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A SUMMONS TO NEW ORLEANS: A Novel Hardcover – August 9, 2000


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Copyright 2000 edition (August 9, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684863197
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684863191
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,843,107 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Honor squares off against fair play in Hall's (A Better Place; Close to Home) thoughtful third novel. Nora Braxton's life has been slipping out of control. Her husband has left her for a young Red Lobster waitress, her children are in crisis and her crazy/mean mother can't stop saying, "I told you so." When vivacious former college roommate Simone Gray, a successful model and television restaurant critic, invites Nora to New Orleans for a "midlife reunion," she jumps at the escape. Once there, she discovers that Simone has also invited their other former roommate, Poppy, an outspoken artist and recently born-again Christian whose religious conversion has resulted in a separation from her Jewish husband. When Simone finally arrives, Nora and Poppy discover the real reason for the summons: Simone wants her two old friends to witness the trial of her rapist. Subplots involve Poppy's abusive father and Nora's strained history with her mother. Facile character sketches belie complex themes in which the relationship between freedom and violence in American life is explored. Hall's keenly sensitive insight into Simone's psychological plight is hard-won: cover copy informs the reader that Helen was herself a victim of rape in New Orleans. A strong and admirable messageAabout taking responsibility for one's actions, forgiving oneself and moving onAdistinguishes Hall's latest. (Aug.) FYI: Hall, an award-winning television writer, is the executive producer of Judging Amy.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

When Nora's college pal Simone, now a food critic, invites her to spend a week in New Orleans, Nora is grateful for a chance to escape the problems that are plaguing her at home--a husband who has left her, a sense of having failed her children, and an overbearing mother. Her problems seem to fade, however, when she learns that Simone needs her support because she was violently raped a year before. Now the rapist is being brought to trial. Nora and Simone are joined by a third friend, Poppy, who has recently turned to religion and away from her concerned husband. As events unfold during their week together, Nora is confronted with some ponderous and challenging questions about her life, "truth," and the nature of belief. Author and TV writer Hall draws on her own experiences as a woman who was raped in New Orleans to render a vivid and thought-provoking story that skillfully embodies the uncertainties inherent not only in the judicial system but in any human interaction. Grace Fill
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

To TV audiences she may be better known as a four-time Emmy-nominated writer and producer (Joan of Arcadia, Judging Amy) and the co-Executive Producer of Homeland, but to avid readers she's a novelist with 11 published works whose imagination has been honored by numerous institutions, including the American Library Association in both their Best Books and Notable Books categories.

An accomplished author, Hall wrote three young adult novels including: Skeeball and the Secret of the Universe, Dixie Storms and Fool's Hill, as well as the mystery House Across the Cove. Her other novels include A Better Place, Close to Home and A Summons to New Orleans. Her newest novel, Charisma (release date: October 1st, 2013).

As a child in Chatham, Virginia, Hall had a single vision, which moved her toward writing by the isolation, even frustration, of a small Southern town. The youngest of three siblings, she often collaborated on stories with her older sister, knowing by age 8 what career path lay ahead.

She attended James Madison University, garnering a myriad of awards on the way to an English degree. Recognizing that a struggling writer should choose between New York and Los Angeles, two days after graduation she moved to L.A. Says Hall, "I figured if I had to starve, I didn't have to freeze."

On the west coast, she wrote her first novel, Skeeball and the Secret of the Universe, which got the attention of an agent and, consequently, producer Gary David Goldberg. Despite the fact that there were few women writers in TV in the early '80s, Hall sold her first story to Family Ties and was soon hired by Newhart as a comedy writer before being promoted to story editor.

Disliking the roundtable format of comedy writing, Hall moved to the more personal medium of drama. As story editor, she honed her chops with Joshua Brand and John Falsey on A Year In the Life before co-producing Moonlighting and producing Anything But Love. In 1990, she began a tenure with David Chase (The Sopranos) as co-executive producer of I'll Fly Away,which completely changed her creative approach, "the closest I ever came to fiction writing on television." She subsequently reunited with Brand, Falsey, and Chase as consulting producer on Northern Exposure.

Hall furthered her reputation as a can-do producer with three television pilots, including The Doyles, which TV Guide endorsed as a great show whose potential was never exploited. Undaunted, she wrote a memorable episode of ER before spending two years with Chicago Hope, first as co-executive producer, then as consulting producer. In 1999, Hall was tapped to executive produce Judging Amy, a one-hour show about a juvenile court judge and single mother (Amy Brenneman). During its six seasons, the hit CBS drama earned kudos for its star as well as Tyne Daly, who portrayed her quirky yet well-meaning mother, a former social worker.

With an earnest sense of mysticism, Hall next created and executive produced Joan of Arcadia, reinventing the Joan of Arc legend for modern audiences. The Emmy-nominated CBS series explored the earthly dance between physics and metaphysics in the form of Joan (Amber Tamblyn), an otherwise normal teenager who keeps meeting God in different human forms. More recently, Hall wrote and executive produced Ultra, a TV pilot based on a graphic novel about a female superhero juggling a crime-fighting career with the demands of an active single's social life, and the CBS pilot Demons, which not only exposed supernatural occurrences, but also the everyday lives of exorcists.

Hall made inroads into feature film with her original screenplay, Hearts, for Warner Bros. and a rewrite of Sylvie for Beacon Pictures, but she never let a successful Hollywood career diminish her enthusiasm for the novel. Her first long-form work, Skeeball and the Secret of the Universe (1987, Orchard Press), wove the tale of a boy from a blue-collar family whose quest to do something important spurs him to become the world's greatest skeeball player. Her subsequent young adult novels include: Dixie Storms (1990, HBJ), a family crucible set on a Virginia tobacco farm; Fool's Hill (1992, Bantam), a small-town tale of friendship and betrayal; and the mystery House Across the Cove (1995, Bantam).

Bridging into novels for mature readers, Hall penned A Better Place (1992, Simon & Schuster), about an egocentric woman whose failure in Hollywood is met by fear in her home town when people learn she is returning; and Close to Home (1997, Simon & Schuster), a dark tale about a woman who begins to learn disturbing things about her new husband and his home town where they now live. Her novel A Summons To New Orleans (Simon & Schuster), was released in 2000 and centered around three female friends and a rape trial set in the Cajun city. Hall recently came out with her young adult novel, The Noah Confessions (Random House) last year.

"The greatest achievement in writing is to make people laugh one minute and cry the next," she explains. "All of my heroes did that, from Mark Twain to Preston Sturges. At the end of the day, I try to bring to my work a sense of hopefulness." Her work has clearly resonated with audiences and critics alike. Hall has been nominated for four Emmys (Joan of Arcadia, I'll Fly Away, Northern Exposure) and a Golden Laurel from the Producers Guild of America, earning a Humanitas Award, NAACP Image Award and TV Critics Association Award. Judging Amy was nominated for New Program of the Year by the Television Critics Association and won Favorite New Series at the 2000 TV Guide Awards. Joan of Arcadia brought four Emmy nominations including Outstanding Drama Series and a People's Choice Award for Favorite New Drama Series, among other honors.

Currently, Hall is serving as a co-executive producer of the Emmy-winning Showtime drama Homeland, inking a two-year deal with studio Fox 21. In addition, she is developing a separate script at CBS.

Hall is also a founding member of the alternative country rock band The Enablers, with whom she has released two albums. As a solo artist, she released her debut, Handsome, in 2005 and second CD, Bad Man, in 2013.

Customer Reviews

I'm not really sure what the point of the whole story was supposed to be.
Gingersnap
The one fault I found was the ending came much too quickly and didn't answer the main question in the book.
KDMask
The female trio learns much about one another and themselves as they spend time together in New Orleans.
Harriet Klausner

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on July 19, 2000
Format: Hardcover
After fifteen years of marriage, her husband, taking all their cash and running off with a waitress, leaves Virginian Nora Preston humiliated. Adding to her worries, the FBI seeks her spouse for big time tax evasion. Nora has taken up calligraphy to supplement the money she sometimes receives from her fugitive husband. Meanwhile their son wants to spend the summer with his absentee father and her mother walks around with an "I told you" smirk.

When out of the blue her college roommate Simone calls and offers her a free vacation in New Orleans, Nora grabs the invitation like a drowning person clutches a life preserver. Nora arrives to learn that their other roommate Poppy is there too. Though happy to see Poppy, Nora can tell her college friend is radically changed. The three college friends have come together because Simone needs their support through the ordeal of a rape trial that occurred a year ago.

In the tradition of Belva Plain and Barbara Delinsky, Barbara Hall has written a thought-provoking novel that will appeal to fans of contemporary women's fiction. The ex spouses are actually human and even likable, as the audience understands and condemns their self-indulging motives. The female trio learns much about one another and themselves as they spend time together in New Orleans. It teaches them and the reader life's most endearing lessons and how not to repeat past mistakes.

Harriet Klausner
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By KDMask VINE VOICE on February 17, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book starts out as a typical "midlife crisis-I'm divorced" tale. Three college friends come together to support one of them through a trial. The book quickly turns to a semi-mystery with past revelations popping up all over the place. The descriptions of New Orlean's night life are interesting and the city itself is used in an interesting way as another "character" in the story. The one fault I found was the ending came much too quickly and didn't answer the main question in the book. I would have liked to have seen the trial reach a conclusion before all the characters went their seperate ways.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Juliette Lashner on February 2, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I kept waiting to get to the point, but it never did. So it was ok but not worth re-reading by a long shot!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mindy on January 11, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
there was not much of a plot, just a lot of rambling thoughts that went absolutely nowhere. would not suggest reading.
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By Maria Correoso on July 11, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
So so poor ending not a very satisfying outcome too many unanswered questions. What happened to Poppy, where is Quentin what happened with his mom.
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By noladel on June 15, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I kept reading this book thinking it might get better, it did not. I am a native of New Orleans and this book gave an extremely poor portrayal of the city. The main character in the book was either very stupid or insane. To roam around in an unfamiliar city at night; meeting a strange man in a seedy bar shows her lack of common sense. Her other two friends were no better and the book really lacked a plot. I will not be recommending this book to my book club or to anyone else.
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By Joyce Ward on June 14, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Once again, New Orleans is cast as some sort of dangerous place with haunted homes and streets. The cast of characters who are brought together to support an old college friend each have their own secrets and you are forced to wonder who, if anyone among them is stable and able to provide the support they were called to give. They are complex enough to hold one's attention to the end, but sadly, there is very little resolution and you are left wondering.
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This novel has more "self analysis" than storyline. It was a good story, but somehow left me wanting a lot more.
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