Titel: Almost Heaven
Verlag: Crown, New York, New York, U.S.A.
Zustand des Schutzumschlags: Fine
Auflage: First Edition.
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Almost Heaven is an intellectually dazzling, emotionally incandescent story of memory and the redemptive power of love.
Holden Garfield is a foreign correspondent, burnt out before he's thirty, who comes back to Virginia to try to forget his experiences of war abroad and to find new hope in his life. What he finds, instead, is a woman who is desperate for his help.
Through a chance phone call, Holden learns that his mentor's sister, Melanie, is hospitalized in Richmond with hysterical amnesia after her husband and sons were killed in a freak act of nature. Holden sets out to help her reconstruct her past, and almost at once the two embark on a passionate love affair--one fighting to remember, the other yearning to forget.
Memory. Passion. Loss. The ravages of extreme forces of nature . . . These are the themes Marianne Wiggins weaves through Almost Heaven with the same effects she so brilliantly deployed in her previous classic, John Dollar. In Almost Heaven she brings her dramatic force home, writing not only a whirlwind love story but a personal love letter to the American South.
It seems no accident that the narrator of Marianne Wiggins's sixth novel, Almost Heaven, is named Holden. Like his literary predecessor in J.D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye, this edgy twentysomething war correspondent is also a protector of lost innocence, or at least a seeker of grace in a world gone brutal. Done in and emotionally damaged by a stint in Bosnia, Holden escapes back to the U.S. at a time when a rage of bad weather--tornadoes, heat waves, hurricanes--grips the nation and portends his immersion in a relationship of cyclonic intensity.
Once stateside, he entwines his fate with that of someone who is suffering from traumatic amnesia in response to the sudden loss of her entire family. For Melanie, Holden quickly becomes a life raft in a sea of random and unfathomable acts, and the two take off across the country in an attempt to escape the gathering storms, both real and metaphorical, that surround them. As Holden puts it: "One way or another someday, if not already, all of us will have left some one some where some dream some loneliness some thing."
Almost Heaven is an eclectic work, weaving together streams of desire, lost dreams, and sharp-edged commentary on America in its millennial madness into a haunting story of two people who succumb to erotic frenzy, both losing and finding themselves in each other. Wiggins, the prize-winning author of John Dollar, has produced a raw, kinetic book that explores the question of what it is like to run so hard from memory that it's as though your life never happened, as though you had just been born. --Marianne Painter
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