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Mr. Peanut (Vintage Contemporaries)

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Mr. Peanut (Vintage Contemporaries) Cover

ISBN13: 9780307454904
ISBN10: 0307454908
Condition: Standard
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Staff Pick

It's one heck of a juxtaposition. You adore your wife beyond all reason, can't imagine life without her, but are forever constructing detailed fantasies in which she, often violently, meets her demise. Such is the conundrum that David Pepin faces in Mr. Peanut, Adam Ross's unflinchingly honest yet arguably brutal rendering of connubial dysfunction and harmony. Whether you personally relate to David and Alice's tumultuous affairs or simply enjoy them with the support of a clear conscience, you'll certainly be intrigued by these characters and eternally grateful for any wonderfully boring, run-of-the-mill relationships you're in.
Recommended by Heidi Mager, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

David Pepin has been in love with his wife, Alice, since the moment they met in a university seminar on Alfred Hitchcock. After thirteen years of marriage, he still cant imagine a remotely happy life without her — yet he obsessively contemplates her demise. Soon she is dead, and David is both deeply distraught and the prime suspect.

The detectives investigating Alice's suspicious death have plenty of personal experience with conjugal enigmas: Ward Hastroll is happily married until his wife inexplicably becomes voluntarily and militantly bedridden; and Sam Sheppard is especially sensitive to the intricacies of marital guilt and innocence, having decades before been convicted and then exonerated of the brutal murder of his wife.

Still, these men are in the business of figuring things out, even as Pepin's role in Alice's death grows ever more confounding when they link him to a highly unusual hit man called Mobius. Like the Escher drawings that inspire the computer games David designs for a living, these complex, interlocking dramas are structurally and emotionally intense, subtle, and intriguing; they brilliantly explore the warring impulses of affection and hatred, and pose a host of arresting questions. Is it possible to know anyone fully, completely? Are murder and marriage two sides of the same coin, each endlessly recycling into the other? And what, in the end, is the truth about love?

Mesmerizing, exhilarating, and profoundly moving, Mr. Peanut is a police procedural of the soul, a poignant investigation of the relentlessly mysterious human heart — and a first novel of the highest order.

Review:

"Sophisticated, surreal and creepy." Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Review:

"Of all the novels I read this year, this was the one that I read most eagerly, consuming it in eager gulps, dismissing other obligations." The New Republic

Review:

"A formidable literary talent…Finely wrought and challenging." The Philadelphia Inquirer

Review:

"Mr. Peanut is full of tricks: shifting narrations, quirky chronology and meta-novels within novels. The effect is disorienting, but the characters are too well drawn to feel like pawns in some game. The result is a deliciously clever book, full of dark insight and even a touch of hope." The Economist

Review:

“A dark tale of love, hate, murder and marriage: a cleverly written, structurally complex narrative.” NPR.org

Review:

Mr. Peanut is as ingenious as it is riveting.” Richard Russo

Review:

“The most riveting look at the dark side of marriage since Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?...It induced nightmares, at least in this reader. No mean feat.” Stephen King

Review:

“Powerful...delivers one scorching scene after another. Ross is interested in all the soul-killing ways men and women try and fail to achieve intimacy, and [with] noirish sensibility and eloquent prose, he wraps his age-old theme in a confounding yet memsmerizing format.” Booklist (starred review)

About the Author

Adam Ross lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with his wife and their two daughters. www.adam-ross.com

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 5 comments:

Ken Klein, January 3, 2012 (view all comments by Ken Klein)
A story that takes you in many directions at once - many angles, points of view - all examining, in one way or another - relationships, love, hate, memory, identity. Done with great style, humor and poignancy. It's a wild ride which manages to be both a lot of fun, and just when you're not looking, somewhat profound.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Jill H, September 1, 2011 (view all comments by Jill H)
If you're thinking of getting married, don't read this book: it will terrify you

If you're thinking of getting married, read this book: it will inspire you.

Paradox and duality are the heart of this stunningly weird book, whose leitmotif is the Escher picture of interlocking angels and devils that switch from one to the other depending on how you focus, and whose villain is named Mobius. It is the story of David Pepin's love for and resentment of his wife Alice, whom he may or or may not have killed, in “real life” and in the book he is writing about their life together. Interwoven with the tangled revelations of the facts and fantasies about their relationship is the story of Sam Sheppard, who may or may not have killed his wife in real “real life” and in the pages of this book ��" or is it in David's book? Also sprinkled into the unfolding is a riff on Hitchcock and how Rear Window's story of Jimmy Stewart's character's voyeuristic investigation of the man who may have killed his wife is an allegory for Stewart's character's desire to kill his own love interest; a fantasy on the part of the detective investigating Alice's death about the murder and dismemberment of his own wife; a description of how the living arrangements on Malaya promote non-violence; and much much more.

With precision and poetry, Ross captures life's big moments of passion; the small details of everyday existence; and the way marriage is lived along the complex interface between the two. Reading his book offers some of the same experience: tumbling around in a vortex of alternate histories while being riveted to page by a still moment of absolute clarity and simplicity.


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bookloverxxv, July 3, 2011 (view all comments by bookloverxxv)
A pleasing beginning but the book kind of bogs down about 2/3 of the way through, and then we're subjected to lectures about Hitchcock and feminism and what have you. A first novel and an impressive effort...but he needed a better editor and should have maintained focus on the central idea of the book (husbands plotting to kill wives), which is quite funny and interesting.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780307454904
Author:
Ross, Adam
Publisher:
Vintage Books
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Vintage Contemporaries
Publication Date:
20110431
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
464
Dimensions:
7.96 x 5.16 x 1 in 0.75 lb

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » General
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Debut Fiction

Mr. Peanut (Vintage Contemporaries) Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$8.95 In Stock
Product details 464 pages Vintage - English 9780307454904 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

It's one heck of a juxtaposition. You adore your wife beyond all reason, can't imagine life without her, but are forever constructing detailed fantasies in which she, often violently, meets her demise. Such is the conundrum that David Pepin faces in Mr. Peanut, Adam Ross's unflinchingly honest yet arguably brutal rendering of connubial dysfunction and harmony. Whether you personally relate to David and Alice's tumultuous affairs or simply enjoy them with the support of a clear conscience, you'll certainly be intrigued by these characters and eternally grateful for any wonderfully boring, run-of-the-mill relationships you're in.

"Review" by , "Sophisticated, surreal and creepy."
"Review" by , "Of all the novels I read this year, this was the one that I read most eagerly, consuming it in eager gulps, dismissing other obligations."
"Review" by , "A formidable literary talent…Finely wrought and challenging."
"Review" by , "Mr. Peanut is full of tricks: shifting narrations, quirky chronology and meta-novels within novels. The effect is disorienting, but the characters are too well drawn to feel like pawns in some game. The result is a deliciously clever book, full of dark insight and even a touch of hope."
"Review" by , “A dark tale of love, hate, murder and marriage: a cleverly written, structurally complex narrative.”
"Review" by , Mr. Peanut is as ingenious as it is riveting.”
"Review" by , “The most riveting look at the dark side of marriage since Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?...It induced nightmares, at least in this reader. No mean feat.”
"Review" by , “Powerful...delivers one scorching scene after another. Ross is interested in all the soul-killing ways men and women try and fail to achieve intimacy, and [with] noirish sensibility and eloquent prose, he wraps his age-old theme in a confounding yet memsmerizing format.” (starred review)
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