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The Gin Closet: A Novel Paperback – Bargain Price, May 3, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
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Top Customer Reviews
On the material surface, The Gin Closet is a novel about two women, one trying to find herself, one trying to survive. When Stella learns she has an estranged aunt she packs up her meaningless New York City existence and moves to the desert to help this broken woman cope with alcoholism and loneliness. Tilly is a mess, she seems to only hurt the people around her and has been that way she since she was young. She hasn't had an easy life so when Stella turns up Tilly surfaces from her gin-induced waking-coma to think of the life she could possibly have, a life that means something, a life near her son in San Francisco. Together, Stella and Tilly embark on a trip, not a journey to somewhere even though they have a destination; more a sort of movement, fumbling many times along the way.
Told from both women's first-person points of view, Stella is damaged, and Tilly is lost. The dueling narratives juxtapose these women, and give the reader a unique sense of being each of them, as well as watching each of them. This is a novel about family paradigms, but more specifically, female family paradigms: what it means to be a mother, a daughter, or a sister; what we do to our family and what is done to us. Jamison draws a true, poignant portrait of the dichotomy between female relations.Read more ›
Jamison's prose is lyrical but never protrusive, each moment of language perfectly distilled and woven into the narrative.
Its intimacy, its flashes of humor, its unrelenting honesty--this novel is often challenging and always magnificent.
Recommend? Yes and No. Yes, if you enjoy reading about the inner demons of women and the destructive ways that they punish their bodies as if that will somehow make their life right again. No, if you don't enjoy reading about dysfunction. I do want to add that I thought the author's voice was exquisite and that the story flowed beautifully. The subject material was depressing and made me sad. The book elicited emotions from me and that counts for something.
For fiction lovers, there's a simple joy here, too: feeling oneself in the hands of talented and capable author. The characters are rendered so well that they nearly lose fictional status--for much of my reading, I had the unsettling, thrilling feeling of spying on real people. There are turns of phrase to savor in almost every sentence, and Jamison demonstrates a gift for imagistic detail. The Gin Closet is an achievement for a first novelist--for any novelist. Highly recommended.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Beautiful language. The talent of this first time author is apparent. The story is very dark. Implausible ending for a character who was completely passive throughout her life.Published 11 months ago by Johanna C Stevens
Dark, yet very very good. Well-written and not a single gratuitous passage. The unexpected is around every sad corner and yet the way the author explores the different facets of... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Britton Swingler
Blown away. Such powerful work. I could hardly breathe through parts of it. I just finished this book and feel the desire to open it to page one and dive right back in. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Jayne Martin
This isn't an easy book to read (emotionally) and not one for those who only like predictable, happy endings. Read morePublished 20 months ago by T. L. Borden
I think this book will appeal to two disparate groups: those who revel in the misery of others, and those who understand that we humans are capable of falling into the depths of... Read morePublished 22 months ago by Geri Fitzpatrick
I bought "The Gin Closet" after reading a piece in the NYT Book Review about Ms. Jamison's new book, "The Empathy Exams. Read morePublished 22 months ago by beepclick
Red Baker, by Robert Ward … I picked this up the day Ben Whitmer suggested it on Facebook. He thought I’d enjoy it and he was right. I absolutely did enjoy it. Read morePublished on November 28, 2013 by Charlie Stella
I am just half way through this book and already feel it offers some of the finest writing I have ever had the pleasure to devour. Read morePublished on March 4, 2013 by zelda143
As indicated by several other reviewers, life is too short to stick with a book not worth reading after a giving it a decent chance. Read morePublished on February 23, 2012 by Commenterri