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A Dignified Exit [Kindle Edition]

John J Asher
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (127 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $14.95
Kindle Price: $3.98
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Book Description

Finalist for Best Literary Fiction — (eFestival of Words).

Monroe Colson, a successful children’s book illustrator living in small-town Texas, baffles family and friends when he unceremoniously announces he’s moving to Mexico, ostensibly to paint.

In Mexico, the true nature of his mysterious behavior not only comes to light, but takes an unexpected turn when he runs into a vibrant young American woman who has been abandoned, penniless, by her fiancé.

This emotionally powerful and often humorous story with its controversial subject matter is a poignant testament to love and the resilience of the human heart.

Product Details

  • File Size: 513 KB
  • Print Length: 378 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1466462884
  • Publisher: Brazos River Press (December 14, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #383,921 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
49 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, moving, and literate December 16, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
When Monroe Colson suddenly leaves his intimate Texas hometown and decamps for Mexico, he announces it's so he can find uninterrupted time and inspiration for his art. But Monroe has a secret he isn't telling anyone--not his close friends, not his estranged wife and son, and certainly not the beautiful young woman he rescues from her abusive boyfriend on the patio of a Mexican taqueria. He came to Mexico to avoid entanglements, not seek them out. But the woman--Angelina--creeps past his defenses with her open, ingenuous embracing of life, and Monroe must reassess the secret he guards--and the resolution he's made because of it--and decide whether to open himself up to love despite the vulnerabilities it creates.
Asher's novel is a lyrically written portrait of the beauty and culture of Mexico, art, and most of all, the risks--and triumphs--of letting someone love you unconditionally. Asher's prose is elegant and evocative, but his characters are so real, and he weaves such welcome humor amid the pathos, that his writing offers real emotional impact without a trace of Nicholas Sparks schmaltz. A lovely, engaging read that feels like a trip through Mexico through the eyes of someone who knows it well--and loves it--and a touching exploration of what it means to let someone love you--for better or for worse.
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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You want a good writer? Try this one. December 27, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've read two of Asher's books and I like them both. In "A Dignified Exit" he describes Mexico so well, I think I've been there. And the characters are complex, expresive and memorable. He weaves all this togeher into a seamless story that kept me reading until I finished the book, Heck, I read it again within two weeks just for the pleasure of reading it. Didn't matter that I knew what would happen, I just enjoy the way he strings words together. This man can write.
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A sunset, a new dawn, and the bittersweet in between December 30, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I generally read commercial fiction, mysteries and thrillers for the most part, so it's a rare day that a book like John J. Asher's 'A Dignified Exit' finds its way onto my book shelves. And to provide full disclosure, the author is a friend of mine for whom I have the greatest respect as a writer and artist.

Before purchasing the paperback edition, I'd read bits and pieces, including a broad overview as I helped format his manuscript for an eBook. And it is safe to say that nothing in those "snacks" could have prepared me for sitting down to the full meal.

About 100 pages into the book, the thought struck me that back on page one I would have never predicted the smooth and effortless way Asher manages to maneuver his way past my mystery/thriller bias with the character of Monroe Colson. No action hero here, only a flawed man, with poignant backstory aplenty, who in essence dares me not to engage with him on a journey to a dignified exit.

Asher holds this "thriller guy's" interest in spite of the languid pacing, which, like the setting (Mexico), has a siesta quality that I would normally find boring and reason enough to put the book down for good.

He does it with a style rich in detail, and which engages all the senses. His descriptions of the scenery, sounds, aromas, characters, and situations flow from the mind of an artist and paint a word picture that comes alive on the page.

But the truly remarkable element of this novel for me is the way in which Asher intersects the lives of Monroe Colson and Angelina Farretti. I might have initially likened the challenge to the futility of mixing water and oil, but he succeeds with a skillful crafting of scenes that leave me with conflicting emotional involvement in the story and its characters.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Enclosed Heart January 19, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Monroe Colson, a not-very-successful painter in his late fifties who has managed to make a good living as an illustrator of children's books, abruptly departs the small Texas town where he lives and works, leaving behind his numerous friends, and his painfully estranged family, and drives to San Miguel de Allende in Mexico to spend a quiet year doing what he loves most. A chance encounter with a young woman, as might be expected, upends his carefully prepared plan. They establish an uneasy platonic friendship within which they both work very hard to avoid having their own emotional bruises bumped up against. They are destined, however, to learn what they already know in their hearts: true relationships don't work that way.

John Asher is a talented artist, as can be clearly seen in his illustration for the cover, and he writes with a talented artist's eye. His poignant words deftly recreate both the physical landscape of a Mexico steeped in its past and the emotional cloudscape of two people trying not to fall in love.

Art is at the heart of this novel. In it, Monroe offers a definition; "... art is the most of what you expect next combined with the least of what you expect next." It's an apt definition that fully applies to A Dignified Exit.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life, love, loss March 2, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I opened this book to refresh my memory of it when I was "thinning" the books on my Kindle -- moving things off that I wouldn't be getting to for a while. I didn't close it until I was finished.(Any plot points mentioned here are available in the product description, and I don't believe I've given any spoilers, but if you want to avoid any potential spoilers, you might want to stop reading this review after the second paragraph.)

The characters in this story are lively, real people. They've made mistakes and keep on going. Monroe has had his share of joy and sorrow, and made his share of mistakes, as well. He's a complex character who's seen a lot of life; he thinks it's jaded him, and he does make attempts to shut himself off from connections with others when he reaches a certain point in his life, but his essential generosity of spirit combined with his still-very-human need for relationships with others makes this endeavor founder before it ever really launches.

He's already begun to cut parts of himself off from the rest of the world even before he decides to make his big break and move down to Mexico, where he plans to live a reclusive life, but when he meets Angelina, a young American woman stranded after her (ex) fiance abandons her and takes all their money, he makes a connection that will change his life. Despite himself, Monroe finds himself making other relationships in town, and his relationship with Angelina deepens.

This story explores family, friendships, and individual independence in a nuanced way with characters who are real, likeable, and flawed.

Four and a half stars for a very moving book. (348 pages, 4387 locations)
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Well-written touching story
I enjoyed this book immensely. As other reviewers said, Asher's writing style is wonderful, almost like poetry sometimes. Read more
Published 28 days ago by JEA
4.0 out of 5 stars and beautifully written novel
A thoughtful, compassionate, and beautifully written novel.
Published 28 days ago by Jane
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very touching story about life and death and relationshipsl. I didn't want it to end!
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read!
I won't give away the story line but will say it sucked me in and kept me reading. Loved it and the humor sprinkled throughout.
Published 2 months ago by KariB
5.0 out of 5 stars Wish I could give it six stars!!
Without a doubt the best book I've read this year and I've read at least 70 books so far in 2014 . What do you do when you know you've got 12 months left and you're looking at an... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Tx-N
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Book
Monroe Colson, a middle-aged artist, tells his friends that he's going to Mexico for about a year to paint. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving story.
This is the story of Monroe Colson, a man who knows he's dying of cancer, and has perhaps a year to live. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Mother of 9
4.0 out of 5 stars very well written book
The characters were well defined and so
likeable. I recommend this story to any reader interested in exploring the meaning of life. Read more
Published 6 months ago by zaava1
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good and relaxed read
I really enjoyed this book and now mly husband is reading and enjoying it too. We've spent time in Mexico and are acquainted with some of the customs and mui poquito of the... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Evelyn Senkovich
4.0 out of 5 stars I'd like to see more from this writer
It is a couple of years since I read this but as I remember, the book was written as part of a writer's group. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Toni Purdy
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More About the Author

Asher grew up in rural West Texas. Attended the School of Visual Arts in NYC. Taught at the Famous Artists Schools in Westport, CT. Was a staff illustrator at Weekly Reader until he quit to freelance. He designed and built a two-story 2300 sq. ft. house, doing all the work himself. In 1994, Asher moved back to his homeland in Austin, Texas. He has done some acting, both movies and commercials, but spends most of his time tinkering with words.

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