One Sweet Quarrel

One Sweet Quarrel

3.27 (68 ratings by Goodreads)
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In her dazzling second novel, Deirdre McNamer uses an enigmatic and haunting narrative voice - one that recalls the narrators in Toni Morrison's Jazz and Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Love in the Time of Cholera - to limn a story of three siblings who venture from their muffled turn-of-the-century Midwestern childhoods into the heedless twenties.
Daisy Lou Malone strikes out for a singing career in New York City. Carlton Malone becomes a hard-drinking hustler on his home turf, while Jerry Malone, lured by the promise of free land, joins other unlikely homesteaders in northern Montana, where the most extravagant dreams can be had for the asking and the most modest hopes can be dashed in a season.
Jerry's inept farming ventures are ruined by the reality of drought and hail. He and his young wife, oddly relieved, move to town and make plans to move farther west - to Seattle.
The discovery of oil beneath the scraped prairie halts them in their tracks. Jerry's gusher dreams are vivid, though less entrancing to him than the idea of the subterranean - the buried horizons, the "formation" - and the dizzying luck attached to the buying and selling of land.
When the oil activity begins to gutter - like Daisy's singing career and Carlton's entire life - Jerry and other local boosters, dreaming of tigers in red weather, decide to stage, in tiny Shelby, Montana (population: 1,000), the heavyweight boxing championship of the world.
Incredibly, the town raises almost $300,000 and Jack Dempsey comes to town to battle Tommy Gibbons. Daisy Lou Malone arrives at the same time, and when she and Jerry - minor characters on a large stage - emerge from the enormous wooden arena on the prairie after the historical fight, their lives are permanently altered.
McNamer's new novel, ambitious and stunning, conjures up the look and feel of the twenties, both urban and frontier. Moreover, it offers a version of the West - one of fedoras and flivvers and city boys and girls plunked down on the prairie - that is fascinatingly at odds with the tired pioneer myths. No cowboys or earth giants need apply.
The narrative voice of One Sweet Quarrel is as fresh and original as any in contemporary American fiction, and the story it recounts is at once arresting, vivid, unlikely, and, finally, grand.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 320 pages
  • 165.1 x 241.3 x 33.02mm | 544.31g
  • HarperCollins
  • New York, NY, United States
  • English
  • 0060168684
  • 9780060168681

Rating details

68 ratings
3.27 out of 5 stars
5 10% (7)
4 35% (24)
3 32% (22)
2 16% (11)
1 6% (4)
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