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The Other Side of Air: A Novel Paperback – August 29, 2006


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A deceased Georgia librarian reaches out from beyond the grave to dote on her husband of 60 years in Braselton's posthumous second novel (after A False Sense of Well Being). Katy and Ephraim Doyal loved each other to the exclusion of everyone, including their son, Wyatt, whose resentment of his third-wheel status threatens his own marriage. When Katy is diagnosed with congestive heart failure, she worries Ephraim will sink into a depression after she is gone and die of loneliness. To this end, she arranges for Rose Callahan, a loud and brassy workhorse who, like Ephraim, was traumatized by a childhood of grinding poverty, to step in once Katy has passed to "the other side of air." Narrating the novel from the afterlife à la The Lovely Bones, Katy also communicates with her son and husband, attempting to foster a reconciliation between the two. Although the plot is slight and the Southern patois is cumbersome, the novel abounds in wise truths about the indignities of aging and dying, the fragility of life and happiness and the durability of love. The author's 2003 death—her friend, the novelist Kaye Gibbons, completed the novel and contributed an afterword—adds a poignant prescience. (Aug. 29)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

Praise for Jeanne Braselton’s A False Sense of Well Being

“[An] entertaining, rueful account of love on the rocks in the New South that combines small-town charm with major-league angst.”
–Los Angeles Times

“Gutsy, moving, and memorable . . . [a] remarkable and accomplished debut.”
–Lee Smith, author of The Last Girls
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 185 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; 1st Printing edition (August 29, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345443101
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345443106
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,190,444 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Anne Lee on October 14, 2006
Format: Paperback
Jeanne Braselton's The Other Side of Air is a book of simple prose that leaves you aching to believe that our loved ones continue to care for us after their deaths.

Katy and Ephraim Doyal have been in love since they were eight years old. Their marriage was a long and happy one but when Katy realized she is going to die and leave Ephraim alone she arranges for him to be cared for by a woman, Rose Callahan, she meet only once during her last hospital stay.

Just prior to her death, Katy writes a letter to Rose anticipating not only Ephraim needs but the suspicion that Katy and Ephraim's son will have of Rose herself and how to deal with each issue.

Rose, who I believe would have been content to care for Ephraim for the same minimal wage she receives at her three jobs, greatly benefits from Katy's insight and compassion. By the arrangement she made with Rose, Katy lifts her out of stark poverty and loneliness. Ephraim and Rose are not romantically intimate but Rose's loneliness is abated by being needed and having the ability to know how to help.

Katy's after death conversations with her family raised they age old question. Can we communicate with our deceased loved ones? Normally, my answer to that question is "no" but The Other Side of Air opened my mind to the possibility.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By D. R. Toscano on October 4, 2006
Format: Paperback
I found this book hard to read. The style of the prose was, at times, very confusing. I am a native southerner and people down south don't speak like the characters in this book. I love southern novels but this one just didn't deliver for me. I just couldn't get into the characters of this story. I was very disappointed since I had to special order this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By book lover on November 21, 2010
Format: Paperback
This was a book about a woman who died and was watching things from "the other side of air" as the title suggests. I felt that the writing was stilted, and while it was a relatively short novel, I felt as if I had to force myself to turn each page. The most interesting part of the book, in my opinion, was the relationship between the son and his father. The son had never felt close to his parents because they, having loved each other since age eight, had an all consuming relationship, and he felt left out. Because of this, he was emotionally stilted, and this came through in the relationship he had with his parents as well as his wife. If the author had taken the relationship of Wyatt, the son, to another level, I feel that this would have been a much better novel. Instead, we get a rather silly story with Katy watching everything and talking with the other characters from beyond the grave. The story itself was rather boring and dry, and I felt that the characters were pretty flat. In fact, I didn't even feel as if the characters even grew in the story. Unfortunately, the author passed away before the novel was finished, so it was finished by her friend, Kaye Gibbons. I feel that Kaye Gibbons is a great author, and her afterward was the best part of the book.
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