October Light

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New Directions Publishing, Sep 21, 2005 - Fiction - 399 pages
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Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award. New Directions is excited to reissue the Gardner classics, beginning with October Light, a complex relationship rendered in a down-to-earth narrative. October Light is one of John Gardner's masterworks. The penniless widow of a once-wealthy dentist, Sally Abbot now lives in the Vermont farmhouse of her older brother, 72-year-old James Page. Polar opposites in nearly every way, their clash of values turns a bitter corner when the exacting and resolute James takes a shotgun to his sister's color television set. After he locks Sally up in her room with the trashy blockbuster novel that has consumed her (and only apples to eat), the novel-within-the-novel becomes an echo chamber providing glimpses into the history of the family that spawned these bizarre, sad, and stubborn people. Gardner uses the turbulent siblings as a stepping-off point from which he expands upon the lives of their extended families, and the rural community that surrounds them. He also engages larger issues of how liberals and conservatives define themselves, and considers those moments when life transcends all their arguments.
 

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October light

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A story within a story, Gardner's 1976 title finds destitute widow Sally Abbot forced to live with her brother, who, after numerous clashes, locks her in a room with food and a book. The story she reads mimics her own. Read full review

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Contents

Section 1
3
Section 2
4
Section 3
6
Section 4
8
Section 5
14
Section 6
34
Section 7
56
Section 8
70
Section 12
96
Section 13
170
Section 14
199
Section 15
206
Section 16
215
Section 17
244
Section 18
244
Section 19
341

Section 9
75
Section 10
88
Section 11
94
Section 20
386
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About the author (2005)

John Gardner (1933-1982) was a popular and controversial author. He wrote several best-selling novels, including Grendel, The Sunlight Dialogues, Nickel Mountain, and October Light (which won the National Critics Circle Award in 1976), and The Art of Fiction, an essay text now standard in university writing classes, and On Moral Fiction, a book so scandalous it almost destroyed his career.

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