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Matecumbe : A Lost Florida Novel
by James A. Michener and Joe Avenick


Overview - Pulitzer Prize-winning author James A. Michener was in his sixties when he began traveling frequently to the Florida Keys. One result of those visits was the novel "Matecumbe, "named after two of the islands that comprise the town of Islamorada, located approximately half way between Miami and Key West.  Read more...

 
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More About Matecumbe by James A. Michener; Joe Avenick
 
 
 
Overview
Pulitzer Prize-winning author James A. Michener was in his sixties when he began traveling frequently to the Florida Keys. One result of those visits was the novel "Matecumbe, "named after two of the islands that comprise the town of Islamorada, located approximately half way between Miami and Key West. Never before published, "Matecumbe "features many of the hallmarks of Michener's best work, including detailed descriptions of place. However, the plot is much more intimate than that found in most of his large-scale, epic historical novels. Focusing on the parallel lives of a woman and her mother, both divorced, Michener spent his creative energy on character development and allegorical storytelling. Random House, his publisher, wasn't pleased, and wanted the mega-best-selling author to concentrate on producing "heavyweight" books like "Hawaii "and "Centennial. Matecumbe "seemed too much in the vein of his earlier romance novel, "Sayonara." So it sat in a drawer until, eventually, Michener gifted it--including the copyright--to Joe Avenick, his friend and former ghostwriter. Avenick played a key role in the research and writing of "Sports in America "and "Chesapeake, "and introduced Michener to Melissa (Missy) DeMaio, who soon became the primary reason for Michener's increasingly frequent visits to the Keys. Biographers and critics have long agreed that Michener's personality and his characters were both affected by his relationship with DeMaio. As perhaps his most encompassing autobiographical novel, and the one written in the midst of these changes, "Matecumbe "provides what may be tantalizing glimpses into Michener's life. The publication of "Matecumbe," in the centennial year ofthe author's birth, will be a boon for fans who have longed for more Michener in the ten years since his death.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780813031521
  • ISBN-10: 0813031524
  • Publisher: University Press of Florida
  • Publish Date: September 2007
  • Page Count: 165


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Books > Fiction > General

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 32.
  • Review Date: 2007-07-09
  • Reviewer: Staff

According to an afterword by former Michener ghostwriter Joe Avenick, this short novel was rejected by Albert Erskine, Michener’s Random House editor, because it too closely resembled Sayonara. More likely, it was rejected because it’s not very good. The story, such as it is, involves two romances. Mary Ann Mays, an attractive, hopelessly impoverished, abandoned mother of four in Pottsville, Pa., finds a wallet and returns it to Paul Reynolds, a handsome, debonair and available investment banker who falls instantly in love with her. He marries her, moves the family into a fine home and provides love and financial security for life. The alternating story involves divorcée Melissa Tomlinson, an attractive Philadelphia librarian, who visits the Florida Keys and meets Joe Carlton, a ruggedly handsome, available cop who falls instantly in love with her, marries her and provides love and emotional security for life. The unconnected plots shift back and forth without complication, suspense, conflict or development. Dialogue is wooden, speechy and incredible. Both women remain dreamy and adolescentlike; both men are deeply sensitive, caring, responsive and generous. It’s like a formula romance with none of the formula’s pap pleasures. (Sept.)

 
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