Jamesland

Front Cover
A.A. Knopf, 2003 - Fiction - 381 pages
4 Reviews
"How do people live in this world? "is a question that seems to hover, alongside the Hollywood sign, over the neighborhood of Los Feliz. Certainly Pete Ross wonders as much, his run as a successful chef, husband, and father having imploded so spectacularly as to land him back in the fraught care of his mother. Similarly, Alice Black's life-hinging as it does on a married boyfriend-is yet pending, and Helen Harland's ministry has thus far failed to enchant her new congregants. Meanwhile, at the retirement home down the street, Alice's aunt Kate lives in a world whose most vivid presence is her distinguished ancestor William James.
Each of them, then, is trying to divine who or what is both missing and essential. They encounter one another-and several significant others besides-at Helen's midweek service, and amidst the quotidian tumult their particular desires gradually dovetail in a quest not just for romance and friendship but also for deeper meaning in what one of them calls "the variety show of religious experience."
Hilarious, surprising, and powerfully engaging, Jamesland displays Michelle Huneven's subtle understanding of our steadfast hopes and irregular impulses, a humane comedy she shapes with-as the "Los Angeles Times" wrote of her first novel-"moral nerve, sharp wit, and uncommon generosity."


Michelle Huneven received a Whiting Writers' Award in 2002, and has also won a GE Younger Writers Award in Fiction and a James Beard Award. She is presently a restaurant reviewer for the "LA Weekly," Her first novel, "Round Rock," was named a "New York Times" Notable Book and a "Los Angeles Times" Best Book of the Year. She lives in Altadena, California.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - KidSisyphus - LibraryThing

Two hard-luck cases make good and live happily ever after. Huneven can really write setting, but her characters can get bogged down at times (one in particular suffers from a bit of genteel ecumenical effluvium). Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - RachelWeaver - LibraryThing

I think some books are victims of our expectations. This book is one of them for me. I picked up this book based on the recommendation of a fellow bookseller who said he secretly divided the world ... Read full review

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2003)

Michelle Huneven received a Whiting Writers’ Award in 2002, and has also won a GE Younger Writers Award in Fiction and a James Beard Award. She is presently a restaurant reviewer for the LA Weekly. Her first novel, Round Rock, was named a New York Times Notable Book and a Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year. She lives in Altadena, California.

Bibliographic information