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The Dive From Clausen's Pier Hardcover – Apr 9 2002


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf (April 9 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375412824
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375412820
  • Product Dimensions: 24.1 x 16.6 x 3.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 612 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (313 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,687,116 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Amazon

Carrie Bell is the worst person in the world. Or so she would have you think. In the gripping, carefully paced debut novel of personal epiphany, The Dive from Clausen's Pier, by O. Henry Award winner Ann Packer, Carrie's very survival is dependent upon her leaving her fiancé, even after he dives into shallow water at a Memorial Day picnic and becomes paralyzed. Things hadn't been going so well for the Madison, Wisconsin, high school and college sweethearts. Carrie knew, deep down, that she wasn't going to become Mrs. Michael Mayer. But expectations and pressure from all sides--his family, her mother, her best friend Jamie, Mike's best friend Rooster--force Carrie to shut herself up in her room and sew outfits of her own design as if in a trance. Then one night she slips out of the only universe she's ever known. Many hours later she finds herself on the doorstep of a high school classmate living in Manhattan. Carrie's adventures in the city--quirky roommates and a new romance with an older, emotionally impenetrable man--confuse her in her quest both to forgive herself and to embark on a career in fashion design. Packer writes in a convincing voice and packs a lot into this novel; she infuses Carrie with enough humanity and smarts to choose her own version of "happily ever after." --Emily Russin

From Publishers Weekly

Packer's engrossing debut novel begins without ostentation. On Memorial Day, Carrie Bell and her fiance, Mike Mayer, drive out to Clausen's Pier for their annual ritual, a picnic with their friends, a trip they make the way a middle-aged couple might, in grudging silence. Before their resentments can be aired, Mike dives into too shallow water, suffering injuries that change their lives. If Mike survives, he will survive as a quadriplegic, and Carrie faces unexpected responsibilities. Ultimately, Carrie does what is both understandable and unthinkable. She leaves her hometown of Madison, Wis., and shows up on the doorstep of a friend in New York City. There she discovers a different world, different friends and a different self. The hovering question--what will Carrie do? Abandon Mike or return to him?--generates genuine suspense. Packer portrays her characters--both New Yorkers and Madisonites--deftly, and her scenes unfold with uncommon clarity. But if Packer has a keen eye, she has an even keener ear. The dialogue is usually witty; more important, it is always surprising, as if the characters were actually thinking--one of the reasons they become as familiar to the reader as childhood friends. The recipient of several awards, Packer is also the author of Mendocino and Other Stories. Clearly, she has honed her skills writing short fiction. What is unexpected is the assurance she brings to a larger canvas. In quiet but beautiful prose, Packer tells a complex and subtly constructed story of friendship, love and the hold the past has on the present. This is the sort of book one reads dying to know what happens to the characters, but loves for its wisdom: it sees the world with more clarity than you do.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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First Sentence
MIKE ALWAYS TEASED me about my memory, about how I could go back years and years to what people were wearing on a given occasion, right down to their jewelry or shoes. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Komal Kapoor-cantlie on June 13 2003
Format: Paperback
True that this book was a good read, a quick read is probably better but it was very unrealistic. Her main character, a 20 something, self involved, midwestern girl was not very likeable. I agree, everyone needs to find themselves but the way Packer has her heroine do it is disjointed at best. How convenient that she takes off for New York and happens to find a place to live without rent, that she happens to find Kilroy, she has no worries about walking about the city, her safety, or money. She is ALLOWED to find herself at her leisure. She comes and goes out of people's lives at will, seemingly ruining them, and is, for the most part, forgiven by them. That is not real life, not for anyone. Her emotions are banal and the dialogue is fragmented and nonsubstantive. The library did not have the books I wanted to read so I picked this one up and recommend that if you like some meat to your books, this won't do the trick. If, however, you need to be mildly amused this is the book for you.
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By Ms Ennui on July 17 2004
Format: Paperback
I just finished this book today. I have nothing bad to say about it. This book is so interesting and tackles such an interesting subject, Packer writes beautifully, and I absolutely could not put it down until I was finished. I think that the reader who said it was so boring they couldn't keep reading... lacks literary maturity...perhaps that reader was too young to appreciate it. I rarely recommend books to my friends but I will definitely recommend this. I think a good book (or a good movie) is one that you will think back to one day, long after you have read it, and I am sure I will think back to this one. Another criteria I have is that a bad book, I could put down in the middle and forget about it and not even care what happens at the end. But with this book, I was genuinely interested in what was going to happen to all the characters. The book made me think. I am also eagerly awaiting the author's next book. I can't believe this is her FIRST novel! It was impressive in every sense- plot, dialogue, everything. A++++++++
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Format: Hardcover
It's been 14 years since I last picked up a book, just to read for enjoyment. So why am I writing this review? I want to share a book that made me read. That made me ENJOY reading again. But this time with great passion for the written word.
Why did I choose this book? As my three old would say, "Just because." No rhyme or reason, no great prodding from friends as "you must read this book!" I remember Charles Gibson & Diane Sawyer announce this last yr. on Good Morning America, for their "READ THIS" Book Club. The title always stayed in the back of my mind. All I wanted was a book I just didn't want to put down. I wanted to get lost for awhile...
It's a story that will take you on a journey you never thought you would end up taking. Carrie Bell, a woman knowing that there is something out there calling her. What that something is, only she will know. It will hit her with a force that is numbing, stinging, painful, soothing, and uplifting. Mike Mayer, her fiance of eight years, knows that their love is the real deal. But he senses the long casting shadows of change. Just as the Autumn season brings to Madison, WI. There are a cast of characters that we all know in our own lives, that fill Carrie's life. The impact, the footsteps that are left behind when they walk in and out of Carrie's world. But Carrie's mother, a woman who has her own sense of balance, shows her that sometimes you must listen to the quietness that life brings. It's that quietness that brings strength to Carrie.
This book gripped me like nothing before. I've been longing for a book that would quietly call me. In the darkness of the early morning hours, I found myself yearning to grasp this book and devoring it like a fine meal with all it's richness.
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By A Customer on June 29 2004
Format: Paperback
This is the tale of small-town girl Carrie Bell, who has had the same friends and boyfriend since she was in high school. At 23, this no longer seems like such a good thing, and she longs for a change of pace. She is contemplating leaving her fiance, but tragedy strikes, and he becomes a quadrepalegic after a silly diving accident. She must decide whether to do the right thing, and stay with him, or be true to herself, and leave.
This story revolved around this complicated question. I have read several reviews where Carrie is torn to shreds for what readers have characterized as her coldness and selfishness. To me, this quality is not descriptive of Carrie. She makes some choices that hurt people, but I viewed her as the most troubled character in the novel.
Also, I disagree with reviewers who said the dialogue was poorly written. As I read, I was thinking just the opposite: the dialogue sounded so authentic that I could imagine talking with my friends that way. I thought this novel was beautifully written all the way around, from dialogue to descriptions to the richly-developed characters of Carrie and her acquaintances. I also loved the sewing metaphors.
This is a fast-paced but thought-provoking story that I simply couldn't put down. I am eagerly awaiting the next novel from this author.
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