Fiction Lisa Alther Bedrock

ISBN 13: 9780394577555

Bedrock

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9780394577555: Bedrock

Clea Shawn has enjoyed marriage, motherhood, love affairs with both sexes; and she's traveled the world. Now she has come to the seemingly idyllic New England town of Roches Ridge, Vermont, looking for respite from the hungers of the heart and the lightning storms of the senses. What she finds is something else. What she learns makes for Lisa Alther's most sinfully irreverent, deliciously comic, and richly revelatory novel -- an unforgettable tale of the intellectual graspings, emotional flip-flops, and erotic acrobatics of a woman who is not quite sure what she wants, but who wants it in the very worst way, and wants it now.

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From the Author:

For a long time I was fascinated by the twenty-year friendship between Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West, and I read every word either woman had ever published. I decided to write an update of that friendship between two contemporary women, an update that would end less tragically than with Virginia Woolf's suicide. I named my characters Clea and Elke. Clea, a photographer living in New York, is full of life but somewhat superficial in her understanding of it. Elke, a German sculptor who emigrated to New York during World War II, has a more profound grasp of the dark side of life, which leaves her limp with depression. During the course of their friendship, each woman learns to comprehend the other's world view, thus achieving a more balanced perspective. Their names, Clea and Elke, anagrams of each other, are meant to suggest that the two women can be viewed as different modes of a single personality.

From the Inside Flap:

In her first novel since OTHER WOMEN (published five years ago), Lisa Alther returns to the wonderfully comic and moving tone that made her reputation in her first best-selling and widely acclaimed novel, KINFLICKS.  And just as that novel charted a rite of passage -- from childhood to adulthood in the sixties and seventies -- BEDROCK tells the high-spirited, hilarious, and deeply felt story of a mature woman (Clea survived the sixties and seventies and thinks she has a handle on the eighties) discovering and then plunging headlong into new emotional, and physical, territory.     When Clea Shawn -- passionately urban, a successful photographer, mother of two college-age children, partner in a very open marriage -- falls in love with a small Vermont town and impulsively buys a house there, no one is more surprised than she.  But after years of empty affairs, her children gone from the nest, her marriage less exciting than exacting, and menopause setting in, Clea sees Roches Ridge as her "detox tank," the place where she can finally cultivate the sobriety and serenity that will see her into "old age and beyond"...     Then her bathtub falls through the floor and her neighbors (the children are all named after synthetic fabrics) reveal their tendency toward loud noises, bright lights, and bug zappers deep into the night.  Picture-perfect Roches Ridge begins to reveal its imperfections and true character, and Clea -- suffering withdrawal from the city, not yet at home in the increasingly odd countryside -- feels compelled to wonder about the true character of her own life.     As her past unfolds in a series of flashbacks we watch her move toward an understanding of the real cost of her mutually adulterous marriage, the real impulse behind the invariably pretty and popular photographs she takes, and, most importantly, the real nature of her complex, often tumultuous feelings for her best -- and most difficult -- friend, Elke.  And as her newly adopted hometown reveals itself more and more clearly (it is full of surprises), we see Clea adjusting, settling in, accepting, and finally finding, in both her past and present circumstances, the bedrock on which to build the rest of her life.     Generous, sharp-edged, and altogether involving, BEDROCK is Lisa Alther at her best.

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Lisa Alther
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