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Ann Packer received the Great Lakes Book Award and the Kate Chopin Writing Award for The Dive from Clausen's Pier, a national bestseller that has been translated into ten languages. Also the author of Mendocino and Other Stories, she lives in northern California with her family.
A compelling, heartbreaking and beautifully written novel. Friendships and relationships are taken for granted until an earth shattering event throws everything up in the air and everything the characters thought they knew about each other is thrown in to turmoil. Sensitively written and thoroughly absorbing.
A Vintage Shorts ';Short Story Month' Selection Virginia, a copywriter at an ad agency, looks around her office one day and realizes that everyonewell, nearly everyoneis pregnant. Can she be happy for them? ';Babies,' included in the prestigious O. Henry anthology series in 1992, is a sharply funny and perfectly observed story of pregnancy, city living, the semantic contradiction of ';creative directors,' and finding one's place in the world. A selection from Ann Packer's luminous first collection Mendocino and Other Stories. An eBook short.
The Dive from Clausen's Pier is one of those small miracles that reinforce our faith in fiction. It does what the best novels so often do, making the largest things visible by its perfect rendering of life on the smaller scale. It is witty, tragic and touching, and beguiling from the first page. --Scott Turow A riveting novel about loyalty and self-knowledge, and the conflict between who we want to be to others and who we must be for ourselves. Carrie Bell has lived in Wisconsin all her life. Shes had the same best friend, the same good relationship with her mother, the same boyfriend, Mike, now her fianc, for as long as anyone can remember. Its with real surprise she finds that, at age twenty-three, her life has begun to feel suffocating. She longs for a change, an upheaval, for a chance to begin again.That chance is granted to her, terribly, when Mike is injured in an accident. Now Carrie has to question everything she thought she knew about herself and the meaning of home. She must ask: How much do we owe the people we love? Is it a sign of strength or of weakness to walk away from someone in need?The Dive from Clausens Pier reminds us how precarious our lives are and how quickly they can be divided into before and after, whether by random accident or by the force of our own desires. It begins with a disaster that could happen, out of the blue, in anybodys life, and it forces us to ask how we would bear up in the face of tragedy and what we know, or think we know, about our deepest allegiances. Elegantly written and ferociously paced, emotionally nuanced and morally complex, The Dive from Clausens Pier marks the emergence of a prodigiously gifted new novelist.
From the New York Times bestselling, award-winning author of The Dive From Clausen’s Pier, a sweeping, masterful new novel that explores the secrets and desires, the remnant wounds and saving graces of one California family, over the course of five decades.Bill Blair finds the land by accident, three wooded acres in a rustic community south of San Francisco. The year is 1954, long before anyone will call this area Silicon Valley. Struck by a vision of the family he has yet to create, Bill buys the property on a whim. In Penny Greenway he finds a suitable wife, a woman whose yearning attitude toward life seems compelling and answerable, and they marry and have four children. Yet Penny is a mercurial housewife, at a time when women chafed at the conventions imposed on them. She finds salvation in art, but the cost is high. Thirty years later, the three oldest Blair children, adults now and still living near the family home, are disrupted by the return of the youngest, whose sudden presence and all-too-familiar troubles force a reckoning with who they are, separately and together, and set off a struggle over the family’s future. One by one, the siblings take turns telling the story—Robert, a doctor like their father; Rebecca, a psychiatrist; Ryan, a schoolteacher; and James, the malcontent, the problem child, the only one who hasn’t settled down—their narratives interwoven with portraits of the family at crucial points in their history. Reviewers have praised Ann Packer’s “brilliant ear for character” (The New York Times Book Review), her “naturalist’s vigilance for detail, so that her characters seem observed rather than invented” (The New Yorker), and the “utterly lifelike quality of her book’s everyday detail” (The New York Times). Her talents are on dazzling display in The Children’s Crusade, an extraordinary study in character, a rare and wise examination of the legacy of early life on adult children attempting to create successful families and identities of their own. This is Ann Packer’s most deeply affecting book yet.
From Ann Packer, author of the New York Times best-selling novels The Dive from Clausens Pier and Songs Without Words, a collection of burnished, emotionally searing stories, framed by two unforgettable linked narratives that express the transformation of a single family over the course of a lifetime.A wife struggles to make sense of her husbands sudden disappearance. A mother mourns her teenage son through the music collection he left behind. A woman shepherds her estranged parents through her brothers wedding and reflects on the year her family collapsed. A young man comes to grips with the joyand vulnerabilityof fatherhood. And, in the masterly opening novella, two teenagers from very different families forge a sustaining friendship, only to discover the disruptive and unsettling power of sex.Ann Packer is one of our most talented archivists of family life, with its hidden crevasses and unforeseeable perils, and in these stories she explores the moral predicaments that define our social and emotional lives, the frailty of ordinary grace, and the ways in which we are shattered and remade by loss. With Swim Back to Me, she delivers shimmering psychological precision, unfailing intelligence, and page-turning drama: her most enticing work yet.From the Hardcover edition.
Carrie Bell was born and raised in Wisconsin. She's had the same best friend, the same good relationship with her mother, the same boyfriend for as long as anyone can remember. She is already quietly bored with Mike when he is horrifically injured in a diving accident at Clausen's Reservoir. Now the future that Carrie was only beginning to rebel against looks set in stone. Everyone thinks they know what Carrie will - and ought to - do. But Carrie is caught in a maze of moral dilemmas and is forced to question everything she thought she knew about herself. It is a moment of terrifying confusion, but also of mesmerising possibility.
Ann Packers debut novel, The Dive from Clausens Pier, was a nationwide bestseller that established her as one of our most gifted chroniclers of the interior lives of women. Now, in her long-awaited second novel, she takes us on a journey into a lifelong friendship pushed to the breaking point. Liz and Sarabeth were childhood neighbors in the suburbs of northern California, brought as close as sisters by the suicide of Sarabeths mother when the girls were just sixteen. In the decades that followedthrough Lizs marriage and the birth of her children, through Sarabeths attempts to make a happy life for herself despite the shadow cast by her mothers acttheir relationship remained a source of continuity and strength. But when Lizs adolescent daughter enters dangerous waters that threaten to engulf the family, the fault lines in the womens friendship are revealed, and both Liz and Sarabeth are forced to reexamine their most deeply held beliefs about their connection. SONGS WITHOUT WORDS is about the sometimes confining roles we take on in our closest relationships, about the familial myths that shape us both as children and as parents, and about the limitsand the powerof the friendships we create when we are young.