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The one-time Orme ancestral home is transformed into a dilapidated apartment block inhabited by a host of eccentric characters, including Alice Orme, who never leaves her bed; her husband, who spends his time in his old armchair; and their son, Francis, who never touches anything without the protection of white gloves and who steals objects only because they are treasured by their owners. A first novel. 15,000 first printing.
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Edward Carey's debut novel Observatory Mansions has a touch of Gormenghast about it. A "small and peculiar group of people" live together in a decaying four storey cube in neo-classical design. It was once magnificent, set in beautiful grounds, but has now been transformed into flats, an island within a surge of traffic. The people themselves are anchored in disassociation, set apart from the rest of the busy city by their histories, their memories, their relationships with the other seven inhabitants of the flats. 37-year-old Francis Orme is telling the story of Observatory Mansions. He earns his living by becoming "a statue of whiteness" in the park. He wears white gloves to ensure that he never touches anything with his skin; this includes the items he picks for his museum of significant objects (there is an intriguing list of all 996 of them at the end of the novel), a collection that he guards zealously from the other house dwellers. The other occupants include his father, sweaty Peter Bugg, and bedridden mother, Claire Higg, who has "created for herself an alternative time frame called fiction". She lives through her television: "such beautiful lives, such beautiful lives."
The house and its people are self-contained. Order and a vague harmony are maintained by a careful routine. But then along comes Anna Tap, half-blind and vulnerable. She is sympathetic, resourceful and slowly the residents begin to open up their long-closed hearts. The delicate balance of Observatory Mansion begins to shift and Francis finds himself having to protect the secrets of his past and the sanctity of his collection, while growing emotionally closer to Anna.
The novel is a haunting comedy of mental and physical dislocation. Carey's writing is poised and oddly precise: the characters are eccentric but compelling. Observatory Mansions is strangely hopeful, a tale about how love and lists can transform your life. --Eithne FarryReview:
"A sublime take on the Gothic horror novel, an endearing love story...and a triumphant argument for how brilliant the novel can still be."-Detroit Free Press"Readers who complain there's no originality left in the world should visit Observatory Mansions."-USA Today "A funny, sad, and provocative novel."-The Washington Post Book World "Observatory Mansions is a strange and beautiful book. . . . That this is a first novel is a wonder." --The Memphis Flyer
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Book Description Crown, 2001. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0609606808
Book Description Crown. Hardcover. Condition: New. 0609606808 Ships promptly from Texas. Seller Inventory # Z0609606808ZN
Book Description Crown, 2001. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0609606808
Book Description Crown, 2001. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110609606808
Book Description Crown, 2001. Hardcover. Condition: New. 1st American ed. Ships with Tracking Number! INTERNATIONAL WORLDWIDE Shipping available. Buy with confidence, excellent customer service!. Seller Inventory # 0609606808n