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Among Other Things, I've Taken Up Smoking

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Among Other Things, I've Taken Up Smoking Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

An arresting new literary talent addresses the journey of light years-or is it a hop-from an island in Maine to the island of Manhattan

Miranda's father has always seemed to her as obscure and elusive as the thick New England fog that surrounds their isolated island home. When she was three years old, her parents moved from Manhattan to tiny Crab Island off the coast of Maine so he could work on his translation of Ovid's Metamorphoses. Not long after, her mother took the boat out one day, disappeared into the fog, and never came back. Miranda grew up quickly and quietly in the lonely house, caring for her brilliant but troubled father and sustaining herself with fantasies that grew out of the ill-fated stories of lustful nymphs and vengeful gods that he read to her from his manuscript. Aside from a halfhearted friendship with one of the girls at her school, her only true friend was Mr. Blackwell-a fisherman who had helped her father adjust to life on the island all those years ago and whose relationship with her father is-like so much else about her father-complicated and shrouded in mystery.

But when Miranda graduates from high school, her father announces that he has arranged for her to travel to New York to stay with friends from his old life, and Miranda embarks on a journey that will finally reveal the truth about her father's past and open up her world in ways she cannot begin to imagine.

Sweeney's spare, essential writing brings the contrasts of stark, sea-misted Maine and the chaotic blur of Manhattan into striking relief. Hers is a haunting story about loneliness, about the isolation of island life, whether it's a deserted island off Maine or the overcrowded noisy island of Manhattan. Sweeney's remarkable ability to capture the peculiarities of a place and its inhabitants is astonishing, and her delicate rendering of Miranda's own metamorphosis elevates this novel from a typical coming-of-age story to a work of lasting literary value.

Review:

"'Sweeney's debut novel centers around Miranda Donnal, who grows up on Maine's lonely Crab Island, where her father decides to hunker down and work on his translation of Ovid's Metamorphoses. Shortly after their arrival from New York, Miranda's mother dies in a boating mishap, leaving Miranda in the care of her withdrawn father, who is content to keep his nose in his books. A half-Indian local fisherman, Mr. Blackwell, becomes something of a father figure to Miranda, taking on an unusually devoted caretaker role — cooking for the Donnals, taking Miranda to school and serving as her confidante. Yet secrecy also shrouds Mr. Donnal and Mr. Blackwell's evolving relationship. When Miranda graduates from high school, her father dispatches her to New York City and a job at the classical studies institute he was molded by. There she begins to peel away myth after myth of the father she thought she knew as she falls in love and has her own revelations about intimacy and connections. Sweeney's prose effortlessly conveys her characters' isolation and evolution, and her portrayal of the aftermath of life's slights — big and small — make this coming-of-age better than most. (July)' Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Two years ago, David Leavitt published an essay in The New York Times about the welcome transition from gay fiction to what he termed 'post-gay fiction' — 'novels and stories whose authors, rather than making a character's homosexuality the fulcrum on which the plot turns, either take it for granted, look at it as part of something larger or ignore it altogether.' Aoibheann Sweeney's first novel... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Synopsis:

Critically acclaimed by reviewers across the country, Aoibheann Sweeney?s beautifully written debut novel is a story of the profound human need for intimacy. For Miranda, the adolescence spent in her fog-shrouded Maine home has been stark and isolated? alone with her troubled father, a man consumed with his work translating Ovid?s Metamorphoses, her mother mysteriously gone from their lives. Now, having graduated from high school, Miranda?s father arranges for her to stay with old friends in Manhattan, and she embarks on a journey that will open up her father?s past?and her own world?in ways she cannot begin to imagine.

Synopsis:

Mirandas often-elusive father announces that he has arranged for her to travel to New York to stay with friends from his old life. When she embarks on this journey that reveals the truth about her fathers past, it opens up her world in ways she cannot begin to imagine.

About the Author

Aoibheann Sweeney earned her B.A. at Harvard University, where she won the John Harvard Scholarship and Elizabeth Carey Agassiz Award, and her MFA at the University of Virginia, where she was a Henry Hoyns Fellow. She has been a resident fellow at the MacDowell Colony and at Yaddo. She has written book reviews for The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post Book World, and The Village Voice Literary Supplement. She is currently director of the Center for the Humanities at The Graduate Center, City University of New York.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781594201301
Author:
Sweeney, Aoibheann
Publisher:
Penguin Books
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Fathers and daughters
Subject:
Children's 12-Up - Fiction - General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
20080624
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Pages:
272
Dimensions:
8.61x5.84x.96 in. .88 lbs.
Age Level:
from 18

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Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Among Other Things, I've Taken Up Smoking Used Hardcover
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Product details 272 pages Penguin Press - English 9781594201301 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "'Sweeney's debut novel centers around Miranda Donnal, who grows up on Maine's lonely Crab Island, where her father decides to hunker down and work on his translation of Ovid's Metamorphoses. Shortly after their arrival from New York, Miranda's mother dies in a boating mishap, leaving Miranda in the care of her withdrawn father, who is content to keep his nose in his books. A half-Indian local fisherman, Mr. Blackwell, becomes something of a father figure to Miranda, taking on an unusually devoted caretaker role — cooking for the Donnals, taking Miranda to school and serving as her confidante. Yet secrecy also shrouds Mr. Donnal and Mr. Blackwell's evolving relationship. When Miranda graduates from high school, her father dispatches her to New York City and a job at the classical studies institute he was molded by. There she begins to peel away myth after myth of the father she thought she knew as she falls in love and has her own revelations about intimacy and connections. Sweeney's prose effortlessly conveys her characters' isolation and evolution, and her portrayal of the aftermath of life's slights — big and small — make this coming-of-age better than most. (July)' Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by ,
Critically acclaimed by reviewers across the country, Aoibheann Sweeney?s beautifully written debut novel is a story of the profound human need for intimacy. For Miranda, the adolescence spent in her fog-shrouded Maine home has been stark and isolated? alone with her troubled father, a man consumed with his work translating Ovid?s Metamorphoses, her mother mysteriously gone from their lives. Now, having graduated from high school, Miranda?s father arranges for her to stay with old friends in Manhattan, and she embarks on a journey that will open up her father?s past?and her own world?in ways she cannot begin to imagine.

"Synopsis" by , Mirandas often-elusive father announces that he has arranged for her to travel to New York to stay with friends from his old life. When she embarks on this journey that reveals the truth about her fathers past, it opens up her world in ways she cannot begin to imagine.
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