- Audible Audiobook
- Listening Length: 12 hours and 54 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Brilliance Audio
- Audible.com Release Date: December 7, 2012
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00AKL2Y0I
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Herb 'n' Lorna Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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Devour this book and learn the rules of croquet played on a sloping lawn, what happens when lovers make love in a rowboat, and how "coarse goods" were very, very fine indeed when Herb and Lorna created them.
This is one such book. The title characters, Herb and Lorna Piper, are an unassuming couple who spend the bulk of the story living a rather simple life in a coastal Long Island town during in the years before the Great Depression and following World War II. As their lives are influenced by the grand scale of events around them, they carry with them what can best be described as a dirty little secret: they are master crafters of what the book calls "coarse trade", small pieces of animated sculpture featuring couples performing various erotic acts. Herb and Lorna came to this unique calling via separate paths, and one of the running jokes of the book is whether or not their creations are inspired --or not-- by acts they practiced on each other.
Kraft tells their story in multi-generational detail, primarily from the point of view of their grandson. The family members who variously contribute charm and conflict reminded me of the quirky populations in a John Irving or Anne Tyler novel. Kraft does this in the form of a fictional biography, complete with period photographs of the locales and some of the characters.
While Herb and Lorna share lifelong devotion, their relationship is not without stumbles, and Kraft uses their flaws to contrast effectively with the strength of their relationships.
Like many peers of their generation, Herb and Lorna end up in Florida, where their cottage industry moves out from underground and into the mainstream.
While the themes are clearly adult, there is nothing gratuitous in this funny, literate and extremely entertaining novel Read it and become part of the Pipers' fun!
I suppose we all wanted our parents to be Saints, far removed from lesser mortals...
And heaven forbid that our grandparents ever "did it," as we called the act in those days.
Well, this is the problem faced by Peter Leroy, the narrator of this witty, heartwarming book, when he learns that his beloved grandparents were in the "coarse goods" trade. On the day of his Gumma's funeral, three years following the death of his Guppa, he learns about it from her best friend, May Castle.
He is stunned when May gives him a box filled with erotic jewelry; it's all Peter can do to get through the funeral where he has to speak. He has his own image of his typical, down-to-earth grandparents and he treasures those `50s memories. In his own words from the book: "To learn that my grandparents had played a leading role in the development of erotic jewelry in their time was much too much to handle at one time."
Another thing that bothers Peter is that he's the last to learn about it. This sets the course of this book as Peter sets out to learn everything he can about their lives and get to the truth of the matter.
What adds to the hilarity of Herb 'n' Lorna--set during the period prior to World War I--is that Lorna keeps her artistry in carving the erotic figures from her husband Herb, and Herb keeps his secret from her. Herb constructs and designs the mechanisms that animate the erotic, intertwined figures carved by Lorna. The subterfuge that each undertakes to keep their secrets is hilarious.
And you'll never believe what happens on the night Herb and Lorna finally decide to confess. (Yes, both were ashamed of their secret life, even while each delighted in their individual skills. This was a more Puritanical time, after all...)
I won't reveal more of the plot, but believe me when I say that Peter Leroy uncovers their entire story, relating it with grace, dignity and gut-busting, bawdy humor.
This is much more than a romantic comedy; it's a masterpiece of literature, depicting the great love Herb and Lorna share throughout their lifetime. Peter does such a thorough job uncovering his Gumma and Guppa's lives that I think of this as two superb character studies.
I agree with The Washington Post review on the front cover: "Herb 'n' Lorna is the happiest of books--not to mention the sexiest...The kind of sweetness and passion and laughter Kraft draws from these ordinary lives is rare and enduring."
Accolades to the author, Eric Kraft, for bringing readers hours of fun and excitement as we enter the lives of Herb 'n' Lorna.
Reviewed by Betty Dravis, July 30, 2010
Author of "Dream Reachers" (with Chase Von) and other books
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This fictional biography, written by the grandson of a couple who ran an erotic...Read more