Seven Wives: A Romance : a Novel

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University of Alabama Press, Jan 1, 1994 - Fiction - 181 pages
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A deliciously satirical postmodern romance, Seven Wives reimagines the search for an enduring passionate love. The too-much-loved narrator, Jack, an extension of the everyman hero of Baumbach's novel Reruns marries seven women, including a childhood sweetheart, an older woman who turns out to be an unacceptably near relation, the loveliest woman in the world, a woman so fat that sex with her becomes impossibly difficult, and a woman who confuses violence and love. Jack's quest for the perfect marriage is, of course, doomed to failure and ultimately leads him to the edge of madness, but it also produces seven bizarrely interesting near-misses along the way.
From his home in New York City, Jack tells his story after the fact, as a way of reclaiming himself. He obsesses not only about his search for the right woman but also about his quixotic pursuit of a version (or versions) of the American dream. Jack moves from cabdriver, to actor, to scriptwriter for pornographic movies, to entrepreneur, to Hollywood producer. Seven Wives treats marriage and career as inseparable pursuits on the same road to success. The two abiding issues of all of Baumbach's fiction - the erratic workings of the imagination and the even more erratic workings of the human heart - appear in their purest form in his latest novel.
  

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Seven wives: a romance: a novel

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If the mind were to dwell for too long on the ambivalence of love and relationships, one could end up inhabiting the nightmare world of Baumbach's latest novel. Here, the libido is as dangerous as ... Read full review

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Contents

Section 1
7
Section 2
9
Section 3
27
Section 4
45
Section 5
47
Section 6
67
Section 7
95
Section 8
123
Section 9
161
Section 10
183
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About the author (1994)

Jonathan Baumbach is the author of fourteen books of fiction, including "You, or The Invention of Memory"; "On the Way to My Father's Funeral: New and Selected Stories"; "B: A Novel"; "D-Tours"; "Separate Hours"; "Chez Charlotte and Emily"; "The Life and Times of Major Fiction"; "Reruns"; "Babble"; and "A Man to Conjure With". He has also published over ninety stories in such places as "Esquire", "Open City", and "Boulevard".
Baumbach, cofounder of the Fiction Collective in 1973, the first fiction writers cooperative in America, has seen his work widely praised. His short stories have been anthologized in "Best American Short Stories", "The PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories", and "The Best of TriQuarterly". The "New York Times Book Review" referred to him in 2004 as "an underappreciated writer. He employs a masterfully dispassionate, fiercely intelligent narrative voice whose seeming objectivity is always a faltering front for secret passion and despair.

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