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Beyond the Bedroom Wall (Graywolf Rediscovery) Paperback – May, 1997


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Product Details

  • Series: Graywolf Rediscovery
  • Paperback: 625 pages
  • Publisher: Graywolf Press (May 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1555972586
  • ISBN-13: 978-1555972585
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.4 x 1.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #635,130 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Woiwode's 1975 novel follows three generations of the Neumiller family. LJ's reviewer found it a tad "overlong" (LJ 10/15/75), but fans of sweeping family sagas will probably go for it.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

Larry Alfred Woiwode (born October 30, 1941) is an American writer who lives in North Dakota, where he has been the state's Poet Laureate since 1995. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, Esquire, The Atlantic Monthly, Harpers, Gentleman's Quarterly, The Partisan Review and The Paris Review. He is the author of five novels; two collections of short stories, a commentary titled "Acts," a biography of the Gold Seal founder and entrepreneur, Harold Schafer, Aristocrat of the West, a book of poetry, Even Tide ; and reviews and essays and essay-reviews that have appeared in dozens of publications, including The New York Times and The Washington Post Book World.

He has served as Writer in Residence at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and conducted summer sessions as a professor at Wheaton College, Chicago, and the C.S. Lewis Seminars at Cambridge; he has also conducted seminars and workshops in fourteen states of the U.S., all of the Canadian provinces but British Columbia, and in England, Lithuania, and the Scandinavias. He has published a dozen book sin a variety of genres, and his work has been translated into a dozen languages.

Customer Reviews

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See all 15 customer reviews
I have read this book three times since it was first published.
S. Merriman
Although there is a whole range of deeply felt emotions in the book, it is often the heartbreak of everyday life that permeates the work.
Ronald Scheer
It is a book about loss, failure, hope, dreams and the confusion of the past.
J. C Clark

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Ronald Scheer on August 10, 2002
Format: Paperback
I believe I first read Larry Woiwode's short stories about the Neumiller family in The New Yorker and Harper's before they were woven together into this richly emotional novel about a family of young children whose mother becomes ill and dies. Although there is a whole range of deeply felt emotions in the book, it is often the heartbreak of everyday life that permeates the work. Meawhile, there is a near-Proustian depth of detail in the account of lives lived in small midwestern towns, first in North Dakota and then Illinois.
Woiwode also captures the dynamics of family life, particularly in the close relationship between the narrator and his slightly older brother (a relationship celebrated, explored, and lamented in a sequel novel, "Born Brothers"). It's been years since I read "Beyond the Bedroom Wall," but there are moments in it almost seared into memory like film images. That is partly due to Woiwode's poetic gift for language that makes you want to read and savor every word on every page.
In later years, Woiwode returned to North Dakota and has lived there in a rural community in a kind of self-imposed spiritual exile. The early writings, in my opinion, are far superior to his later work. When he wrote "Beyond the Bedroom Wall," he was at the peak of his powers as a storyteller. Yes, it's a "great" American novel.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 13, 1999
Format: Paperback
I read this book over a number of months. During that time my wife was suffering from a serious illness. Woiwode's description of Alpha's death was so true and painful to me I had to put the book away for quite some time. My wife recovered; I finished the book. There is no question that this is a powerful and beautiful novel. As good as anything written this century.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Craig Bleakley on June 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
It's been years since I read this fine novel from cover to cover--but not so very long ago since my latest brief delve. It was not unlike visiting old friends or neighbors, and I was most happy to spend some time with them. Larry Woiwode brings the simple pleasures and heartbreaks of everyday life vibrantly to life in this book, a "family saga" in the very best sense. There's a real joy to watching the lives of these characters unfold, and a recognized danger in the closeness of family life--I still recall the dread with which I read when it became clear that one of the characters was facing death. Creating that depth of feeling in a reader is no mean feat, but Larry Woiwode pulls it off time after time, as adroitly as a bird landing on a twig. He is certainly one of America's most under-appreciated writers, and this is a wonderful place to begin discovering his talents. These characters and events will linger a long long time.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By S. Merriman on May 22, 1998
Format: Paperback
I have read this book three times since it was first published. I was the only person to ever take it out of the library. It is not a happy tale, but the characters were so beautifully & clearly portrayed, the discriptive language intense. The weight of the hardship upon this family I could feel...I could relate to the storyteller. I smelled the grit, heard the aches,saw the gazes into the distance. I never knew why others didn't fall in love with this book. Mr. Woiwode, where are you??? Please wirte more.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. C Clark VINE VOICE on August 7, 2012
Format: Paperback
For years I have griped about the teaching of "The Great Gatsby" in high school. It is a book about loss, failure, hope, dreams and the confusion of the past. It is not a book a 16 year old can understand. But it is short. So it is assigned in high school English classes across the country.

I acquired my copy of "Beyond the Bedroom Wall" in the mid 70s. I was a regular reader of the New York Times Book Review and the New York Review of Books. Someone (or maybe both someones) gave it a superlative review, and I bought a hardback copy, a thing I rarely did back then. I have moved this tome across multiple states, having it glare at me every time I placed it in a box, stacked it, or dusted it, its poetic and longing author telling me, "Go on, but I really don't care if you read me or not."

After 35 years I finally ignored that curly wistfulness and cracked it open. And what a shock. I have no memory of why I bought it. I know it won a bunch of awards, but those didn't and don't mean much to me. No idea why I've carried it all these years, placing its pale beige heft on bookshelves in 5 or 6 states. But I'm grateful I did. And doubly grateful I never peeked inside before this summer. This is a book to be appreciated only by someone no longer quite so young as the boy who bought it. As a parent and grandparent, I know the longing that goes in both directions as I look with fear and foreboding at my declining father, remember my recently deceased mother, and glance with cautious hope toward children and grandchildren. The familial love Woiwode captures is of surpassing beauty and poignance. No gooey smarminess, no coy condescension, yet without pretense or phoniness. A story of highly flawed but loving people who lose and rebuild and lose and rebuild.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Donn Simon on August 23, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I remember when this book first came out. I had gone to school with Larry and read it immediatey. I knew many of the family (in Illinois) and was once hired (I think I was 17) to drive one of the older gentlemen from Illinois to North Dakota for a visit, therefore I know some of the places there also. Larry's father was our school Principaland was one of the major influences on my life, maybe he gave me the interest to visit all the foreign countries that I have. I have spent nearly 30 years overseas since leaving school in, 1960. I just re-read the book and many old memories came back. Thank you for this book. Our little town and school (my 1960 class might have been 40 or 45 people, I just can't remember) produced some top notch talented people within a year or two of each other, Larry and his brother Danny being typical of them.
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