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Crackpots: A Novel
Crackpots: A Novel by Sara Pritchard 061830245X 9780618302451
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Crackpots: A Novel by Sara Pritchard

When we first meet Ruby Reese shes a spunky kid in a cowgirl hat, tap dancing her way through a slightly off-kilter 1950s childhood. With an insomniac mother and a demolitions-expert father, her entire family is what the residents of her small town would call a bunch of crackpots. Despite the dramas of her upbringing, Ruby matures into a creative, introspective, and wholly beguiling woman. But her adulthood is marked by complex relationships and romantic missteps -- three unsuitable marriages, dramatic crushes, the complicated love between siblings. As Sara Pritchard deftly guides us through Rubys story, from the present to the past and back again, a portrait of a remarkably resilient woman emerges. Suffused with humor and melancholy, imagination and insight, Crackpots heralds the debut of a skilled and sensitive storyteller.|Nimbly kaleidoscopic.|Individual vignettes are telling and vivid, and the more intimate moments are engrossing . . . the dialogue is tight and the observations lyrical, and they hold Rubys world together beautifully.|Prologue Memory is an odd fellow. Say you are retelling a story you have told many times before, the story about how your grandparents met in 1902. Say your grandfather, Mason Linn, was a train conductor who played the trombone and dreamed of being in vaudeville, and your grandmother, a young woman who played the violin, a young woman named Bess, with heavy dark hair, rode the train every day from Downingtown to downtown Philadelphia, where she worked as a salesgirl in Ladies Hats in Wannamakers department store. Say this time, though, while youre telling this familiar story about your grandparents courtship, Imagination clears her throat and pipes in with something about a hat, a truly magnificent hat that this young woman who will become your grandmother is wearing on the train to Philadelphia-a big, black, fur-felted hat with velvet trim, a small paper bird, and a pink ostrich plume-a hat far too magnificent for Besss worsted coat. And as the story moves forward, Memory relaxes, takes a seat by the window, orders a double Dewars straight up and stares, mesmerized, at his double-exposure reflection in the passing landscape. Meanwhile, his traveling companion, Imagination, takes up the story about your grandparents and weaves it into something so other, and in the end-according to Imagination -the woman in the beautiful hat dies in the diphtheria epidemic of 1903, single and childless, and the train conductor- who has, of course, fallen in love with her-becomes a professional musician, playing in P.T. Barnums circus band and, eventually, with Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey. Say he-Mason Linn-this Hungarian man whom everyone calls Doc, this man who may have been your grandfather, never marries. Time passes and he joins the army and fights in the Great War overseas. He returns home, grows old, chews Mail Pouch tobacco, spits in a can, and lives in a damp combination basement/garage, drinking Mogen David wine, sleeping in the back seat of a 1939 Plymouth sedan, and, in the evenings, sitting in a lumpy mohair chair the color of an old teddy bear. And in his ribbed, sleeveless T-shirt and baggy trousers, with his ear against the huge illuminated dial of a Motorola radio, days and years roll by, and his hair and mustache turn snowy white. Now its 1950, and Mason Linn no longer has the breath to play his silver-plated trombone. To get by, hes working as an organ grinder-with a little monkey in a red jacket, a monkey named Kimosabe-in front of Wannamakers department store, and one day a young, beautiful woman with heavy dark hair walks through the revolving doors, and from where the old organ grinder is playing under the flapping maroon awning, he sees the woman reflected, spinning in the glass wedges of the revolving door, and for a moment his heart does a fantastic leap and he is young again, punching tickets on a Chessie train to Philadelphia and whistling Scott Joplin, and a beautiful woman in a large black hat with a fluttering ostrich plume, a woman carrying a violin case, is walking toward him in slow motion, and the train is rumbling and rocking, and the flat ginger-brown fields of Chester County, powdered with a confection of snow, are flicking by like postcards framed in the train windows, like celluloid pictures in a View-Master disc, and all of this is, in some respects, quite preposterous, in other respects, true. Sisters: A Dog Story 1951-I did not come here kicking and screaming like Albertine. I did not resist. I counted the days carefully on my fingers and toes and then left quickly, arriving easily and a tad bit early, entirely of my own volition. Feet f|The writing is dazzling...In the middle of tragedy she makes you laugh out loud. The New York Times Book Review Individual vignettes are telling and vivid, and the more intimate moments are engrossing . . . the dialogue is tight and the observations lyrical, and they hold Rubys world together beautifully. Publishers Weekly Nimbly kaleidoscopic. Kirkus Reviews

Author: Sara Pritchard

Language: English

Edition: None

Binding: Paperback

Pages: 208

Publisher: Mariner Books

Publication Date: 2003-08-17

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ISBN: 061830245X


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