The Dive From Clausen's Pier Hardcover – Apr 9 2002
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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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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
Most recent customer reviews
This is by far one of the best books I have read. The only other two that I recently came across which were as good were "The Bark of the Dogwood" and "The Lovely... Read morePublished on July 18 2004
This book is extremely compelling, even with oveflowing, and sometimes seemingly useless, detail. While I found it heart-breaking in more ways then one, it's not only a good read,... Read morePublished on June 28 2004
This book is so over-filled with so many details and descriptions that are actually distracting from what could be a good story. Read morePublished on June 22 2004
There are not many books that I bother to write reviews on but this one is worth my time (there were only two others in all). Carrie is a wonderful character. Read morePublished on June 11 2004
Wonderfully written, this book had me from the first sentence. I had heard so much about Ann Packer but never seemed to get around to her. Boy and I glad I did. Read morePublished on June 6 2004
I have two friends who are married to paraplegics, and they say it ain't like this, that it's not realistic. But as a book, a story, The Dive from Claussen's Pier works just fine. Read morePublished on June 5 2004 by Peggy Vincent
The Dive from Clausen's Pier is a beautiful, well written story of 23-year-old Carrie Bell, a young woman from Madison, Wisconsin. Read morePublished on May 28 2004 by CoffeeGurl
The author had the opportunity to make a rich novel. Instead it is a book that will eventually make its way to the clearance table at the bookstore.Published on May 17 2004 by snowblaze
Carrie Bell has to be the most selfish woman I have ever read. I was outraged at her behavior when her fiance is tragically injured in a diving accident. Read morePublished on May 2 2004 by Kay Bunny