Lisa Alther Original Sins

ISBN 13: 9780140058949

Original Sins

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9780140058949: Original Sins

They call themselves "The Five" -- Sally and Emily Prince and Jed, Raymond, and Donny Tatro. Convinced they are special, they spend their Tennessee childhoods trading dreams in the branches of the Castle Tree. As children of the fifties, they are filled with wild ambitions and determined to live gaudy, glamorous lives. Lisa Alther's brilliant, broad-canvas story follows them from childhood to adulthood. The ties that bind them begin to dissolve when they become teenagers, yet the vibrant story continues -- and each member of The Five travels in a direction that he or she could have never anticipated. In this intelligent and heartbreaking novel, Alther brings to life not only the passions of her characters, but the fantasies and follies of an entire generation as well

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From the Inside Flap:

In this, her first novel since KINFLICKS, Lisa Alther gives us a story -- hilarious, serious, and moving -- of five children growing up and apart, in the South of the fifties, sixties, and seventies.     It's Newland, Tennessee, and The Five -- lazing and dreaming in the branches of a weeping beech -- are plotting their futures:  The two Prince sisters (daughters of the mill owner), the two Tatro brothers (sons of the foreman), and Donny, the black grandson of the Princes' maid, Ruby.     These kids are a world unto themselves.  They are a conspiracy, a cabal, a band of brothers, forever to be bonded in love and custom as they are now.  Theirs is the land of Devout Prayer Breakfasts and the ubiquitous gospel quartet ("...drop kick me, Jesus, through the goal posts of life..."), cheerleading clinics, afterschool workshops on float construction and pom-pom making.  Girls make date bars and fudge divinity to raise money for the Plantation Ball.  The banner over the dance floor reads:  "Our Southern Way of Life."...The Yankee Communists are responsible for such plots as fluoridated water, polio serums, mental hygiene...The South is their home, their Eden, the cherished universe of happy children.     We follow these five -- the Tatro boys, pledged to wed the Prince girls (so their children will be double-first cousins), and the black child, Donny, everyone's pet -- as the certainties of childhood meet the complexities of modern life and the extraordinary changes overtaking the South, and as their paths diverge.  We see Sally, the petite girl with "pep," becoming the consummate Southern Girl, Homecoming Queen, embattled (flirtatious) Virgin (fighting off any creeping sensations of enjoyment that might interfere with her powers of surveillance), devoted Wife (devouring magazine advice), local radio Homecraft Celebrity ("Turn Your Trash into Treasures")...and her husband, Jed, just as classically a Southern Boy (star athlete, macho husband, anti-union foreman), sinking into disillusionment as Sally grows in resilience...his serious brother, Raymond (the restless child stamp collector), going North, immersing himself in Civil-Rights work...and moody Emily (the brain), venturing forth to college in New York -- each of them rushing into the sixties culture, getting radicalized, politicized, sexualized, and being enlightened along the way (by Northerners) about Southerners:  those rednecks, hillbillies, and psychopaths.  And we follow the only black member of The Five, marrying a woman he adores, getting mired in his janitor job, escaping North where he's initiated into the pleasures and traps of city life.     In this large, passionate novel, we discover the special nature, the costs and exhilarations, of being a Southerner in an era of great tumult and change.  With all the humor, feeling, and wry wisdom that made KINFLICKS such a popular and critical success, Lisa Alther charts the universal passage from the idyllic shores of childhood through the unanticipated mazes of grown-up life.

From the Back Cover:

In Praise of Lisa Alther's KINFLICKS:"An ambitious, funny, lucid, and unfailingly honest first novel...No other writer has yet synthesized [the coming of age in the sixties] as well as Miss Alther has."--The New Yorker"A strong, salty, original talent...It made me wonder what TOM JONES would be like, written now."-- Doris Lessing"Extraordinary...A very funny book, not at all savage, about serious matters, full of people one would like to meet, and oddly invigorating.  The tone of voice throughout is a tone that has been missing in American fiction for years -- it is the speech of breezy survivors, of Holden Caulfield, Augie March, and, ultimately, Huck Finn." -- John Leonard, The New York Times Book Review"It's a delight...Beautifully written, moving, and true." -- Erica Jong"So continuously funny that its wisdom takes you by surprise...  We are in the presence of a most powerful and remarkable talent."  -- Alice Adams, Harper's

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