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Elroy Nights

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Elroy Nights Cover

ISBN13: 9781582433196
ISBN10: 1582433194
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In Elroy Nights, Frederick Barthelme does a fresh turn on territory he's made his own over the last two decades: a middle-class America studded with characters maybe a little more wised-up than not — cautious, skeptical, private folks who would rather joke about their problems than complain about them. Elroy Nights is a reasonably successful artist and professor, fifty-something, who is caught between the midlife crisis of his forties and the much anticipated sublime decay of his sixties. Elroy and his wife Clare, perhaps too comfortable with each other, elect to try living separately, a choice characteristic of their relationship — fond and thoughtful, responsive, generous to a fault.

So Elroy moves out, leases a condo, begins hanging out with his twenty-something students, and experiences a splendid reenchantment with the world. But when an unforeseen tragedy throws his, and everyone's, foibles and failures into high relief, he's confronted with reordering, retracking — and reimagining — a world gone suddenly haywire. With his trademark precision and pitch-perfect dialogue, Barthelme elegantly lays open this interweaving of twenty-year-olds with their fifty-something fellow traveler, exploring the relationships that develop in a delicate display of the sweetness of privacy and the privilege of intimacy. The result is a lovely, lilting romance, a spare yet generous masterpiece from a writer at the top of his form.

Review:

"Barthelme is the master of stealthy humor, machine-gun dialogue, and the fusing of ordinary moments with metaphysical resonance, traits that electrify his first novel since Bob the Gambler." Booklist

Review:

"Elroy Nights offers considerable pleasures." San Francisco Chronicle

Review:

"Barthelme's writing is so good I'd follow Elroy to a paint-drying festival." New York Times Book Review

Review:

"Barthelme is the master of the one liner." Boston Globe

Review:

"In his understated way, Barthelme captures the awe that Elroy feels toward these young people, and the occasional surprise he registers when he realizes that although he thinks and behaves like them, he no longer resembles them." Atlanta Journal Constitution

Synopsis:

A generous and intimate new novel — the first in six years — from American literature's premier chronicler of middle-class angst in the new South.

About the Author

Frederick Barthelme is the author of twelve books of fiction, and the co-author with his brother, Steven, of the memoir Double Down: Reflections on Gambling and Loss. He directs the writing program at the University of Southern Mississippi and edits the literary journal Mississippi Review. He lives in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

geoff.wichert, August 5, 2011 (view all comments by geoff.wichert)
I found Elroy Nights on a list of novels supposed to be about artists. That didn’t turn out to be quite accurate. Elroy, the protagonist�"and a narrator so casual that he doesn’t name himself until page 19�"teaches art at a former junior college that grew with increasing enrollments into a four-year state college. Although he used to make art, and some of his work lurks unseen in the background, he makes none in these pages, and seems not to have made any anytime recently. The one undisputed artist in the book, one of his students, commits suicide early on, and his death precipitates some desultory events and maudlin, if sincere, soul-searching. Anyone unfamiliar with what’s called Minimalism (Raymond Carver, Ann Beattie, etc) may find this a dry read.The talk is realistically cryptic: they know what they mean in the moment, and we have to read between the lines. It’s also ironic, mocking, funny in a way the speakers are enjoying without laughter. This kind of impossibly clever patter will be familiar from TV and movies, which in their insatiable need for material stole it blind (and tone deaf). Readers used to conventional dialogue, which sounds like nothing outside of fictional narratives, may be lost or misled. Most of all, though, nothing dramatic happens in the present moment. We learn of the suicide, rather than see it. Even when a character is shot, a reader whose attention blinks could miss it.

Those familiar with minimalism might imagine a whole novel (228 pages) written by Carver and necessarily (don’t take any nonsense about it) edited by Gordon Lish. The worse news, though, is that this isn’t a book for today’s primary book demographic, which is an alliance of fantasy-prone teenagers and their mothers. There are no living dead here, unless you count the long-married couple with a teenage daughter of their own. Elroy and Clare’s separation frames the novel, but it’s a separation as ambivalent as it is amiable. He may be a little more candid about the learning-sparking erotic charge between teacher and student than some readers are ready for. Or what goes on in the mind of a step-father. On the other hand, we all know a woman like Freddie, whose first serious entanglement is with her best friend’s father. What are we to make of it when Elroy says he not only loves his wife, but he has no other feelings for her? It may be that everything trivial has weathered away. His having been an artist is useful because when young, artists more than anyone else think of themselves as different, apart from the hoi polloi. Yet what comes with experience is the unwelcome realization that we’re all so much more alike than we are unique. Our lives are more like Barthelme’s account than they are like movies or adventures. That gives us reason to escape, but it also gives us reason to return to honest literature like this.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781582433196
Author:
Barthelme, Frederick
Publisher:
Counterpoint LLC
Subject:
General
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
20040831
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
240
Dimensions:
8 x 5 in 9 oz

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Arts and Entertainment » Music » Instruments » Piano and Keyboard
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Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Elroy Nights Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$1.95 In Stock
Product details 240 pages Counterpoint Press - English 9781582433196 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Barthelme is the master of stealthy humor, machine-gun dialogue, and the fusing of ordinary moments with metaphysical resonance, traits that electrify his first novel since Bob the Gambler."
"Review" by , "Elroy Nights offers considerable pleasures."
"Review" by , "Barthelme's writing is so good I'd follow Elroy to a paint-drying festival."
"Review" by , "Barthelme is the master of the one liner."
"Review" by , "In his understated way, Barthelme captures the awe that Elroy feels toward these young people, and the occasional surprise he registers when he realizes that although he thinks and behaves like them, he no longer resembles them."
"Synopsis" by , A generous and intimate new novel — the first in six years — from American literature's premier chronicler of middle-class angst in the new South.
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