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University of South Carolina Press, 1995 - Fiction - 355 pages
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One of Mary Lee Settle's richest and most compassionate novels, Celebration chronicles the love affair of a widowed American anthropologist and a Scottish geologist who meet in the British Museum. Set in 1969, the novel also tells the intertwining tales of the couple's diverse cast of friends - a gay English aristocrat and his Hong Kong love, a gargantuan Dinka Jesuit, a sexually subversive editor, a former colonial civil servant, and, as comic relief, an unwitting FBI agent. Despite the fact that these characters live in the most murderous of centuries and that many of them have encountered death in intimate fashion, they all choose to celebrate life. This joyful novel ends with a wedding, a funeral, and a celebration - all in London, though the celebrants travel from countries across the globe. Together they view one of the twentieth century's strangest events - the landing on the moon - a happening which seems to presage an even more displaced future.

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The search for love, faith, and a sense of belonging integrates this eccentric yet compassionate novel set in London in the Sixties. Teresa Cerrutti, widow of an American anthropologist tragically ... Read full review

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About the author (1995)

Historical fiction novelist Mary Lee Settle was born in Charleston, West Virginia on July 29, 1918. She attended Sweet Briar College in Virginia for two years, before becoming a fashion model. During World War II, she volunteered for service in the women's auxiliary arm of the Royal Air Force. After the war, she briefly worked as a magazine editor before deciding to become a full-time writer. She was also an associate professor at Bard College from 1965 to 1976 and taught at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Settle's experiences as the only American in a barracks full of British women is recalled in the book All the Brave Promises: Memories of Aircraft Woman 2nd Class 214391. Her massive work, The Beulah Quintet, tells the story of the state of West Virginia from 1754 to the present and begins with the journey of former English prisoners to West Virginia's Kanawha Valley. She won the National Book Award in 1978 for Blood Tie, which is the story of American and British expatriates in Turkey and was written while she was living there. A prevailing theme throughout all her novels is the struggle for freedom at all levels, including intimately, domestically, and historically. Settle died on September 27, 2005, at the age of 87, from lung cancer.

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