Synopses & Reviews
What do a chamber pot, a famous poet, a family feud, and a long-ago suitor all have in common? In this delicious laugh-out-loud new novel of love and loss, rivalry and reconciliation, treasure and trash, by acclaimed author Mameve Medwed (Mail, The End of an Error), we see what happens when past and present collide. . . .
Elizabeth Barrett Browning might have written about the length and breadth of love, but Abby Randolph has given up on all that, preferring to spend her time between her cluttered "needs work" apartment and the overcrowded antiques mart -- the optimistically named Objects of Desire. Yet Abby can't help but wonder what happened to her earlier passionate self who rejected the path set out for her, dropping out of Harvard and falling headfirst into an ill-fated love affair. . . .
Then the Antiques Roadshow comes to town, and Abby turns up at the crack of dawn, artifact in hand, standing alongside thousands of Boston's hopefuls. But there, among the carousel horses, pipe sets, potbellied stoves, and bedraggled stuffed animals, it is Abby's rather ordinary -- and squalid -- piece of porcelain that gets the star treatment.
Abby is barely able to enjoy her good news, for the moment the show airs, life comes back at her at full force. Everything changes: friendship, finances, family, love affairs, career, her view of others, and the way she sees herself.
With this, her fourth novel, Medwed once again returns to Cambridge and, in her "sardonic, funny voice" (Chicago Tribune), "homes in on the rarified self-important atmosphere of our Ivy League institutions -- and the reflected snobbishness of the people who serve them" (New York Times Book Review).
This novel is a gift to anyone who goes to a flea market or watches Antiques Roadshow, anyone who has ever defied expectations, or, especially, anyone who has never been able to extinguish an old flame.
"Suffering a bout of mid-30s inertia, Abby Randolph, a Harvard dropout cum struggling antiques dealer, has all but given up on herself. Her mother perished a year earlier in an earthquake in India. Her childhood love and ex-fianc has penned a tell-all novel exposing Abby's awkward childhood, troubled adolescence and thwarted foray into academia. With a litany of insulting confessions, her most recent boyfriend leaves her for another woman. But when a colleague suggests she take the porcelain chamber pot left to her by her mother onto the TV program Antiques Roadshow where experts tell her it belonged to the poet of the novel's title fantastic pipe dreams of uncovering treasure materialize. The pot's pedigree sets in motion a series of misadventures, forcing Abby to get in gear and off the couch. The jokes in Medwed's fourth novel (following The End of an Era) don't always pan out, but this buoyant 'dramady' is a wry, easy read for flea market scavengers and collectors alike, those who can appreciate how 'objects of desire... the hairline crack in an old vase, the foxing in an old print, the clouded glass of an old decanter mark the passage of time, commemorate the history of people's lives.'" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
This astonishing novel is for any woman who has ever thought about changing her life, making peace with her past, and finding out the worth of the treasures in her attic.
This astonishing, wry novel is for any woman who has ever thought about changing a seemingly mundane life, making peace with her past, and the serendipity that can bring back an enthusiasm for life.
About the Author
Mameve Medwed is also the author of Mail, Host Family, The End of an Error, and How Elizabeth Barrett Browning Saved My Life (which received a 2007 Massachusetts Book Honor Award). Her stories, essays, and reviews have appeared in many publications including the Missouri Review, Redbook, the Boston Globe, Yankee, the Washington Post, and Newsday. Born in Maine, she and her husband have two sons and live in Cambridge, Massachusetts.