Frances and Bernard

Frances and Bernard

Hardback

By (author) Carlene Bauer

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  • Publisher: HOUGHTON MIFFLIN
  • Format: Hardback | 195 pages
  • Dimensions: 152mm x 211mm x 25mm | 340g
  • Publication date: 5 February 2013
  • Publication City/Country: Boston, MA
  • ISBN 10: 0547858248
  • ISBN 13: 9780547858241
  • Sales rank: 328,241

Product description

"A novel of stunning subtlety, grace, and depth . . . compos[ed in] dueling letters of breathtaking wit, seduction, and heartbreak." --"Booklist," starred review "A letter can spark a friendship. A friendship can change your life." In the summer of 1957, Frances and Bernard meet at an artists' colony. She finds him faintly ridiculous, but talented. He sees her as aloof, but intriguing. Afterward, he writes her a letter. Soon they are immersed in the kind of fast, deep friendship that can take over--and change the course of--our lives. From points afar, they find their way to New York and, for a few whirling years, each other. The city is a wonderland for young people with dreams: cramped West Village kitchens, rowdy cocktail parties stocked with the sharp-witted and glamorous, taxis that can take you anywhere at all, long talks along the Hudson River as the lights of the Empire State Building blink on above. Inspired by the lives of Flannery O'Connor and Robert Lowell, Frances and Bernard imagines, through new characters with charms entirely their own, what else might have happened. It explores the limits of faith, passion, sanity, what it means to be a true friend, and the nature of acceptable sacrifice. In the grandness of the fall, can we love another person so completely that we lose ourselves? How much should we give up for those we love? How do we honor the gifts our loved ones bring and still keep true to our dreams? In witness to all the wonder of kindred spirits and bittersweet romance, "Frances and Bernard" is a tribute to the power of friendship and the people who help us discover who we are.

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Review quote

"[A] debut novel of stunning subtlety, grace, and depth...Bauer's use of the epistolary form is masterful as she forges a passionately spiritual, creative, and romantic dialogue between characters based on two literary giants famous for their brilliant letters, Flannery O'Connor and Robert Lowell. Though she changes the particulars of O'Connor's life, Bauer retains the great writer's rigor, humor, faith, penetrating insights, and wisdom. In Bernard, she embraces Lowell's protean powers, tempestuousness, and manic depression. They begin as friends sharing their thoughts and feelings about the church and writing and gradually, cautiously on Frances' part, venture into love. Frances can be lacerating; Bernard is extravagant...Bauer is phenomenally fluent in the voices and sensibilities she so intently emulates, composing dueling letters of breathtaking wit, seduction, and heartbreak...Bauer's piercing novel is dynamic in structure, dramatic in emotion and event, and fierce in its inquiry into religion, love, and art."--"Booklist," starred review"I have rarely encountered historical fiction that seems to spring so authentically from the period in which it's set. The two correspondents in Carlene Bauer's book, along with their families and friends, come wittily alive in the letters they exchange, and those letters end up accumulating a terrific narrative and emotional force. Bauer recaptures a time in which people took one another more seriously, an era when they still inclined toward epistolary explorations instead of self-promoting tweets. "Frances and Bernard" is one of the best first novels I've read in years."- Thomas Mallon, author of "Watergate" and "Henry and Clara" (among many others)"Dazzling and gorgeously written, "Frances and Bernard" features a pair of brilliant, complicated writers who present themselves to each other in letters that form the most exciting epistolary novel in recent memory. A slim book, it still seems to say all of the impo