Qty:1
  • List Price: $24.95
  • Save: $3.21 (13%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Blue Calhoun: A Novel has been added to your Cart
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Book is in very good condition. It may have some slight wear and possibly include a previous ownerâ€TMs name. We ship within 1 business day and offer no hassle returns. Big Hearted Books shares its profits with schools, churches and non-profit groups throughout New England. Thank you for your support!
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Blue Calhoun: A Novel Paperback – April 4, 2000


See all 7 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Paperback
"Please retry"
$21.74
$6.95 $0.01

The Amazon Book Review
The Amazon Book Review
Check out The Amazon Book Review, our editors' fresh new blog featuring interviews with authors, book reviews, quirky essays on book trends, and regular columns by our editors. Explore now
$21.74 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. In Stock. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

Blue Calhoun: A Novel + A Long and Happy Life: A Novel + Kate Vaiden
Price for all three: $48.22

Buy the selected items together

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Having survived several drunken years that nearly wrecked his marriage, Bluford Calhoun has finally settled peacefully into early middle age. He's sober now, and he's got a respectable job as a salesman at the Atkinson Music Company in 1950s Raleigh, North Carolina. Then an old classmate from the wrong side of the tracks walks into the store with her luminous, dark-haired daughter in tow, and Blue's life is changed forever. The enduring passion that young Luna Absher ignites in Blue forces him into moral quandary; ever the Southern gentleman, deeply rooted in the precepts of his time and place, he has to work hard to convince himself--and his elegant mother, Miss Ashlyn--that his wife and daughter have the strength to withstand his defection. Ultimately, Blue's defection is different from what one would expect, and though brief, its implications extend all the way to the granddaughter Blue must eventually wrest from her widowed father. Price is in top form here, forcing us to wrestle with Blue even as he wrestles with himself, portraying his anguish in painfully clear, clean prose that captures perfectly the rhythms of the South and of the human heart. Highly recommended. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 1/92; an interview with Price appears on p. 123.
-Barbara Hoffert, "Library Journal"
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

Written in the almost buttery style that Price has favored since Kate Vaiden (1986), this melodrama concerns an ex-alcoholic music salesman, Blue Calhoun, living in Raleigh, North Carolina, in the 1950's. Having sorely tried his wife and daughter and old mother by his drinking (he's sober now), Blue at last seems level. But then into the downtown music store where he works comes an old acquaintance from high school and her 16-year-old daughter, Luna. Blue is tempted and again falls; Luna (an incest victim) is a taste of freedom and possible redemption. He tries giving her up once, and is taken back by his family, but the leukemia death of an old bachelor friend re-involves Blue with Luna (in a not terribly credible plot-thickening). This second lapse is more serious, and, in sorrow, his long-suffering wife, daughter, and mother send him away. Blue will get still another chance (the story is boned with second and third chances), but his flaw has affected three--and ultimately four--generations of Calhoun women permanently. Only their patience and grace-in-pain reconstitute him. Price, in his recent books, has been assembling a kind of humane moral iconography: variously posed portraits of the utterly human sinner, no better and no worse than people can be; and strong versions of the Blessed Woman. Here, though, in the soapy re- curlings of the style (``I understood I'd failed completely, now today if never before in my long mess. I knew I was locked in the trough of it too, out here lost on a girl's hot tether, awaiting her will''), the icon seems merely air-filled. The characters speak to each other in conspicuously sad/wise parables; themes are paired too smoothly; and a certain gooey smugness--in the classical self- condemnatory/self-congratulatory mode--lurks everywhere. -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

"The Evening Chorus" by Helen Humphreys
From a writer of delicate and incandescent prose, "The Evening Chorus" offers a beautiful, spare examination of the natural world and the human heart. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; 1st edition (April 4, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684867826
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684867823
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,463,606 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Reynolds Price was born in Macon, North Carolina in 1933. Educated at Duke University and, as a Rhodes Scholar, at Merton College, Oxford University, he has taught at Duke since 1958 and is now James B. Duke Professor of English.

His first short stories, and many later ones, are published in his Collected Stories. A Long and Happy Life was published in 1962 and won the William Faulkner Award for a best first novel. Kate Vaiden was published in 1986 and won the National Book Critics Circle Award. The Good Priest's Son in 2005 was his fourteenth novel. Among his thirty-seven volumes are further collections of fiction, poetry, plays, essays, and translations. Price is a member of both the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and his work has been translated into seventeen languages.

Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Pasiphae on November 28, 2004
Format: Paperback
It's a rare book that can make you forgive a man who is committing unforgivable acts. For that reason I want to call this book the American Lolita. I know that Lolita is set in America, but it has a distinctly European sensibility, and Blue Calhoun's sensibility is purely American. Thematically, both books deal with the sexualization of girls and how that echoes through families and lives. But this book is not especially explicit. Blue is too careful with words to go there. It is a piningly romantic, erotically charged and heartbreaking story. It's on a par with Kate Vaiden, my other beloved Price book. Both books share a perfectly evoked time and place and a realistic way with Southern dialog, in that people talk over and around the real subject, maintaining their manners during emotionally charged exchanges. That delicacy keeps this book from ever dipping into the sordid, even as it deals with difficult subject matter.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Pat on October 8, 2002
Format: Paperback
Reynolds Price writes of incest and pedoohilia in such a courtly style that I had to re-read certain passages to verify the recitation of unspeakable acts committed on children by people whom they trusted. The "hero" is not a likeable person and it is difficult to comprehend how his mother, wife and daughter continue to give him so many "second" chances. His weaknesses are apparent, as is his awareness of the hurt that he inflicts; however, he doesn't redeem himself by being aware since he continues to pursue his own desires even while knowing how hurtful these actions are. Reynolds Price is an author I have liked for many years. He doesn't fear to tread where others might, but his style is under-stated and very southern in tone so that the reader is sometimes taken unaware. This is not his best effort, but I will continue to read what he writes.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 11, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is probably the best of the 3 novels by Reynolds Price that I have read; I have read two others, "Roxanna Slade" and "The Promise of Rest" both of which I would also recommend highly. Price is an excellent prose stylist who is comfortable with the use of similes and metaphors. He writes in a lilting Southern style which is unique to him; his books are filled with family and food, friends, and (unfortunately)disease and death, and sex--all of the above are life-affirming qualities. "Blue Calhoun" concerns pedophilia, although perhaps this is a relative term. It concerns a strongly heterosexual relationship between a married adult male and a 16-year-old girl and its consequences for his family. Though she is not of "legal age" I don't suppose (I don't know) if legally this falls in the same illegality as the Catholic priests scandals. At any rate the book procedes at a sparkling pace,has some interesting characters, notably Blue's daughter, mother and wife in addition to Luna and Blue (who is an ex-alcoholic and musical instrument salesman), funny and sad at the same time, and I just liked it the best. If I were to recommend a book by Reynolds Price, it would be this one.
I would like to also comment on the other two novels: "Roxanna Slade" is a more historic novel, dealing with an "ordinary" Southern woman who deals with bouts of depression coming of age in the early decades of the 20th Century. But this novel is not at all ordinary. The other novel,"The Promise Of Rest" is more contemporary and deals with the narrator's son, an architect in New York City, who returns home to the South where he dies of AIDS.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bomojaz on May 12, 2006
Format: Paperback
This beautifully written epistolary novel presents a problem of purpose and intention on the part of its main character, Bluford Calhoun: why in the world is he writing this 373-page letter to his teenaged granddaughter in which he describes to her in excruciating detail the consuming attraction he had for Luna, a teenaged girl half his age, 30 years before? Indeed, he's looking for understanding and forgiveness for his horrid behavior, an adulterous affair that went on for a year and almost destroyed his marriage. That's obvious. Price also believed that family traits are often passed down through the generations, so perhaps Blue is trying to warn Lyn of this particular trait to help her not succumb to it herself (Lyn is an orphan and has been abused by her father). That's less obvious. Either way, it still stretches credulity that he would do it, for me anyway. But Price is such a wonderful writer that reading Blue's letter is a treat. Price's command of language is extraordinary, and he gives Blue a unique and lyrical narrative voice. Whether or not Blue's motives are achieved in writing his letter, the reader comes to know this infuriating yet somehow almost saintly man (he can be kind and caring and fair at times) in this compelling novel by Reynolds Price. I truly enjoyed it despite my own difficulty comprehending Blue's intentions.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Format: Paperback
Blue Calhoun is beautiful writing, typical of Reynolds Price. Poetic, descriptive, mysterious, personal, gripping, and smooth, this is the story of an older man and his inappropriate relationship, perhaps love, of a 16 year old girl. Blue's actions, his obsession, and his refusal to see himself realistically, dramatically affects his family, his work, his friends, and his responses to life.

Yes, it is gloriously written with a literary, personal spirit that often accompanies the writing of Reynolds Price. Masterful, stunning prose that takes a dark theme and somehow makes it seem almost normal. Without the darkness of Faulkner or the pain of Dreiser, Price takes us on a journey that becomes a valuable lesson and perception of the benefits of containment and restraint.

But no matter how well it is written, no matter how many awards the author deserves, it is a disturbing book. Weak in plot, and generally disgusting. Writing style--5 stars, story itself--1 star. Not recommended except for those with a strong stomach.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
Blue Calhoun: A Novel
This item: Blue Calhoun: A Novel
Price: $24.95 $21.74
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?