Henry to do something brave, the haunting refrain of "if only" leaves Sylvia with one more story of love lived, and lost.

As ever in Binnie Kirshenbaum's work, the compassion and care for her deeply flawed characters is palpable, and her writing is fresh, dark, despairing, and hilarious.

Review:

Binnie Kirshenbaum's new novel looks like another year in Provence or another romance baked under the Tuscan sun. It begins with a recession fantasy: A middle-age, divorced woman gets laid off but uses her severance money for a trip to Italy. There, as usually happens, she strikes up a conversation with a handsome millionaire at a cafe and spends the rest of the summer driving around Europe with him,... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"The Scenic Route is a witty and poignant, and also an extremely interesting and acute, novel. Ms. Kirshenbaum mines a very rich seam that's entirely her own. This is first-rate writing by a novelist who gracefully defies classification." Richard Ford

Review:

"I'm much impressed with Binnie Kirshenbaum's The Scenic Route, an idiosyncratic and totally winning 'romance,' in which sentiment and cynicism are poised in a most virtuoso performance." Joyce Carol Oates

Review:

"Kirshenbaum's distinctive voice transforms a lightly plotted novel into an enchanting, tangent-strewn meditation on memory, love and luck... Lovely prose and quirky observations carry Kirshenbaum's seventh novel." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"Absurdly underrated Kirshenbaum is at her darkly comic and boldly encompassing best here, diverting us with hairpin-turn humor while slipping us hard truths about memory and inheritance, betrayal and guilt, and the inevitable end of the road." Booklist

Synopsis:

Divorced, alone, and unexpectedly unemployed, Sylvia Landsman flees to Italy, where she meets Henry, a wistful, married, middle-aged expatriate. Taking off on a grand tour of Europe bankrolled with his wife's money, Henry and Sylvia follow a circuitous route around the continent—as Sylvia entertains Henry with stories of her peculiar family and her damaged friends, of dead ducks and Alma Mahler. Her narrative is a tapestry of remembrances and regrets...and her secret shame: a small, cowardly sin of omission. Yet when the opportunity arises for Sylvia and Henry to do something small but brave, the refrain "if only" returns to haunt her, leaving Sylvia with one more story of love lived and lost.

About the Author

Binnie Kirshenbaum is the author of An Almost Perfect Moment, On Mermaid Avenue, A Disturbance in One Place, Pure Poetry, Hester Among the Ruins, and History on a Personal Note. She is a professor at Columbia University's School of the Arts, where she is chair of the Graduate Writing Program.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

bbrrtt1, July 30, 2010 (view all comments by bbrrtt1)
Also recently read, "The scenic route", this book I liked a little less than Molly Marx mainly due to the acerbic humor and dispassionate references. I did enjoy the method of storytelling that Kirshenbaum weaves, a tale of family, best friend, love and loss. The protagonist in Kirshenbaums story, Sylvia Landsman, is less likable than Molly Marx and I couldn't imaging her being my friend but the story is engaging and if you can get past her biting tongue it's a fairly good read.
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(5 of 11 readers found this comment helpful)
OneMansView, July 21, 2009 (view all comments by OneMansView)
Thought-provoking (4.5*s)

What an interesting, complex character has the author created in the person of Sylvia Landsman. At age forty-two, life to this point has been disappointing for Sylvia. Having previously initiated a split in a pleasant-enough marriage, she heads to Europe for an extended vacation after being laid off with severance pay.

Embarking on an almost random journey around Europe, stopping at out-of-the-way places, with Henry, an American southerner who she meets early on, in his Peugeot gives Sylvia a chance to reflect on her life and perhaps satisfy vague yearnings. Henry, a well-to-do man now living in Paris, with wide latitude in an undemanding marriage, accustomed to a leisurely life of fine wine and food, is the perfect sort to listen to Sylvia as she roams back through her life, especially generations of her family. Invariably, subtle insights about life flow from her stories and memories.

In some ways, Sylvia is an elusive individual. It would be hard to describe her physical being. We know her though her contemplations of life. Henry is there to offer the encouraging word at appropriate intervals, pick good restaurants, and represent faint possibilities. One could complain that keeping track of the many relatives gets a bit burdensome. Overall the book flows pretty well and, most importantly, is definitely thought-provoking – worth a reread.
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(10 of 17 readers found this comment helpful)
easyreeder, May 26, 2009 (view all comments by easyreeder)
Kirshenbaum, in The Scenic Route, suspends thought with a jagged yet metronomic prose. The meditation is all at once sage and naive, cynical and hopeful, transformative and regressive--a difficult polyphony. And Kirshenbaum: the maestro.
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(15 of 21 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780060784744
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Kirshenbaum, Binnie
Publisher:
Harper Perennial
Subject:
Women
Subject:
Americans
Subject:
General
Subject:
Psychological fiction
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade PB
Series:
P.S.
Publication Date:
20090512
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
11 x 9 in 13.76 oz

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

The Scenic Route (P.S.) Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$3.50 In Stock
Product details 352 pages Harper Perennial - English 9780060784744 Reviews:
"Review" by , "The Scenic Route is a witty and poignant, and also an extremely interesting and acute, novel. Ms. Kirshenbaum mines a very rich seam that's entirely her own. This is first-rate writing by a novelist who gracefully defies classification."
"Review" by , "I'm much impressed with Binnie Kirshenbaum's The Scenic Route, an idiosyncratic and totally winning 'romance,' in which sentiment and cynicism are poised in a most virtuoso performance."
"Review" by , "Kirshenbaum's distinctive voice transforms a lightly plotted novel into an enchanting, tangent-strewn meditation on memory, love and luck... Lovely prose and quirky observations carry Kirshenbaum's seventh novel."
"Review" by , "Absurdly underrated Kirshenbaum is at her darkly comic and boldly encompassing best here, diverting us with hairpin-turn humor while slipping us hard truths about memory and inheritance, betrayal and guilt, and the inevitable end of the road."
"Synopsis" by , Divorced, alone, and unexpectedly unemployed, Sylvia Landsman flees to Italy, where she meets Henry, a wistful, married, middle-aged expatriate. Taking off on a grand tour of Europe bankrolled with his wife's money, Henry and Sylvia follow a circuitous route around the continent—as Sylvia entertains Henry with stories of her peculiar family and her damaged friends, of dead ducks and Alma Mahler. Her narrative is a tapestry of remembrances and regrets...and her secret shame: a small, cowardly sin of omission. Yet when the opportunity arises for Sylvia and Henry to do something small but brave, the refrain "if only" returns to haunt her, leaving Sylvia with one more story of love lived and lost.
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