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In this nostalgic, richly textured autobiographical novel about growing up on a poor Irish block in Albany, N.Y., prolific author Trevanian (Shibumi; Hot Night in the City; etc.) recalls his childhood during the Great Depression through World War II. In 1936, six-year-old narrator Jean-Luc La Pointe, his mother and younger sister leave Lake George Village for a gritty tenement in Albany to reunite with their deadbeat father and husband. He never shows up, and the penniless family makes do on their own: Luke's mother finds work as a waitress, and he fetches day-old bread on credit from the Socialist Jewish grocer across the street while steering clear of the Meehans from down the block, "a wild, drunken, dim-witted tribe... related in complex and unnatural ways." Affectionate portraits of the titular eccentric women punctuate Trevanian's sprawling tale: Luke observes the beleaguered and self-destructive Mrs. Meehan and meets the reclusive Mrs. McGivney, who perpetually relives a happier past while caring for a catatonic husband. Luke's "defiantly independent" mother, another "crazylady," marries the decent upstairs neighbor, but continues to idealize her con-man first husband. Though Trevanian's reminiscences make for a more atmospheric than carefully wrought novel, he sweetly evokes an innocent if hardscrabble lost age. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
In 1936, in the Depression-era U.S., six-year-old Jean-Luc LaPointe; his three-year-old sister, Anne-Marie; and his mother, Ruby, are given a nugget of hope. The father and husband who abandoned them twice over has written claiming that after a stint in the slammer he's straightened out his life and wants them to come live with him. So Ruby packs up her children and heads to Albany, New York, to the shoddy, rundown apartment that's waiting for them on Pearl Street. Jean-Luc's father, however, is nowhere to be found, and Ruby is forced to go on welfare to support herself and her children. At school, Jean-Luc comes under the tutelage of a kindly teacher, who nurtures his potential and encourages him. It isn't long before the growing threat in Germany and the approach of World War II cast a shadow on Pearl Street, especially when Ben, the man with whom Ruby has found love, enlists in the army after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Trevanian's gift is his eye for detail; readers looking to get a feel for the period will find much to enjoy here. Kristine Huntley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.