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Gossip (Lib)(CD) Audio CD – Mar 20 2012

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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Books on Tape (March 20 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0449009394
  • ISBN-13: 978-0449009390
  • Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 15.7 x 3.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 295 g

Product Description


“[E]nthralling . . . triumphant and true.” (Boston Globe) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

The critically acclaimed author of Good-bye and Amen, Leeway Cottage, and More Than You Know returns with a sharply perceptive and emotionally resonant novel about all the ways we talk about one another, the sometimes fine line between showing concern and doing damage, and the difficulty of knowing the true obligations of friendship

Beth Gutcheon

"Did you know that the origin of the word gossip in English is 'god-sibling'? It's the talk between people who are godparents to the same child, people who have a legitimate loving interest in the person they talk about. It's talk that weaves a net of support and connection beneath the people you want to protect."

Loviah "Lovie" French owns a small, high-end dress shop on Manhattan's Upper East Side. Renowned for her taste and discretion, Lovie is the one to whom certain women turn when they need "just the thing" for major life events—baptisms and balls, weddings and funerals—or when they just want to dish in the dressing room. Among the people who depend on Lovie's confidence are her two best friends since boarding school: Dinah Wainwright and Avis Metcalf.

Outspoken and brimming with confidence, Dinah made a name for herself as a columnist covering the doings of New York's wealthiest and most fabulous. Shy, proper Avis, in many ways Dinah's opposite, rose to prominence in the art world with her quiet manners, hard work, and precise judgment. Despite the deep affection they both feel for Lovie, they have been more or less allergic to each other since a minor incident decades earlier that has been remembered and resented with what will prove to be unimaginable consequences.

These uneasy acquaintances become unwillingly bound to each other when Dinah's favorite son and Avis's only daughter fall in love and marry. On the surface, Nick and Grace are the perfect match—a playful, romantic, buoyant, and beautiful pair. But their commitment will be strained by time and change: career setbacks, reckless choices, the birth of a child, jealousies, and rumor. At the center of their orbit is Lovie, who knows everyone's secrets and manages them as wisely as she can. Which is not wisely enough, as things turn out—a fact that will have a shattering effect on all their lives.

An astute chronicler of everything that makes us human, Beth Gutcheon delivers her most powerful and emotionally devastating novel to date. Gossip is a tale of intimacy and betrayal, trust and fidelity, friendship, competition, and motherhood that explores the myriad ways we use and abuse "information" about others—be it true, false, or imagined—to sustain, and occasionally destroy, one another.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 88 reviews
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
A great story well worth reading. April 5 2012
By Book Him Danno - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Loviah French is stuck. Having come from the wrong side of the tracks she has gotten into an elite prep school on scholarship. While there she belongs without belonging, ultimately graduating with two opposite, but life long friends. Instead of attending college like them, she instead interns with a high end dress shop, ultimately becoming an in-demand dresser for the rich and famous; including her friends. She has a relationship with a married family man, stealing bits of time and happiness around his life. She is a women stuck on the edge of all the grand social status that New York has to offer, but is never quite able to take those final steps into that sphere.

The story of her two friends is told through the eyes of Loviah, as she goes from awkward teen to matronly godmother. And it is the term godparent that the title gossip is derived from. In the book the word gossip was a historical term for the godparents, as it would be their job to talk about the godchild over the years. Gossip was a good thing discussing a child you both loved. We see this talk between Loviah and her wild roommate Dinah, always the contrarian; and between Avis, the older more prim and proper girl.

The two opposing friends endure each other for the sake of their love of Loviah; and ultimately they are fused together, for better and for worse, through their association for her. I see this book as Loviah's endless struggle to love both her friends without disparaging the other. To balance their eccentricities and walk the highroad; to be a good friend.

What is never explicitly discussed in the book, but is central is how Loviah must have walked her own path through life. A scholarship girl, who works in a service capacity to the society women, who also is having an open affair with a married man; her life must have been subject to the small minded gossipers who definitely did not have her best interests at heart. Her experiences must have refined her so much that she is able to hold her head up high, to proudly be a friend to those around her.

One of my favorite quotes in life is to treat all those you meet as damaged in some way, having secret struggles, and most of the time you would be right. Loviah's is a life that has seen a lot of struggles, yet she triumphs as a friend. Through all the vicissitudes of life, she is there for the ones she loves, even if they do not necessarily care for each other. It should be noted that this book finishes with a bang a little out of step with the first 85%, but in a good way. Sort of sprinting for the tape at the end of a race. A great story well worth reading.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Really Well Told June 13 2012
By bas bleu - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product
My first impression as I was reading through this novel; why is it entitled Gossip? Is it a grabber title to get us gals to want to read it? Then I started thinking perhaps what one person considers gossip another person attaches a different meaning to. I concluded, for myself anyway, that the gossip is we the readers being told this story about peoples lives. We are privy to what one character thinks about another, we are let in on secrets about the other characters that if the author was telling these things in person about real people , well, it would most definitely be gossip.

I like that this excellent author brings to the pages that we are all damaged goods, this gives us all some common ground no matter where we are from or what our station in life is. This story flows and is next to impossible to put down. I found myself thinking about certain characters 2 weeks after I was done with the book, it just kind of sticks with you. The personalities are so varied,the characters, thoughts, choices, morals, plans, dreams, crisis, dramas,losses and ideas are as individual to each characters as they are to living, breathing people we know. Communicating this in a way which not only keeps the readers interest but leaves one feeling as if they know the characters is a gift.
I found myself comparing some of my thoughts ,beliefs, actions and reactions to some of the characters, sort of looking in my own inner mirror. When a novel, can have that effect it deserves to be read and enjoyed. I cannot wait to read some other titles by this lady. BRAVO -- well done.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A plodding read April 27 2012
By Z Hayes - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product
This is the sort of book that I would usually pass on reading, but I was intrigued by the premise of three women, their friendships and relationships. The story spans the 1960s till post 9/11 NYC and this would have been incredibly interesting if not for the author's chosen style of narration. The story moves back and forth between the past and the present, and though the author's writing is good (in fact, I appreciated her word choices in describing events and people), the non-linear narrative style made it difficult for me to keep track of all that was going on involving the various characters. This just wasn't my cup of tea.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Laurel-Rain Snow - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Friendships born in prep school days, and which continue into adulthood and old age, form the core of Gossip: A Novel, that reads like a powerful and emotional chronicle of intimacy and betrayal, trust and fidelity, friendship and motherhood...and explores the way we use "information" to sustain, and occasionally destroy, one another.

Narrated by Loviah French, who runs a small, high-end dress shop on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, we are privy to her inner thoughts and feelings as she tells the story. She shows her feelings, her fears, and the connections she has to the people who surround her in her somewhat solitary life.

Dinah Wainwright was one of Loviah's school friends who seemed to know exactly what to do in every situation. She commented on everything and seemed to have the right connections. She was readily accepted.

After college, she became a writer about family, food, furniture, or fashion; she went to art openings, book parties, and even celebrity functions. At one point, she headed up a column called "Dinah Might."

Avis Binney was almost a total opposite, quietly living her life with impeccable social credentials. Her stepmother Belinda became a beloved mother figure to Avis, Loviah, and many of their friends.

Over the years, through marriages that fail for various reasons, the connections between the women remain. However, some have frayed with time, resentments, and the inevitable pull of other connections.

When Dinah's son Nicky marries Avis's daughter Grace, the union seems to promise a better future for the old friends, albeit with some competition between the women when the child is born.

What bitterness held by Dinah and manifested in little "blind items" in the society pages creates a core of ill will? How will this emotion come back to haunt her? How will Nick's problems maintaining his various pursuits affect his marriage? And in what ways will the inevitable fall-out descend upon them all?

The story told through Loviah's eyes felt like a conversation. At times, she even uses the terms "you know how it was" or "we all know" about various aspects of what she's describing. Personalizing the story in this way made it incredibly touching and helped me really connect with the characters.

The astounding finale blindsided me, and yet I could also sense something coming; lest I leave any spoilers, let me just say that it was chilling. Gutcheon is a fabulous storyteller, and this story in particular earned five stars from me. I recommend it for everyone who has ever maintained long term friendships and can testify to the damage wrought over time by the little things that chip away at those connections.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
From Blah To Shocking, From Bad To Skillful . . . . June 2 2012
By Sunday - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Good this book is entitled Gossip: A Novel, or the reader would never know gossip was one of the main themes of the story. Yes, there is some gossip in it, but it certainly did not seem to "sustain" or "destroy" anyone, as described in the book's description on the back of the ARC. The one person totally destroyed in the story did not seem to be destroyed by someone motivated by gossip--either the current gossip or possible future gossip--but instead by someone more motivated by smoldering hatred and possibly a secret life.

It's probably best to just see this book as the story of three women who meet at boarding school in 1960, and who continue to associate with each other in New York up until their sixties. Lovie Walker, who owns a dress shop in Manhattan, is the narrator and not a very good one at that, at least not until the end of the book. That is what is so odd about Gossip: A Novel. Most of the story is told in a very blah way . . . blah, blah, blah. Then, towards the end, something shocking happens, and the book begins to seem like a totally different book--a much, much better one. It's like Ms. Gutcheon suddenly became a much better writer, and the story was just beginning. Only, the story was actually ending. And when it does end, the reader is left wondering why was the story told in such a blah, blah, blah way throughout most of the book?

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