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Weekend Edition Sunday February 02, 2014
   
Still Life with Bread Crumbs
by Anna Quindlen

Overview - "NEW YORK TIMES "BESTSELLER
A superb love story from Anna Quindlen, the #1" New York Times" bestselling author of" Rise and Shine, Blessings, "and" A Short Guide to a Happy Life"
"Still Life with Bread Crumbs" begins with an imagined gunshot and ends with a new tin roof.
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More About Still Life with Bread Crumbs by Anna Quindlen
 
 
 
Overview
"NEW YORK TIMES "BESTSELLER
A superb love story from Anna Quindlen, the #1" New York Times" bestselling author of" Rise and Shine, Blessings, "and" A Short Guide to a Happy Life"
"Still Life with Bread Crumbs" begins with an imagined gunshot and ends with a new tin roof. Between the two is a wry and knowing portrait of Rebecca Winter, a photographer whose work made her an unlikely heroine for many women. Her career is now descendent, her bank balance shaky, and she has fled the city for the middle of nowhere. There she discovers, in a tree stand with a roofer named Jim Bates, that what she sees through a camera lens is not all there is to life.
Brilliantly written, powerfully observed, "Still Life with Bread Crumbs" is a deeply moving and often very funny story of unexpected love, and a stunningly crafted journey into the life of a woman, her heart, her mind, her days, as she discovers that life is a story with many levels, a story that is longer and more exciting than she ever imagined.
Praise for "Still Life with Bread Crumbs"
"There comes a moment in every novelist's career when she . . . ventures into new territory, breaking free into a marriage of tone and style, of plot and characterization, that's utterly her own. Anna Quindlen's marvelous romantic comedy of manners is just such a book. . . . Taken as a whole, Quindlen's writings represent a generous and moving interrogation of women's experience across the lines of class and race. "Still Life with Bread Crumbs"] proves all the more moving because of its light, sophisticated humor. Quindlen's least overtly political novel, it packs perhaps the most serious punch. . . . Quindlen has delivered a novel that will have staying power all its own."--"The New York Times Book Review"
" A] wise tale about second chances, starting over, and going after what is most important in life."--Minneapolis "Star Tribune"
"Quindlen's astute observations . . . are the sorts of details every writer and reader lives for.""--Chicago Tribune"
" Anna] Quindlen's seventh novel offers the literary equivalent of comfort food. . . . She still has her finger firmly planted on the pulse of her generation."--NPR
"Enchanting . . . The protagonist's] photographs are celebrated for turning the 'minutiae of women's lives into unforgettable images, ' and Quindlen does the same here with her enveloping, sure-handed storytelling."--"People"
"Charming . . . a hot cup of tea of a story, smooth and comforting about the vulnerabilities of growing older . . . a pleasure."--"USA Today"
"With spare, elegant prose, Quindlen] crafts a poignant glimpse into the inner life of an aging woman who discovers that reality contains much more color than her own celebrated black-and-white images."--"Library Journal"
"Quindlen has always excelled at capturing telling details in a story, and she does so again in this quiet, powerful novel, showing the charged emotions that teem beneath the surface of daily life."--"Publishers Weekly"
"Quindlen presents instantly recognizable characters who may be appealingly warm and nonthreatening, but that only serves to drive home her potent message that it's never too late to embrace life's second chances."--"Booklist"
"Profound . . . engaging."--"Kirkus Reviews"

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781400065752
  • ISBN-10: 1400065755
  • Publisher: Random House
  • Publish Date: January 2014
  • Page Count: 252


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Contemporary Women
Books > Fiction > Sagas

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2013-10-14
  • Reviewer: Staff

Quindlen’s seventh novel, following Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake, is a detailed exploration of creativity and the need for connection. Rebecca Winter is a 60-year-old photographer, once revered as a feminist icon, whose work isn’t selling as briskly as it used to. She needs a fresh start after her marriage falls apart because her husband trades her in for a younger model (as he does every 10 years). She rents a cabin in the country while subletting her beloved New York City apartment, needing both the money and the space in which to find her creative spark again. Jim Bates, a local roofer who helps her with the challenges of moving into the cottage, becomes a new friend, as does a dog that seems to prefer living with her rather than with its neglectful owner. Rebecca also finds new objects to photograph in the series of homemade wooden crosses she discovers during hikes in the surrounding woods, without realizing their connection to a tragedy in Jim’s life. Quindlen has always excelled at capturing telling details in a story, and she does so again in this quiet, powerful novel, showing the charged emotions that teem beneath the surface of daily life. Agent: Amanda Urban, ICM. (Feb.)

 
BookPage Reviews

Taking a new path at midlife

“Rebecca Winter” remains a household name, thanks to the iconic photograph “Still Life with Bread Crumbs” that catapulted her art career into the public eye. But Rebecca Winter, the person, has changed significantly in the decades since she captured that domestic image of her kitchen counter after her husband and son retired for the evening. She’s no longer married, for one. And it’s been so long since she made a significant sale that she can no longer afford the upscale Manhattan apartment that contains the kitchen immortalized in that famous picture.

As a result, the 60-year-old Rebecca feels adrift when she sublets her home and moves into a rented cottage in rural New York. Each time a royalty check hits her bank account, the couple-hundred-dollar deposit leaves her feeling momentarily rich. Some other people in the small town are familiar with “Still Life” and consider Rebecca something of a celebrity, but she is often left to her own thoughts. That solitude gives Rebecca plenty of time to figure out whether her camera is still the best way to share what she sees with the world—and to determine who she is outside of the context of high-end art galleries and New York City.

In Still Life with Bread Crumbs, Anna Quindlen deconstructs the typical form of a novel. Chapters toggle between Rebecca’s present and the formative moments that brought her here, with each chapter title lending insight into the path Rebecca walks. The result is refreshing pacing; the story doesn’t unfold in linear fashion, but in bits and pieces at a time.

Still Life is a journey of self-exploration, of getting to know who you are rather than who others expect you to be. It’s a meditation on art, age and commercialism wrapped up in a delightful story—perhaps the best-selling author’s finest novel yet.

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Read our interview with Anna Quindlen about this book.

 
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