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Comment: The item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition and works perfectly. All pages and cover are intact (including the dust cover, if applicable). Spine may show signs of wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. May include "From the library of" labels.
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In the Language of Love: A Novel in 100 Chapters Hardcover – February 1, 1996

4.5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Joanna is a collage artist, an appropriate calling for the protagonist of one of the finest montages of language to head south from Canada since Margaret Atwood's Surfacing. In her first novel, Schoemperlen (author of The Man of My Dreams, 1990, and three other story collections) has taken 100 words from the 1910 Kent-Rosanoff Word Association Test and used each as a chapter title. The result is an elegant pastiche of forms that conveys-in non-chronological free-association-the story of Joanna's everywoman life. Unlike Joanna, who "begins to see her life in sections... so that [except for her parents] none of the characters from one stage leak forward into the next," the narrative bleeds across time: one chapter tells of all the houses Joanna has lived in or has wanted with the three loves of her life. These men are Henry, a guitar-playing truck driver; Lewis, her married lover, an artist who compartmentalized well enough to work on several paintings at once; and Gordon, the man she married. Most poignant, however, perhaps are the vignettes with Joanna's father and son. Widower Clarence seems to take his bitter wife's death as "the end of possibility"; Joanna's young son, Samuel, filters word and meaning with the same nimble clarity as his mother. With this novel, Schoemperlen triumphantly establishes her literary credentials. 25,000 first printing; $25,000 ad/promo; author tour.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Using chapter titles like "River," "Wish," "Sleep," "Short," "Comfort," and 94 other stimulus words from a common word association as a springboard, Schoemperlen tells the story of Joanna, from her childhood as the daughter of a bitter, angry mother and a quiet resigned father to her love affairs, marriage, and motherhood. Joanna discovers that her early ideas of romance fade in the reality of a passionate relationship with a married man, the complicated feelings of guilt and sorrow as she watches her father age, and her intense love for her son. A marvelously evocative writing style that will resonate with most readers overcomes the novel's one real weakness-of all the characters only Joanna is truly three-dimensional; the others are seen in profile, as they relate to Joanna's life. Still, if we judge by this first novel, which was shortlisted for the 1994 Books in Canada/Smithbooks First Novel Award, Schoemperlen has the right stuff to join the list of other Canadian writers such as Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro, and Carol Shields. Recommended for most public libraries.
Nancy Pearl, Washington Center for the Book, Seattle
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult; 1st American ed edition (February 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670865176
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670865178
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 1.2 x 6.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #253,971 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on March 24, 2004
Format: Paperback
I don't think another word can sum it up quite so perfectly. There are passages I find myself quoting to people (something I rarely do) because they are beyond eloquent. Although there isn't a typical plot, what you grasp/feel/understand about (the life of) Joanna is more than in most books that lead you from start to finish. A truly remarkable first novel and worthy of everyone's time.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Read this because I had enjoyed another of same author's novels (Our Lady of the Lost and Found). The Language of Love is an essentially plot- less,interior based coming of age story. The writer's use of one word for each chapter is thought-provoking and she makes it seem effortless. She is a gifted writer; her use of language inspiring. I agree with another review I read which stated Joanna, the narrator and main character, is the only character with believable dimension. However, her descriptions of her mother, Esther, broke my heart. I appreciate the author's sensitivity and will probably look for more to read by her.
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Format: Paperback
This is absolutely writing at it's most perfect. Not a plot-driven novel, but a beautiful character study, and writing simply does not get any better than this. Diane Schoemperlin is amazing. One of the best books I've read in some time.
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