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Outside Valentine

Outside Valentine Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Liza Ward's spellbinding first novel is told from the very different points of view of three narrators mysteriously linked by a shocking crime and their efforts to heal the past. Based on the Charles Starkweather and Caril Ann Fugate murders in Nebraska in the 1950s, Outside Valentine examines the effects of violence and the power of love as the three voices interweave and show the lingering and devastating aftershocks of murder across three generations. Mysterious and disturbing, Liza Ward's first novel is, in the words of Anita Shreve, "heartbreaking and unforgettable."

Liza Ward was born in New York City and holds degrees from Middlebury College and the University of Montana. Her stories have been published in The Atlantic Monthly, Agni, The Georgia Review, and the Antioch Review. Her work has also been selected for the 2004 O. Henry Prize Stories anthology as well as Harcourt's Best New American Voices of 2004.
In 1957, in a plain house outside Lincoln, Nebraska, Caril Ann struts in front of her mirror in a pink kimono embroidered with figures of women dancing. She thinks of the fight she is about to have with her stepfather and vows to hold her ground. Today she will find a tree house and meet a boy named Charlie Starkweather, who reminds her of James Dean. Love will pull them together. On another day, not too far, Charlie will drive Caril Ann in a fancy Packard through the falling snow to a town called Valentine. Her life will change forever. Everyone will always remember her name.

In 1991, in the silence of an early Manhattan morning, Lowella middle-aged dealer in antiquitieswakes with fragments of dreams and the memory of a spot of blood slowly spreading out, changing everything. Lowell's thoughts go back to his childhood, to his mother's attempts to learn the piano, to the snow drifting down across the plains in the far-off place that was his home. Today he will see that his marriage to his wife, Susan, no longer works, despite all that has passed between them. And he will try to turn away.

In 1962, Puggyshe hates that nicknamecomes home to an empty house. The snow has made her yard into a perfect curtain of white. Until her mother comes back, Puggy will play detective, spying on the boy down the street who lost his family to the Starkweather murders. She will read the old clippings from the Lincoln Journal Star and wonder if anyone could ever love her like Charlie loved Caril Ann. She will remember her parents dancing. She will try to figure out what it is that people do when they have lost someone forever.

How do these lives intersect? What happened during that winter of blinding snow? At the heart of this haunting debut novel is a shocking crime with effects and repercussions that reach across the years and miles, changing the course of lives, again and again. Alternating among the voices of her three major characters, Liza Ward captures their inflections and emotions as she gradually unravels the hidden past they share. As the pieces of this alluring puzzle come together, all the questions are answered.

"Chilling [and] well-written."Sybil Downing, The Denver Post

"Impressive . . . [Ward is] a gifted writer."The Washington Post Book World

"All of [the characters'] narratives are written in a deceptively simple prose style that gleams with art."Dick Adler, Chicago Tribune

"[Liza Ward] skillfully weaves three first-person narratives that are linked by [Starkweather and Fugate's] bloody exploits. She achieves this with remarkable poise and insight. By integrating historical events with fictitious characters and settings in the same vein as Michael Cunningham's The Hours, Ward concocts a story that is as precise in detail as it is inventive . . . Rather than lionizing the victims or romanticizing the criminals, Ward instead uses the Starkweather case as a springboard to examine how the legacy of violence reverberates within families."Tatiana Siegel, USA Today

"An inventive and probing novel."Mark Rozzo, New York Newsday

"Marvellous."Martha Liebrum, Houston Chronicle

"A suspenseful and chilling work . . . Deeply affecting."Helen Ubinas, Hartford Courant

"Outside Valentine has a slowly tightening noose of a plot, following two sets of lovers, each in a state of arrested adolescence and emotional paralysis."Elissa Schappell, The New York Times Book Review

"An intricate and challenging novel that examines the inner lives of men and women swept up in a devastating American crime. Ward's portraits are harrowing, heartfelt and unforgettable."Anita Shreve, author of The Pilot's Wife and All He Ever Wanted

"Ward runs a tight, thrumming line through her narrative, punching up scenes with a sharp, practiced touch and bringing wise compassion to bear on the tragic events that unfold with such dark inevitability."Sven Birkerts, author of The Gutenberg Elegies

"A swift and beautifully written first novel about the lingering effects of violence and the power of love, to heal and to destroy. With extraordinary emotional accuracy, Liza Ward tracks the echoes of a murder across three generations and several lives, bringing them together in an ending both mysterious and musical. Outside Valentine seems to know all the secrets, and to be willing to tell them. Simply an amazing debut."Kevin Canty, author of Honeymoon and Other Stories and Into the Great Wide Open

"Blunt, beautiful, and very scary, Outside Valentine proves that a murder doesn't end with deathit just goes on and on, staining generations, tolling across decades. It's a first novel with the weight of a tenth. Liza Ward has the ears of a wolf, the eyes of an owl, and a tongue as sharp as broken glass."J. Robert Lennon, author of On the Night Plain

"Written with confidence and grace, Outside Valentine tells an astounding story about how violence can propel us apart, yes, but how it can also bring us together in unexpected ways. Liza Ward has written an utterly gripping book."Vendela Vida, author of And Now You Can Go

"In this riveting literary suspense novel, first-timer Ward presents in lean, luminous prose a precarious world where true love can ravage as well as redeem . . . Chilling."Publishers Weekly

Synopsis:

Liza Ward's spellbinding first novel is told from the very different points of view of three narrators mysteriously linked by a shocking crime and their efforts to heal the past. Based on the Charles Starkweather and Caril Ann Fugate murders in Nebraska in the 1950s, Outside Valentine examines the effects of violence and the power of love as the three voices interweave and show the lingering and devastating aftershocks of murder across three generations. Mysterious and disturbing, Liza Ward's first novel is, in the words of Anita Shreve, "heartbreaking and unforgettable."

About the Author

Liza Ward was born in New York City and holds degrees from Middlebury College and the University of Montana. Her stories have been published in The Atlantic Monthly, The Georgia Review, and Agni Review. They have also been selected for the 2004 O. Henry Prize Stories and Harcourts 2004 Best New American Voices collection. She lives in Massachusetts.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780312424893
Subtitle:
A Novel
Publisher:
Picador
Author:
Ward, Liza
Subject:
Short Stories (single author)
Subject:
Teenagers
Subject:
Suspense
Subject:
Violence
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Historical fiction
Subject:
Biographical fiction
Subject:
Literary
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
20050801
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.50 in

Related Subjects


Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Popular Fiction » Suspense

Outside Valentine
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 320 pages Picador USA - English 9780312424893 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
Liza Ward's spellbinding first novel is told from the very different points of view of three narrators mysteriously linked by a shocking crime and their efforts to heal the past. Based on the Charles Starkweather and Caril Ann Fugate murders in Nebraska in the 1950s, Outside Valentine examines the effects of violence and the power of love as the three voices interweave and show the lingering and devastating aftershocks of murder across three generations. Mysterious and disturbing, Liza Ward's first novel is, in the words of Anita Shreve, "heartbreaking and unforgettable."

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