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Everything You Need: A Novel Paperback – July 9, 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (July 9, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375707476
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375707476
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,694,646 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Scottish novelist Kennedy (So I Am Glad; Original Bliss) sets her seventh book on bleakly romantic Foal Island on the coast of Wales, home to the Fellowship, possibly the world's most unusual and most hazardous writers' colony. The novel opens with an arresting scene: Nathan Staples, a commercially successful but artistically failed novelist, is in the process of hanging himself. Nathan survives, and decides instead to bring Mary, now 19, the daughter he hasn't seen since she was four, to the island on a writing fellowship. Mary Lamb makes the seventh member of the Fellowship, and she has no idea that Nathan is her father, or why she was chosen for her stipend or, for much of her residency on Foal Island, the nature of the Fellowship and their odd frequency of incidents "in the risk-taking area." Kennedy is richly, boldly imaginative, both in the scenes she conceives and in the language and images she uses to convey them, alternating exposition with internal monologue and scraps of manuscript and winding from one arresting figure of speech to the next. Foal Island is much closer to Prospero's Isle than it is to the London literary scene which Kennedy excoriates with lacerating wit ("This is what hell will be like, you know?" says one editor about to leave a London publisher's party. "In heaven there are many mansions and in hell there are many houses all of them publishing"). Kennedy's complex, prickly and uncompromising quest for an understanding of the life of the spirit draws her into dark waters, but she keeps a tenacious hold on warmer truths, too the human heat-seeking instinct is at the generous heart of her tale. (July 26)Forecast: This is Kennedy's biggest, most ambitious work yet, and one of the most important literary novels of the summer. Expect prominent reviews (likely a few cover pieces) and healthy sales.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Nathan Staples is a successful middle-aged novelist who feels that he has squandered his talent writing thrillers. He also regrets having abandoned his wife and daughter many years ago. When Staples discovers that his daughter is now an aspiring writer herself, he secretly arranges for her to win a fellowship to study with him on Foal Island, a writer's colony off the coast of Wales. Mary Lamb has no idea that Staples is her father, and Staples spends the next seven years trying to work up the nerve to tell her. Here, Scottish author Kennedy (So I Am Glad) reworks the story line of A Star Is Born, substituting literary fame for Hollywood celebrity. Mary's career quickly takes off, while Staples succumbs to writer's block and depression. Kennedy offers some devastating insider criticism of the current publishing scene, but her main objective is to examine the self-imposed obstacles that stand in the way of true intimacy. This hugely ambitious novel has an edgy, post-punk surface that only partly conceals the old-fashioned family values at its core. Recommended for most fiction collections. Edward B. St. John, Loyola Law Sch. Lib., Los Angeles
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By ScurvyDog on July 21, 2006
Format: Paperback
Many reviews for "Paradise" and one lonely voice for "Everything...," what a shame. Exceptional writing, fascinating characters, the antithesis of chick lit, and funny in the blackest sense. Ms. Kennedy's writing makes my brain feel like it's been subjected to a good fire hosing. It's probably not good to have her imagery in my head, but it leaves a lasting impression. Most other novels are ingest-and-forget; you won't forget this book. Thankfully, the lasting impression is not of the Irvine Welsh please-dip-me-in-a-vat-of-acid-so-I-can-feel-clean-again variety. But it is a bracing read.

If you're deciding which of Ms. Kennedy's books to read, do read this book (not that I don't highly recommend "Paradise," I just suggest reading it after this book). The "Editor" character in "Everything" serves as introduction to the "Hannah" character in "Paradise." If you can't stomach him, you won't want to read an entire book on the subject.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By K. L. Cotugno VINE VOICE on December 21, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Although the length of this book may seem daunting, there is not a superfluous word. Every page holds a gem of a phrase, an idea. This is the first of Kennedy's books that I have read, and it makes me want to read all of them. This book has extreme depths and, in a rare combination, is laugh out loud hilarious. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By C. Pavlik Purgus on November 25, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read "Everything You Need" when it came out in 2002, and now nearly a decade later, it remains at the top of my list of very favorite books. Kennedy's writing is exquisite. Her story deep and rich, it cut me to the heart.
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