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Book Title: A Long and Happy Life|
The author of the book: Reynolds Price
Date of issue: December 21st 1987
ISBN 13: 9780689119477
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 4.44 MB
Edition: Scribner Book Company
Read full description of the books A Long and Happy Life:Here is the story of Rosacoke Mustian, a young woman living in rural North Carolina, who is as sensitive as any poet and as deep as a spring well. She loves a boy who does not understand or need her, nor does he call her by name very often. For Rosacokes, Wesley “hadn’t seen that every question she asked was aimed for the one she couldn’t ask, which was did he love her or didn’t he.” This seems to be the emotional crux of the plot , which is woven through scenes of country life that are vivid and beautiful: a funeral, a church-sponsored picnic at a lake, a baby’s death, the visiting of neighbors both white and black, watching deer, and a Christmas play. Simple stuff, but the nuance and subtle perceptions of Rosacoke’s world view are profoundly human. The flight of birds marks her emotional growth – which a reader can follow in Rosa’s internalized conversations with cardinals and hawks. In contrast to nature’s birds is the mechanical swoop of airplanes and motorcycles that seem to define Wesley’s passions. His apparent disregard for Rosacoke’s heart might have something to do with that “machine between his legs” that he rides “like a snake,” speeding around corners and leaving a wake of dust behind him. Or perhaps he is just an unsentimental practical young man who cannot fathom the complex mind and heart of this girl who wants something from him. The resolution of their relationship is interesting and maddeningly weird.
The writing is brilliantly Faulknerian. Rosacokes reminds me of Darl from “As I Lay Dying” in that her eyes follow the land, watch the birds, and try to make contact with the gaze of others while creating visionary poetry in her own mind.
The colloquial speech of the characters is beautiful and hilarious. After Rosacokes arrives at a picnic via Wesley’s motorcycle, her mother describes her thusly: “You look like you rode in on a circular saw.” You gotta laugh; what a perfect description! Later there is: “he didn’t have no more will power than a flying squirrel,” and “money got scarce as hens’ back teeth,” and Willie Duke’s breasts while swimming as “God’s own water wings.”
I was very happy reading this book.
Read information about the authorReynolds Price was born in Macon, North Carolina in 1933. Educated at Duke University and, as a Rhodes Scholar, at Merton College, Oxford University. He taught at Duke since 1958 and was James B. Duke Professor of English.
His first short stories, and many later ones, are published in his Collected Stories. A Long and Happy Life was published in 1962 and won the William Faulkner Award for a best first novel. Kate Vaiden was published in 1986 and won the National Book Critics Circle Award. The Good Priest's Son in 2005 was his fourteenth novel. Among his thirty-seven volumes are further collections of fiction, poetry, plays, essays, and translations. Price is a member of both the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and his work has been translated into seventeen languages.
Photo courtesy of Reynolds Price's author page on Amazon.com
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