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Guest House Paperback – March 16, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 218 pages
  • Publisher: Bay Tree Publishing; 1st edition (March 16, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0981957714
  • ISBN-13: 978-0981957715
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,002,001 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Richardson, who is part comedienne, part landscape artist and part Zen master, reveals 
the vulnerability of her characters with utmost delicacy . . . there is salvation here, 
and it happens in this addictively-readable and often hilarious novel."
--Lisa Jones, author of BROKEN: A LOVE STORY

"The people living in GUEST HOUSE are as particular and real--and flawed--as our neighbors, our friends, ourselves. In this remarkably generous novel Barbara Richardson chronicles not only the betrayals and sorrows of the human heart, but the love and hope and caring that heals it."
 --Molly Gloss, author of WILD LIFE

"No way are books dead. Not with writers like this out there."    --Jesse Kornbluth, Head Butler

"GUEST HOUSE is perhaps the most rapid-fire novel of domestic hope and strife you're likely to read all summer."    --Ben Fulton, The Salt Lake Tribune
     
"The one Oprah missed."  --Anna Nair, Shelf Unbound Magazine

About the Author

Barbara Richardson's debut novel Guest House, a contemporary look at the families we create, was an Eric Hoffer Medal fiction finalist. Her second novel, Tributary, comes out this summer. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing at Eastern Washington University. Her work has appeared in "Northwest Review," "Quarterly West" and "Dialogue." She lives and writes in Boulder, Colorado.

More About the Author

Barbara Richardson's debut novel, "Guest House," launched the first literary Truck Stop Tour in the nation. Her novel "Tributary," which won the 2013 Utah Book Award in fiction, explores the lesser-known stories of Mormon settlement in the Salt Lake Valley. Richardson earned an MFA in poetry from Eastern Washington University.

She now works as an editor in the Wasatch Back of Utah.

Learn more at: http://www.barbarakrichardson.com, www.dirtalovestory.com

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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The characters were all so well developed.
Jennifer
It only takes one powerful moment to change a person forever.
bridget3420
It kept my attention the whole way through.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Nel Rand on February 27, 2010
Format: Paperback
I have just finished GUEST HOUSE and I loved it. I rarely want to sit down and read a book all over again but that is just what I'm doing with this one. Barbara Richardson's novel has the richness of style of a Michael Chabon, the poetic prose of Janet Fitch, the sparse opulence of Annie Proulx, and the humor of Fannie Flag, yet it is her own original voice. I admit that when I first started reading I thought there were too many Point-of-view characters, and not enough of Melba Burns as a clear-cut protagonist but as I read on and got into the rhythm of it I found myself liking the different points of view. I loved the fast-paced, wham-bam hurling language and the toughness of it all. The characters were brave and angry in a world that offered them little. This is a novel deserving of awards and a great book to discuss in a book club. I can't wait to read more from this new and talented writer.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Joyce Phelps on March 4, 2010
Format: Paperback
I know that this book affected me in a "down to my bones" way. Melba is a lady I think about a lot and wonder how she's doing and how she does it. I want to live in her house and dig in her garden and sit on the porch and have a glass of wine with Gene. Barbara is a beautiful writer no doubt, but for me sometimes her story would come across a little too vague, Melba would be just a little too passive, and then bam! the writing would become perfectly descriptive and down and dirty, real life stuff. I would find myself thinking - yeah, that's right, that's how it is and I've never seen that written down before, how did she know!
The story engaged and suprised me all along the way.
Barbara is a gifted and seasoned writer, I would like reading about anything she writes, because she can sure tell a story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Laurel-Rain Snow TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 9, 2010
Format: Paperback
A series of events triggers a metamorphosis of untold dimensions when Melba Burns witnesses the hit-and-run death of a cyclist. With the tragedy unfolding before her, she then sets in motion a whole parade of circumstances, beginning with her refusal to drive any longer. She also quits her job and holes up in her old farmhouse. Her uneasy peace is then disrupted by a new roommate, JoLee Garry, who introduces an odd assortment of "guests" into Melba's home.

Before too much time passes, her life is thoroughly shaken up.

We meet these characters one by one, from JoLee to her son Matt and then to his father Gene. JoLee also begins a romance with a man named Bill, and her own games ensue. Manipulation is only the first of these.

I enjoyed getting to know each of these characters and imagining how tranquil Melba's house would have been without them. It isn't easy inviting strangers into one's own home. In fact some might say she has taken leave of her senses. One could speculate that Melba's own identity has been shaken to the core, which leaves her vulnerable to the intruders. But one guest in particular adds something special and unique to her life--JoLee's son Matt. Caring for and nurturing Matt, when his parents fail at this task, somehow creates a layer of strength and richness to her life.

In the end, we can root for how her presence in this boy's life has also enriched his.

Guest House is one of those tales that resonates and lingers in the reader's memory for a very long time. The story reminds us that we are all connected in one way or another, by circumstances or fate. How we react to the events shaped by destiny tells us more about ourselves than almost anything else. The twist of fate can reveal much about our own strengths and weaknesses.

Five stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By she treads softly on June 7, 2010
Format: Paperback
Guest House is a beautifully written debut novel by Barbara K. Richardson. The title is taken from Rumi: "This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival..." I'll admit that I approached Guest House with a wee bit of trepidation. I thought I would enjoy it from the description, but I was nervous it would be too chick-lit for me. Those worries were soon negated. You know what? Guest House is a really good book. This is the story of a woman redefining her life, a dysfunctional family disintegrating, and what happens when their lives converge. Richardson's characters are realistic, flawed, and struggling in some way. I swear I know a few of these characters. Each character clearly has an individual voice and point of view. I sympathized with Melba and wanted her to get her confidence back. My heart broke for Matt. I wanted to slap JoLee. Gene needed a good talking too. In the end I appreciated the message about love. The best recommendation could be that I stayed up late to finish reading it since I knew I could not sleep until I knew the outcome. Richardson is an author to watch. I expect big things from her in the future. Guest House is Highly Recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Edward J. Kanze on March 2, 2010
Format: Paperback
Barbara Richardson's "Guest House" proves to be a brilliant work of fiction. Like other great books, it starts slowly, quietly adding layer upon layer of character and action until the whole thing gets rolling and thunders on to a dramatic and surprising conclusion. This book reminds me of Keri Hulme's extraordinary "Bone People," which won of the world's great literary prizes, the Booker, some twenty-five years ago. But Richardson's prose is more graceful than Hulme's, and her characters seem even more alive. I picked up "Guest House" expecting to read it slowly, a few pages here, a few pages there, over the course of a week or two. That's how I started. Yet soon I was caught up the juggernaut of events and character evolution, and I read and read and read until it was the middle of the night and the book was done. Bravo! Bravo! This story and its characters will stick with me a long, long time.
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