the feast of love charles baxter
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The feast of love charles baxter

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To find out how things play out for this extraordinary bunch of ostensibly ordinary Midwesterners, pick up this funny, sad, gorgeous novel. Gabriella Stern - Wall Street Journal. Baxter First Light , Harmony of the World , Believers has for too long been a writer's writer whose books have enjoyed more admirers than sales.

Pantheon appears confident that his new novel can be his breakout work. It certainly deserves to be. In a buoyant, eloquent and touching narrative, Baxter breaks rules blithely as he goes along, and the reader's only possible response is to realize how absurd rules can be. Baxter begins, for example, as himself, the author, waking in the middle of the night and going out onto the predawn streets of Ann Arbor where Baxter in fact lives.

Meeting a neighbor, Bradley Smith, with his dog, also called Bradley, he is told the first of the spellbinding stories of love—erotic, wistful, anxious, settled, ecstatic and perverse—that make up the book, woven seamlessly together so they form a virtuosic ensemble performance. The small cast includes Bradley, who runs the local coffee shop called Jitters; Diana, a tough-minded lawyer and customer he unwisely marries after the breakup of his first marriage to dog-phobic Kathryn; Diana's dangerous lover, David; Chloe and Oscar, two much-pierced punksters who are also Jitters people and who enjoy the kind of sensual passion older people warn will never last, but that for them lasts beyond the grave; Oscar's evil and lustful dad; philosophy professor Ginsberg, who pines for his missing and beloved son, Aaron; and Margaret, the black emergency room doctor with whom Bradley eventually finds a kind of peace.

The action takes place over an extended period, but such is the magic of Baxter's telling that it seems to be occurring in the author's mind on that one heady midsummer night.

His special gift is to catch the exact pitch of a dozen voices in an astutely observed group of contemporary men and women, yet retain an authorial presence capable of the most exquisite shadings of emotion and passion, longing and regret. Some magical things seem to happen, even in Ann Arbor, but the true magic in this luminous book is the seemingly effortless ebb and flow of the author's clear-sighted yet deeply poetic vision.

Publishers Weekly. The different longings people subsume within the actions of loving others are explored with wry affection: an extremely likable third novel from the celebrated author Believers , ; Shadow Play , , etc.

It consists of stories told to author Charles Baxter by several of his mutually involved neighbors, beginning when Charlie, strolling his hometown's nearly deserted streets on an insomniac midsummer night, sneaks into Michigan Stadium and observes a young couple making love on the football field's yard line, then meets his neighbor Bradley Smith, who not entirely credibly pours out the tale of losing his wife Kathryn to another woman.

The Feast of Love achieves an eccentric, fascinating rhythm about halfway through, when its characters' now-established individual stories begin bouncing off one another intriguingly. The novel is quite skillfully if unconventionally plotted, and grips the reader's emotions surely as Baxter connects its distinctive dots during some absorbing climactic actions, when the genuine love between Chloe and Oscar two wonderfully realized characters takes on an unexpected maturity and gravity.

Just a shade too warm and fuzzy to be fully successful, but awfully entertaining nevertheless. And the Joycean monologue spoken by Chloe and graceful acknowledgement of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream , with which Baxter ends this rueful tale of romantic folly, are the perfect touches.

Kirkus Reviews. Discussion Questions 1. As the book opens, the character Charles Baxter leaves his house for a walk in the middle of the night. As he passes an antique mirror at the foot of the stairs, he describes the mirror as "glimmerless," a word he has used to describe himself [p. What does he mean by this? At the end of the novel, as dawn arrives, he tells us that "all the voices have died out in my head. I've been emptied out My glimmerlessness has abated, it seems, at least for the moment" [p.

Does Baxter's decision to give the job of narration over to the characters themselves create a stronger sense of realism in the novel? Does it offer a greater possibility for revelation from the characters? What is the effect of this narrative technique on the reading experience? Does Bradley become more interesting as the novel unfolds? Kathryn says of him, "He turned himself into the greatest abstraction" [p.

His neighbor Harry Ginsberg says, "He seemed to be living far down inside himself, perhaps in a secret passageway connected to his heart" [p. He was uninteresting and genuine, sweet-tempered and dependable, the sort of man who will stabilize your pulse rather than make it race" [p. Which, if any, of these insights is closest to the truth?

The novel takes its title from a beautiful, light-filled painting that Bradley has made and hidden in his basement. When Esther Ginsberg asks him why there are no people in the painting, Bradley answers, "Because You can see it but you can't reach it" [p.

Does the fact that Bradley has been able to paint such a powerful image suggest that he is closer to attaining it than he thinks? Why does Chlo? Maggaroulian, the psychic? Is the fortune-teller's presence in the novel related to Harry Ginsberg's belief that "the unexpected is always upon us" [pp. How might this belief change the way one chooses to live?

What are Diana's motivations for marrying Bradley? Does her reasoning process [p. Is Diana, at the outset, the least likable character in the novel? How does she manage to work her way into the reader's affections? Bradley is a person who baffles himself. He says, "I need a detective who could snoop around in my life and then tell me the solution to the mystery that I have yet to define, and the crime that created it" [p.

Why, if his first wife Kathryn has a profound fear of dogs, does he take her to visit a dog pound? Why, if his second wife Diana is afraid of open spaces, does he take her to the wide skies and watery horizons of Michigan's Upper Peninsula?

Why does he often act in ways that will compromise his happiness? Is Bradley like most people in this unfortunate tendency? The characters often define themselves in strikingly economical statements.

For instance, Diana says, "I lack usable tenderness and I don't have a shred of kindness, but I'm not a villain and never have been" [p. Do the characters in this novel display an unusual degree of insight and self-knowledge? Are some more perceptive about themselves than others?

In his description of the shopping mall in which Jitters is located, Bradley remarks, "The ion content in the oxygen has been tampered with by people trying to save money by giving you less oxygen to breathe. You get light-headed and desperate to shop Don't get me wrong: I believe in business and profit" [p. In what ways is Bradley not a typical businessman?

How does Jitters differ from a caf? What observations does the novel make about America's consumer-driven culture? Throughout literature for example, in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet , the traditional boy-meets-girl plot is complicated by the presence of a father or parents who refuse to sanction the union of the lovers. Can Oscar's father be seen in this traditional role—as a potential threat to the happiness of Chlo? Or does he represent something far more threatening and evil?

What is his effect on the latter part of the novel? Harry Ginsberg tells Bradley about a poem his mother used to recite, about a dragon with a rubber nose.

During the day, no one would know where to go or what to buy. No signs anywhere. Posters gone, information gone A world without signs of any kind Very curious. I often think about that poem" [p. Bradley takes up the idea, and begins to draw pictures of the dragon. How does the parable of the dragon resonate with some of the larger questions and ideas in the novel?

Imaginary Paintings and Other Poems. The poems in this debut collection evoke the artistry of Edward Hopper as fiction writer Baxter Through the Safety Net plays with images of light, hopelessness and the loss of American innocence Continue reading ».

Shadow Play. Nine playful yet cumbersomely cerebral short stories explore the relationships between art and experience, intellect and passion, and discernable patterns between seemingly unrelated events. Continue reading ». Believers: A Novella and Stories. Baxter's Shadow Play sixth work of fiction is something of an incongruity: seven virtuosic stories preceding a novella largely bereft of the stories' shared merits.

Ambitious and accomplished, the Continue reading ». First Light. Having published two books of short stories, Baxter does a masterful job of combining form with function in his first novel. The story begins with a Fourth of July celebration.

Dorsey Welch and her Continue reading ». A Relative Stranger: Stories. Most of the protagonists in these 13 wonderfully varied, often funny stories set by Baxter Harmony of the World in Michigan are complex men reaching for answers that elude them. On the other hand Continue reading ». Burning Down the House. Taking arms against ""dysfunctional narratives"" and ""the mass production of insight, in fiction and elsewhere,"" novelist and short-story writer Baxter First Light; Harmony of the World hopes to Continue reading ».

Five stories named for virtues and five for vices make up this collection from a master craftsman. Questions of Identity. Charles Baxter On Craft and Aging. Just retired from the classroom, the novelist still has plenty of fiction left in him, and 'The Sun Collective' proves Continue reading ».

Sign Up. Link Get in Trouble refashions classic fairy tales, myths, and adventure sagas for contemporary settings in her wondrous collection.

The gloriously pungent debut novel from Neuman Fracture , first published in and translated with marvelous precision by Myers, follows a pair of garbagemen through their Continue reading ».

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WebFEAST Offices will be closed for Martin Luther King, Jr Day January 16, We will re-open Tuesday, January 17, at 10 am. Please enjoy this time with your Friends and Family. WebJan 18,  · Feast: Directed by John Gulager. With Duane Whitaker, Balthazar Getty, Chauntae Davies, Hannah Bernall. Patrons locked inside a bar are forced to fight monsters. WebFeast is a neighborhood natural food store and deli committed to quality and creating community. PHILOSOPHY. We are a small family owned style market, allowing us to be more connected to local farmers. We are proud of all of the products we offer in our grocery section, however we are much more than just a market.