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Alone in the Company of Others: A Novel [Kindle Edition]

Kelly Huddleston
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Camille's mother Connie collects people. After Connie's brother Wilson has 'the accident' (a single shot to the abdomen; the blood in the snow beside the flagpole; the siren and the ambulance), they move into an abandoned ski resort in Colorado with Wilson's widow Wanda, an agoraphobic veterinarian, and her two sons, Russell, who only wants to be normal, and Wilsie, who is anything but normal. Determined never to use his voice, Wilsie communicates on a blackboard and records other people's conversations on a Fisher Price tape recorder.

Camille's mother Connie makes sure there are many voices to record: Teresa, an ex opera singer; Helen, Stacey, and Winnie, three Certified Veterinary Technicians; Margie, a lonely, suicidal librarian; Finn Green, a PR man; and a group of disillusioned hitchhikers no one will pick up.

Wilsie records the progress of their lives, a world of sex, death, and white noise, but when Wilsie is finally forced to use his voice Camille is left with over four hundred cassette tapes documenting the rise and fall of a micro society with one unmistakable message: we are all alone, even in the company of others.

With a cast of eccentrics that rivals “The Royal Tenenbaums”, ALONE IN THE COMPANY OF OTHERS is about people and their treasured possessions—a running tape recorder, a collection of diplomas, an attic full of disfigured mannequins, or shelves and shelves of books in an all but abandoned public library—and the distinctive role that each of us plays as part of a group dynamic. The book questions where each of us essentially exists—within the singular, the plural, or both.

Product Details

  • File Size: 503 KB
  • Print Length: 342 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Open Books (January 25, 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001WAKDJK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,341,676 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Alone in the Company of Others August 16, 2009
Format:Kindle Edition
As an author, I find myself having great expectations when I begin any new novel. However, the majority of times I soon discover that a book doesn't live up to its promises and it's usually never finished.

Well, look out! I've just closed the back cover on a novel that went way beyond my "great expectations" to a place called, "Where has this great author been?" As the book is written by a young woman in her 20's, I suppose the answer would be, "She's been growing up" and she has grown wonderfully into a world-class author who possesses the ability to turn names lying flat on pages into real, multi-dimensional people, given them something to say worth reading about and simply captivates the reader.

Kelly Huddleston has not written an easily read novel. She has written an intricate piece of work that lets you know there are still excellent storytellers left in the world with an innate gift of craftmanship. Huddleston's way with words sets her apart from almost any new novel on the market today. While sometimes a bit verbose in descriptions, the author quickly brings the reader back to the business at hand.

My favorite literary vehicle in this book is Wilsie. With such an innocent little name, this character acts as the Chorus in a Greek play. With a toy tape recorder, Wilsie chronicles everything that goes on in the house -- without speaking he becomes the historian in the novel.

No doubt this is not an easy read. However, it is worth every page you turn. It's not often you come upon a real, honest-to-goodness exceptional new author whose works will be around for a very long time. Writing talent? Huddleston has it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Alone in the Company of Others November 20, 2010
Format:Kindle Edition
Alone in the Company of Others by Kelly Huddleston is a book for readers (I count myself among them) who believe that the journey is at least as important as the destination. Alone is neither a page turner that we must gobble up as quickly as possible nor a whodunit that requires the exercise of our armchair sleuthing skills, but rather it is an invitation to linger on the page, savor the moment, surrender to the flow and let Huddleston's exquisite music wash over us and through us. A friend of mine who read a few pages of Alone complained that it was confusing, and I admit that at times Huddleston seems to be throwing handfuls of confetti at the us--I mean the rapid succession of characters and events, like wave after wave of soldiers storming a beachhead, but as we read on we discover that these multicolored bits and pieces of information are actually threads that resolve themselves quite readily into a tapestry that is artfully and intricately interwoven.

The novel is narrated by Huddleston's alter ego, the nubile heroine Camille who is in love with her hunky cousin Russell. Camille lives in a household of great talkers, a regular Greek chorus of them, in fact: Connie, Camille's mother, who is "nothing but a gear-grinding machine spitting out vowels," Nurse Regina, who spends "a great deal of time misquoting famous dead people," the Triplets, who have their own special language "full of slurred vowels and biting consonants," Wanda, a voluble veterinarian, and the novelist Andrew, who declares that "squid fishing is a religious experience." Cousin Wilsie is the family historian. In lieu of talking, he records everything others say on a toy tape recorder and scribbles his own comments on a hand-held blackboard.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun & Quirky September 22, 2010
Format:Kindle Edition
This is a fun book chock full of quirky characters and crazy antics. If you enjoy the work of John Irving then you'll really enjoy this book. It slows down in parts but keep going as the end is worth the ride. Very nice piece of writing.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The summary had it right... October 12, 2010
Format:Kindle Edition
This novel is definitely similar to "The Royal Tenenbaums." Rivaling it? Not so much.

The characters are interesting, the story challenging, if a tad unbelievable. The writing itself is solid and reads well. The frequent travel between the present and Connie's childhood makes the story even more interesting, drawing the reader in. However, several times I had to reread sections because I wasn't sure when the passages were happening.

Many times, it's just confusing, but you're interested enough to keep pushing through until everything gels again. The typos, of which there were not many, were just distracting enough to make me comment outloud.

Overall, it's a good read. Not a quick read, but one that deserves the time you'll spend reading it.
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More About the Author

Kelly Huddleston worked for a small press in all facets of the book trade including copyediting, preparing books for shipment, and sales to chain and independent bookstores. In 2001 Escape Media published her first novel, THE PERFECT PEARL.

In 2007 Kelly helped found Open Books, an imprint of Escape Media that publishes classic, modern and avant-garde high-quality fiction and non-fiction. All Open Books publications are paper-free and published to read on all popular ebook reading devices. In 2009, Open Books published her second novel, ALONE IN THE COMPANY OF OTHERS.

When Kelly was nineteen, she moved to the Island of Corfu in Greece where the literary heavyweights Lawrence Durrell and Henry Miller once resided. The beauty of the island as well as the gregarious and colorful culture made up of Greeks and expatriates from all over the world continues to intrigue and inspire her to this day. She is currently at work on her next novel.

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