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Cleaning Nabokov's House: A Novel Hardcover – March 1, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
An odd mix of silly, ridiculous, and inspiring, Daniels's charming if scattered debut follows the unlikely course of Barb Barrett, numb and adrift after losing custody of her children. In her rented upstate New York house where Vladimir Nabokov once lived, Barb finds a sheaf of index cards, a possible unfinished Nabokov manuscript about Babe Ruth. Her efforts to get the book evaluated and published are the first steps out of her endearingly depressive hibernation, introducing her to literary agent Margie and handsome carpenter Greg. When the manuscript is judged not to be Nabokov's, the story takes a questionable, wacky turn, as Barb opens a cathouse staffed by athletes from the local college to service the unfulfilled women of her small town. This endeavor, of course, provides the funds for her to mount a new fight for her children, the self-esteem to begin a relationship, and the confidence to find a fulfilling career. Despite the curiosities of the grief-to-gumption plot, Daniels's writing is slick and her characters richly detailed, and even when it dips into sheer goofiness, it's still a pleasure to read. (Mar.)
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Some chutzpah first-time novelist Daniels has, writing a comic woman-in-distress novel involving the literary master Nabokov and a country cathouse. Daniels� crazy m�lange catches fire because her out-of-the-box narrator is hilarious, chaotic, and surprisingly resourceful. Wardrobe-challenged Barb, who is inordinately fond of toast, loses custody of her kids in a vicious divorce. Missing her life in New York City, she finds tiny Onkwedo, her ex�s upstate hometown, stifling. But there she must stay to fight for her little goth daughter and young gourmet son. Using her inheritance from her much-missed father, Barb buys a funky little house once occupied by Nabokov when he taught at the local college and discovers a hidden manuscript. Is it Nabokov�s? She also has an entrepreneurial brainstorm about how to lively up the glum women of Onkwedo. Daniels is warmly funny and audacious in this shrewd and saucy mix of family drama, gender discord, sexual healing, and high literature; a raucous yet sensitive tale of one quirky woman�s struggle to overcome the lowest of low self-esteem to get motherhood and love right. --Donna Seaman
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1. The author was not clear enough about things at the end. She wasn’t specific.Read more