Still Life with Bread Crumbs|Anna Quindlen
Still Life with Bread Crumbs
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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.

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"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


  • ISBN-13: 9780812976892
  • ISBN-10: 0812976894
  • Publisher: Random House Trade
  • Publish Date: October 2014
  • Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.45 pounds
  • Page Count: 288

Book clubs: Portrait of the artist

Siri Hustvedt’s mesmerizing novel, The Blazing World, was longlisted for the 2014 Man Booker Prize, and it’s easy to see why. Artist Harriet Burden, heroine of the narrative, stirs up controversy in the New York cultural scene when she enlists three men to pose as the masterminds behind three of her own installations. Tired of being overlooked as an artist, Harriet is determined to attract some attention. But the stunt takes an unfortunate turn when one of her enlistees—a man named Rune—double-crosses her. Alas for Harriet, Rune has many important people backing him, including reviewers and critics, and she soon has big trouble on her hands. What transpires between the two of them—including a strange death—makes for hypnotic reading. This suspenseful story is recounted in part through Harriet’s journal entries. Detractors of her art, as well as admirers and family members, also have a say in this multifaceted story. Hustvedt’s skillful shifts in point-of-view add complexity to a masterful novel about the hazards of letting life and art overlap.

In Bark, her first crop of stories since the acclaimed collection Birds of America (1998), Lorrie Moore delivers more of her wit, wisdom and trademark verbal precision. In these eight stories, she takes on inexhaustible topics like relationships, the experience of aging and the challenges of dealing with change. “Debarking” follows the freshly divorced Ira as he starts to date again—a bewildering experience that makes him question himself and the state of the world. In “Wings,” a pair of has-been musicians try to pick up the pieces of their failed lives and move forward. Part ghost story, part lament for a lost connection, “The Juniper Tree” features a teacher who’s mourning a dead friend. Rich in its examination of the human condition, this collection is one to savor. Moore is an expert at pinpointing what motivates both genders and articulating the interior worlds of her characters. With both short pieces and relatively longer works, this perceptive, timely book offers something for every reader.

Anna Quindlen’s Still Life with Bread Crumbs is a funny, romantic novel about a woman surprised by love. At the age of 60, Rebecca Winter, a once-celebrated photographer who’s struggling to make ends meet, finds herself in the midst of some big transitions. No longer able to afford her New York City apartment, she relocates to an upstate cabin where she encounters crazy raccoons and enthusiastic hunters. Stimulated by her new surroundings, Rebecca begins taking pictures. When she befriends Jim Bates, a roofer and avid bird watcher, her life takes yet another unexpected turn. Jim tags along during her photography excursions, making the shift to rural life more intriguing than she ever thought possible. Quindlen has written a charming and poignant narrative that will resonate with readers of all ages. It’s a timeless, never-say-never tale about rolling with life’s changes and discovering the art that lies in everyday existence.


This article was originally published in the November 2014 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.