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The Dive from Clausen's Pierby Ann Packer
"I wasn't sure Packer would be able to draw out an interesting story from this one decision, especially since Carrie makes her choice quite early in the book. But while The Dive From Clausen's Pier is sometimes slow-moving, Packer untangles compelling ideas about devotion and sacrifice from her protagonist's quandary. The thoughtful, good-hearted Carrie, probably for the first time in her life, decides to put her own best interests first." Suzy Hansen, Salon.com (read the entire Salon review)
Synopses & Reviews
A riveting novel about loyalty and self-knowledge, and the conflict between who we want to be to others and who we must be for ourselves.
Carrie Bell has lived in Wisconsin all her life. She?s had the same best friend, the same good relationship with her mother, the same boyfriend, Mike, now her fiancé, for as long as anyone can remember. It?s with real surprise she finds that, at age twenty-three, her life has begun to feel suffocating. She longs for a change, an upheaval, for a chance to begin again.
That chance is granted to her, terribly, when Mike is injured in an accident. Now Carrie has to question everything she thought she knew about herself and the meaning of home. She must ask: How much do we owe the people we love? Is it a sign of strength or of weakness to walk away from someone in need?
The Dive from Clausen?s Pier reminds us how precarious our lives are and how quickly they can be divided into before and after, whether by random accident or by the force of our own desires. It begins with a disaster that could happen, out of the blue, in anybody?s life, and it forces us to ask how we would bear up in the face of tragedy and what we know, or think we know, about our deepest allegiances. Elegantly written and ferociously paced, emotionally nuanced and morally complex, The Dive from Clausen?s Pier marks the emergence of a prodigiously gifted new novelist.
"The novels it calls most to mind...are Allegra Goodman's Kaaterskill Falls and Sue Miller's The Good Mother....its most admirable trait — and surely the one that will define Packer's future work — is its moral authenticity." Gail Caldwell, Boston Globe
"The Dive from Clausen's Pier is one of those small miracles that reinforce our faith in fiction. It does what the best novels so often do, making the largest things visible by its perfect rendering of life on the smaller scale. It is witty, tragic and touching, and beguiling from the first page." Scott Turow, author of Reversible Errors
"This is the sort of book one reads dying to know what happens to the characters, but loves for its wisdom: it sees the world with more clarity than you do." Publishers Weekly
"Ann Packer's first novel has all the weight of reality, tooled with a jeweler's precision. The Dive from Clausen's Pier is a poignant and painstakingly rendered account of a woman in flight from catastrophe, in search of herself." Madison Smartt Bell
"Quietly engrossing....The journey is a familiar one, but Packer fleshes it out with a naturalist's vigilance for detail, so that her characters seem observed rather than invented, and capable of mistakes that the author may never have intended. The result is genuine suspense." The New Yorker
When her fiancT Mike is left paralyzed following a tragic accident, Carrie Bell begins to question her familiar world, from her everyday life in Wisconsin to her relationships with her mother, friends, and fiancT, as she sets out to rediscover her own identity and the meaning of home. A first novel. 75,000 first printing.
How much do we owe the people we love? Is it a sign of strength or weakness to walk away from someone in need? These questions lie at the heart of Ann Packer's intimate and emotionally thrilling newnovel, which has won its author comparisons with Jane Hamilton and Sue Miller.
At the age of twenty-three Carrie Bell has spent her entire life in Wisconsin, with the same best friend and the samedependable, easygoing, high school sweetheart. Now to her dismay she has begun to find this life suffocating and is considering leaving it-and Mike-behind. But when Mike is paralyzed in a divingaccident, leaving seems unforgivable and yet more necessary than ever. The Dive from Clausen's Pier animates this dilemma-and Carrie's startling response toit-with the narrative assurance, exacting realism, and moral complexity we expect from the very best fiction.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
About the Author
Ann Packer is a past recipient of a James Michener award and a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Ploughshares, and other magazines, as well as in Prize Stories 1992: The O. Henry Awards. The author of Mendocino and Other Stories, she lives in northern California with her husband and two children.
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