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    Q&A | August 3, 2015

    Alice Hoffman: IMG Powell's Q&A: Alice Hoffman

    Describe your latest book. The Marriage of Opposites is a novel about the mother of impressionist painter Camille Pissarro, set on the island of St.... Continue »
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      The Marriage of Opposites

      Alice Hoffman 9781451693591

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1 Burnside Literature- A to Z

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L.I.E.: A Novel


L.I.E.: A Novel Cover




Olympic Material

"And then," Harlan continues, "they put me in the four-by-eight, right

after I'd run the quarter!"

"The four-by-eight?" his father asks.

"Yeah. Four guys, we each run a half-mile. It's a relay."


"Whenever something starts 'four-by,' that means it's a relay."

They're sitting in the den; the television bathes them in a hypnotizing

luminescence. His father is eating what would be Harlan's equivalent of

breakfast. It's five p.m., but Dad works the night shift. He's only been

up an hour.

"So then what happened?"

"Well, I've really been running well lately," Harlan says.

"So they wanted me to anchor."

"Anchor?" His father takes a bite of a scrambled-egg sandwich. He looks

at Harlan briefly, then back at sitcoms.

"Yeah," Harlan says. "That means to go last. The best guy goes last."

"And they wanted you to go last?" With affected pride.

"Yeah. But you know, I was still tired from the other race."

"The quarter."

"Yeah, the quarter."

A breeze blows through the patio door. Beyond the chain-link fence that

marks their territory, cars hurtle. Station Road is a place where kids

drive fast. Harlan will start driving next year, and he imagines he'll

follow local custom.

His father eats quickly, ravenously. He's listening to Harlan; that is,

he wants to listen, but he keeps thinking about the time that Harlan

came up to bat with two outs and runners on first and third in the

bottom half of the last inning of the Little League championships. He

belted a double into the gap in right-center. Was that so long ago? The

team had lifted his son onto their shoulders. They'd paraded his boy

around the diamond. And he'd called Harlan "Mr. Clutch." "That's what

they'll call you from now on, Harlan! Mr. Clutch!" he'd screamed. He'd

felt like a father, like it meant something to be a father.

He swallows up the rest of his sandwich. Harlan goes on.

". . . I wouldn't let him pass me though. Bobby Miller, the best

half-miler in the state! And I held him off!"

"Wow. That's great, Son. That's terrific, Harlan. Maybe you'll be a

track star."

"Well, I don't know about that." He shrugs.

His father carries his plate and coffee cup into the kitchen. The water

runs. Harlan doesn't know why he lied, but he knows that he had to. He

knows it might not even be a lie. In his head it's very clear, it

happened just like he said, he ran anchor, he held off Bobby Miller, it

might have happened that way.

That night his father will unleash the story on a co-worker. "My son's a

track star, you know. Best relay runner in the state, the whole damn


And years later Harlan will dust it off, in a bar, for a woman who isn't

going home with him. "Sure, we've all got a few things that stick with

us. Like my sub-two half-mile. I was a real speed demon back then,

Olympic material.

Why's that so hard to believe?"

Product Details

Hollander, David
Ballantine Books
Young adults
General Fiction
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
8.23x5.48x.55 in. .50 lbs.

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Related Subjects

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

L.I.E.: A Novel Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$6.50 In Stock
Product details 256 pages Ballantine Books - English 9780345441003 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "The story of Harlan's sad life is rife with the wry asides, ironic italics and narrative tricks much better left to the skills of Dave Eggers." Publishers Weekly
"Review" by , "[An] engaging debut....If we feel we've heard enough about the land at malls and cloverleafs, we're wrong: it's probably the most authentically American experience there is, a point that Hollander makes in a blur of concrete, exit signs, and self-deprecating hilarity."
"Review" by , "A young man's head-on collision with the failed American Dream....What makes this book one of note is Hollander's unique storytelling style....You'll be richly rewarded by an original, edgy experience."
"Review" by , "Hollander experiments with some stylistic tricks and in the end waxes surrealistic, but the novel's true strength is its realistic depiction of hollow, suburban life."
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