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The Mammoth Cheese
"The Mammoth Cheese teeters on the edge of parody from time to time, but Holman keeps all these wonderful characters — including the cows — grounded in her deeper themes about the debt one generation owes another and the lust for independence. Yes, colonies rebel and the ones we want most to protect reject our care as tyranny, but Holman knows that good parents can love their children and still let them have their whey." Ron Charles, The Christian Science Monitor (read the entire CSM review)
Synopses & Reviews
On publication of her last novel, The Dress Lodger, The New York Times declared Sheri Holman an author with "an outstanding, generous, and fertile imagination" while People called her "remarkable" and the book appeared on best-seller lists across the country. With The Mammoth Cheese, Holman delivers a sharp, contemporary story steeped in history that will captivate a new audience while gratifying readers of her acclaimed earlier work.
Beautifully crafted and driven by warm, vibrant characters, The Mammoth Cheese follows the residents of rural Three Chimneys, Virginia, on their historic journey to re-create the making of the original Thomas Jefferson?era, 1,235-pound "Mammoth Cheese." As the book opens, the town is joyously celebrating the birth of the Frank Eleven (eleven babies simultaneously born to Manda and James Frank after fertility treatments) and enjoying the thrill of notoriety as reform-minded presidential hopeful Adams Brooke visits the newborns. But as autumn progresses and the babies start to die, the community seeks to redeem itself through the making and transporting of a symbolic Mammoth Cheese to Washington, as a gift for the newly elected President Brooke. The cheese is the brainchild of August Vaughn, a farmhand by day and a President Jefferson impersonator by night, and the creation of Margaret Prickett, a single mother and cheese maker trying to save her century-old family farm. As Margaret slips deeper into debt and desperation, her thirteen-year-old daughter, Polly, slides closer to an inappropriate relationship with her radical, attentive history teacher.
Sheri Holman seamlessly weaves together the lives of Three Chimneys, delving into her characters' inescapable family histories as they grapple with religion, divorce, politics, and unrequited love. The Mammoth Cheese is a triumphant exploration of the burdens and joys of rural America and the debts we owe to history, our parents, and ourselves.
"A deft account of the contradictions of small-town life." Time Out New York
"[An] engaging multidimensional tale....Holman's latest imaginative sprawl of a novel explores quintessential American themes — independence, patriotism and politics — to great tragi-comic effect." Anita Shreve, Book Magazine
"[The Mammoth Cheese] dazzles with its combination of history, religion, political satire and tragedy. Every character here is a delicately nuanced, vivid creation." Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Part Jon Hassler, part Robert Altman film — and all-around terrific." Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"With these wonderfully inventive, charmingly flawed characters, Holman pierces one shallow vanity of modern society after the other. Highly recommended." Library Journal
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