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Wish you were here
Stewart O'Nan
Adult Fiction O'NAN

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From Publishers' Weekly:

O'Nan relies on a patient accumulation of detail instead of a focused dramatic arc to achieve a Vermeer-like realism in his latest novel. His strategy is to record minutely the thoughts and actions of all nine members of the extended Maxwell family as they spend a week at their family summer house, until their smallest gestures become familiar to the reader. Now that her husband, Henry, is dead, Emily Maxwell, the matriarch of the clan, is selling the family retreat near Chautauqua, N.Y. Emily and her sister-in-law, Arlene, drive up together from Pittsburgh for a last summer visit; Emily's son, Ken, and his wife, Lise, come next with their two children; and finally Emily's daughter, Meg, and Meg's son and daughter arrive. For seven days the Maxwells interact, with Emily's disappointment in her children prompting them to assess their lives themselves. Meg, a recovering alcoholic, is in the middle of a divorce. Kenneth is a failed photographer, whose latest low-paying job is in a photo lab. Lise, his wife, dislikes Emily, and is jealous of Ken and Meg's closeness. The children, whose tensions are wholly other than those of the adults, are tracked just as closely, with O'Nan's account of Ken's 13-year-old daughter Ella's budding crush on her cousin Sarah, also 13, becoming one of the high points of the novel. Various subplots evolve, especially one concerning a kidnapped local store clerk. At times the story is smothered by its own accumulative logic; yet in clinging so relentlessly to the surface of his world, O'Nan slowly pulls the reader into it. Agent, David Gernert, the Gernert Company. 9-city author tour. (May) Forecast: O'Nan refuses to be pigeonholed this slice-of-middle-class-life novel follows the nonfiction Circus Fire and the inner-city novel Everyday People. The appealing ordinariness of its subject should make it one of his more accessible and better-selling books. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

A family gather one last time at their summer home before selling it and the fireworks begin. From one of Granta's Best Young American Novelists. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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more titles about

main characters Emily Maxwell
Female
Age: Senior citizen
Widow
Her family is gathered for the last time in their summer home before she sells it.

Ken Maxwell
Male
Married
Emily's son.
Photographer

Meg
Female
Divorced
Angry; Emily's daughter.

Arlene
Female
Age: Senior citizen
Retired
Emily's sister-in-law.
Teacher



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