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Five Minutes in Heaven Mass Market Paperback – February 1, 1996


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Plume (February 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452276136
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452276130
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,720,129 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

How a woman discovers her sexual identity is the theme of Alther's fifth novel, a work of admirable ambition but only tepid interest. Growing up in Tennessee during the 1950s, Jude subsumes her sorrow at her mother's death and her physician father's remoteness by a tomboyish, then latently erotic bonding with her best friend Molly. Molly dies. Ten years later, living in New York while attending graduate school at Columbia, Jude falls in love with another childhood friend, Sandy, who takes her to bed although he is gay. After Sandy, too, becomes a "graveyard love," Jude, now a book editor in a publishing house, has a grand passion with poet/teacher Anna, who also is doomed to pass from her life. Finally, in Paris, Jude achieves an epiphany that allows her to accept her sexual nature and her future. Readers looking for the humor and dash of Kinflicks will be disappointed here; only rarely does Alther's plodding recital of Jude's unhappy existence admit flashes of wit. Instead, the prose is surprisingly graceless and often clumsy. Readers may be moved to laughter by the number of times characters are defined by their eye colors. Great significance accrues to the fact that one character's eyes are "like licorice throat lozenges"; another's "cat's eyes were flashing chartreuse"; and another's are like "miniature blueberry pies... around each pupil was a tiny translucent golden ring like a butter rum life saver." As Jude "earns her spurs in the rodeo of l'amour," her "gift for suffering" like Alther's eye-fixation, becomes tiresome. Author tour.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

The best-selling author of Bedrock (LJ 9/1/90) returns with this tale of a young woman's sexual awakening.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Lisa Alther is the author of six novels -- KINFLICKS, ORIGINAL SINS, OTHER WOMEN, BEDROCK, FIVE MINUTES IN HEAVEN, and WASHED IN THE BLOOD. She has also written a memoir (KINFOLKS), a novella (BIRDMAN AND THE DANCER), a collection of short stories (STORMY WEATHER AND OTHER STORIES) and a narrative history of the Hatfield-McCoy feud (BLOOD FEUD). These books have been published in seventeen languages and have appeared on bestseller lists worldwide. Alther was born in Kingsport, Tennessee, in 1944. She currently lives in Tennessee, Vermont, and New York City.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 3, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I can see why some readers would be put off by this book. The stress on feminism and lesbianism is insistent (though not nearly as unsubtly so as in some of Alther's other books), and the characters are quite cliched - polite Southerners, aloof Northerners, sensitive gays, sophisticated but tricky Parisians and the like. At the same time, the passion and love that are the book's main subject and the light, understatedly dramatic writing style used to depict them are such that the reader will forget about the cliches and be drawn into the story, which is totally, totally gripping. Like the love it describes, Alther's novel has a haunting, obsessive quality which I have seldom seen surpassed in other works of fiction. A modern classic!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Ellen B. La Corte on August 22, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I found "Five Minutes In Heaven" to be a compelling and enjoyable read. This novel was intriguing, even if a bit dark. The story was somewhat sophisticated and off the beaten path, which is what I liked about it, though not everyone would relate. This definitely isn't a book that stays within the confines of "mainstream" perspective. Rather, it explores sexuality and a woman's search for love, as well as for her self, from a place that exists outside conventional, conservative dogma. Because of that, I found it refreshing, unique and terrific.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 1, 1997
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This novel was OUTSTANDING. I haven't read anything that was so emotionally gripping in a long time. Anyone who is/has been struggling to find The One will be able to relate. This book touches all of us in that it expresses a very strong desire in all of us (or at least MOST of us) to find a mutually-satisfying, healthy, LTR. And yes, reading this book made me cry, and I never cry. ;
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3 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 23, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Sorry to bring down the average on this book, but I HATED it. It was depressing, and extremely ODD. For those cynics in the crowd, you may want to read it just for a laugh. The book was plagued by death, and lesbianism. Everyone this poor woman loved, died. The book had no redeeming value WHATSOEVER and seemed not to have a point. If you're hoping to find a poignant author, this is not the woman. My advice: stick with Barbara Kingsolver and Fannie Flagg.
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