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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: 89 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.
5 of 5 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
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?
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Glad I stuck with it after a shaky beginning for me. March 12 2012
By Kim Karas - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product
I found the book a little rough to get into at the beginning. It took a while for me to have a good grasp of the characters, sorting out who is who and how they get along. As we follow them through the stages of life from boarding school days all the way through to grandparent days, you really do get to know and care about the characters and their families and circumstances. There is a little bit of everything here in the way of different types of relationships. They may start at the common ground of the school they attend, some by natural privilege and others by scholarship, some fit in well while others struggle to make their way there. It's interesting to see these young women grown into themselves and their lives. Beth Gutcheon offers an examination of dating, marriage, affairs, parenthood, divorce... it's all in there. The title "Gossip" may lead you to think there is a lot of gossip going on in the story when really that isn't the case. Gossip is more of a background factor but it holds it's place and presence throughout the story in a subtle way. It means just as much what people do with what information they hear, what to believe and how to react. The main focus here is on the women and life and it leads in places you might not expect.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
"Maybe None Of Us Recognize Cruelty In Ourselves" Aug. 6 2012
By Susan K. Schoonover - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product
With its setting among the East Coast elite Beth Gutcheon's latest book GOSSIP reminded me of the novels Stephen Birmingham and Dominick Dunne used to write. The book is narrated by Loviah (Lovie). Lovie comes from an old New England family who has lost most of its money and she is forced to attend her elite boarding school on scholarship and skip college to go to work in New York's world of high fashion. She never loses touch with her friends from boarding school and her longstanding friendships with two of them, Dinah and Avis, are a major focus of the novel.

The book ends with a tragic crime that is foreshadowed heavily throughout the storyline. There are some interesting subplots along the way and the best thing about the book is Gutcheon's portrait of upper class Manhattan life from roughly 1960 to sometime near the present. This is not Beth Gutcheon's best book but it is a quick and well written story told with intelligence that touches on some intriguing themes in regards to friendship, confidences, gossip and cruelty.

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