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Love All: A Novel Hardcover – July 9, 2013


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Eighteen-year-old Karl Ove moves to a tiny fishing village in the Arctic Circle to work as a school teacher. As the nights get longer, the shadow cast by his father's own sharply increasing alcohol consumption, also gets longer. Read the full description
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

After his wife, Joanie, dies in her sleep, Bob goes to live with his daughter, Anne, and her family. Anne, an overworked lawyer, and her husband, Hugh, the headmaster of a private preschool, are drifting apart. Their teenage children, Teddy and Julia, are dealing with routine adolescent problems. Teddy has no sense of direction, while Julia wants nothing more than to turn the attention of her best (boy) friend into a romance. Hanging over the family is the specter of a scandalous book from the 1960s called The Sex Cure, a Peyton Place–type potboiler that revealed town secrets and left many marriages broken in its wake. Although Bob was relieved that his many affairs never made it into print, Joanie became obsessed with the book, and observant Anne was left to spend the rest of her life questioning the notions of fidelity and trust. When Hugh has an affair with a student’s mother, it threatens to bring down the entire family. A quiet snapshot of an average family, Wright’s debut novel should appeal to fans of domestic fiction. --Rebecca Vnuk

Review

[A] promising debut… all about the characters, supported by Wright's capable and often poignant prose. (Miami Herald)

High summer just became a whole lot more intriguing, thanks to the first of many (hopefully) Wright novels. Bring on the hanky-panky please. (Edge Magazine)

Wright's charming novel provides a thoroughly observed take on the dissolution of a marriage of nearly 20 years….Told cleverly from a variety of vantage points… [Love All is] a promising and tender debut (San Francisco Chronicle)

I loved this book, from start to finish. Told from the perspective of each family member, the drive comes from the emotion flooding each chapter and storyline. For me, the most successful character and plot line was Julia; Wright's writing style and dialog wrapped tightly around the 15-year-old's story and soared with it. (Spencer Daily Reporter)

[A] winsome debut novel… Wright is a sure-handed writer who's at her strongest when describing the vicissitudes of marriage, which she does with great heart and originality… Love All is a study in intimacy--how we create it, how we bungle it; and, most of all, how we yearn for and require it, no matter how small or large our daily geography. (Oprah.com)

The problem with most first novels is that they read like first novels. Callie Wright's debut, Love All, reads like the work of a writer in mid-career… [Wright] has a feel for life among the small-town gentry reminiscent of Updike… (Vanity Fair)

[A] fetching debut novel… (Elle Magazine)

A generation after a salacious roman à clef airs an entire town's dirty laundry, the tell-all book resurfaces in the same house it originally wreaked havoc on, forcing one family to ask if history will repeat itself… [LOVE ALL's] storyline will launch any kind of gossip session or book club discussion. (Marie Claire)

In this winning first novel, three generations of a Cooperstown, New York, clan find their lives upended by a long-buried copy of The Sex Cure--a real-life roman a clef from 1962 that scandalized town residents. (AARP Magazine)

When three generations of the Obermeyer family start living under one roof, long-hidden truths surface. Fifteen-year-old Julia is a standout character-she's spirited, sensitive…and totally in love with her male best friend! A "must read book of the summer." (People Stylewatch)

I read Callie Wright's splendid debut novel, Love All, with such a delirious swim of recognition that I was both rueful and nostalgic when I finally put the book down. Like Julia, one of the beautifully complicated main characters, I was a young girl in Cooperstown in the early 1990s: I can tell you that this generous, wise writer nailed this story with astonishing and heartfelt aplomb. (Lauren Groff, author of Arcadia and The Monsters of Templeton)

A touching character-driven tale…the prose is effortless, and the characters are accessible and genuine, making this a promising debut. (Publishers Weekly)

With the power and grace of a strong forehand swing, Love All introduces one of fiction's most endearing families--a family as real as your own. How does Callie Wright manage to make falling in love heartbreaking, and losing the love of your life heartwarming? How does a single week manage to feel as full as a lifetime? That's the magic of this unforgettable debut. If this isn't a Great American Novel, I don't know what is. (Eleanor Henderson, author of Ten Thousand Saints)

What makes a novel a mystery even when the reader has finished and the ending is known? How the author managed to get us there, with what seemed like so little maneuvering; how ineffable our emotions remain, even when grounded in the best prose. What an original, enlightening, and humane book Callie Wright's Love All is. And what a good one. (Ann Beattie)

What's most stunning about Wright's stirring, well-wrought debut, is the author's own capaciousness--she has no trouble getting under the skin of her all too human characters, treating young and old, male and female, with a master storyteller's equality of insight. (Helen Schulman, author of This Beautiful Life)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.; Stated 1st Edition edition (July 9, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805096973
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805096972
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #951,196 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

I kept reading hoping it would pick up but it never did.
V. Sanders-whittle
The use of the real life novel is skillfully interwoven into the plot of the characters who have grown up in various ways in its wake.
Amelia Gremelspacher
The character development was weak and the story line was missing any real direction or plot.
Saundra

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Mr. August VINE VOICE on June 3, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
From page one, I realized I would be reading the words of an intelligent author, who would grab my attention without the use of gimmicks.

Callie Wright presents a family drama set in Cooperstown, New York in 1994. Listening to the voices of three generations, Wright transports us through love, overbearing parents, career choices, infidelity, financial problems and a general coming-of-age story presented with superb phrasing and constructed characterizations.

When Joanie Obermeyer unexpectedly dies in her sleep, her 86 year old husband, Bob, moves in with his daughter, Anne, an attorney, her husband Hugh, principal of Seedlings pre-school, and their two teen-age children, Teddy and Julia. With three generations now under one roof and Joanie, the former caretaker and negotiator gone, Wright sets up a probable explosion of interactions.

The plot is more complex than you would believe at the start. Chapters are narrated from alternating points of view, which gives the reader a closer touch and possible allegiance to one family member. Teddy witnesses an act which would change their lives forever, Julia is caught in a love triangle, Anne is suspicious of her husband, Hugh is terrified of a scandal and Bob, well he has his own demons.

Wright provides us with a backdrop of sexual misconduct of Bob and Hugh and how this impacts their lives. Many years prior, an author wrote a book, The Sex Cure, which was their Peyton Place, and it rocked the town. History appears to be repeating itself on a more sophisticated level but the heartache echoes.

Family secrets are the core of this story, which may sound like a familiar plot. However, Wright serves it up with an intellectual foresight. Wright's family members became addictive.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Antigone Walsh VINE VOICE on July 25, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a tale of love and loss set in bucolic Cooperstown, NY. Home of the Baseball Hall of Fame, the Glimmerglass Opera, Farmer's Museum and Fenimore Art Museum, it boasts amazing natural beauty. Having live and worked and Otsego County, I believe the author captured the nuances of the area and small town life. Unfortunately, the story did not do it justice. The tale focuses on the Obermeyer family, definitely big fish in a small pond. When matriarch Joanie unexpectedly dies, her philandering eighty-six year old husband Bob moves in with their daughter, Anne, a lawyer and her cheating spouse, preschool administrator Hugh. Anne and Hugh have two teenagers, Teddy and Julia. Also in play is an old tawdry best seller, The Sex Cure, which was published in the early sixties when Anne was suffering through eighth grade. Essentially the Cooperstown version of Peyton Place, it provided a fictional version of who's doing who. It also served to expose Bob as one of the most notorious doers. The book marred Bob's marriage and colored Anne's perceptions when she finds her relationship floundering. The children are not immune to the turmoil and act out in their own peculiar ways.

None of the characters resonated with me and I found them and their dilemmas tiresome. Anne is a cold fish and Hugh is a wimp. Bob and Joanie were more engaging but neither seemed to learn from their experiences. Teddy, the young jock, is nothing more than swagger while his sister is just plain weird. The ending failed to elate and one supposes the characters are condemned to continue their dreary mediocrity. Although nicely written, this book is not fun. It lacks passion and is humorless and ultimately uninteresting. It is never good when the place bests the people. Pass.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ellens. on July 30, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I don't normally read a ton of fiction because I typically find that I can't stand or don't believe the characters. But I found it hard to put Love All down and was delighted to see which character would be at the helm of the next chapter - enjoying getting inside their minds. The other reviewers have covered the basics of the plot - a family going through growing pains - so I will talk more about my experience reading it.

It is so clear that Callie Wright is an intelligent author - she doesn't dumb it down for you or spend pages off in the clouds describing the shadows the light casts - instead, she is able to quickly and smartly bring the worlds of Cooperstown and each of the Obermeyer clan to life for you. I found it impressive that she could create such well rounded characters that you adored and disliked all in one: because they seemed like real people, not fairytale characters.

I also really enjoyed how she wove the stories together. Each chapter focused on a different character's point of view (but only Julia, the 15 year old, in first person). Not only did this bring a 360-degree perspective, it also heightened the realism of her writing. Further, it made each chapter refreshing to read - I never got bored or skimmed ahead because I was curious what the next person thought of the unfolding events.

The final experience I want to share is how tension is infused throughout the story. There are several instances where I was convinced a character was going to do something totally obvious and ham-handed. I would groan at the inevitable cliche -- and then the author would redirect the story and what I had expected to happen wouldn't. It certainly kept me on my toes in a way I enjoyed.
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