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Lying in Bed Hardcover – January 6, 1995

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Landis, former editor-in-chief at William Morrow (where he published writers like Robert Pirsig and Richard Powers, a possible clue to his offbeat mindset), is presenting this as his first novel, although he has written other adult and children's titles under pseudonyms. Likely to cause a considerable stir, it's one of the most uninhibited and intensely sexy novels to appear in some time. Its eroticism is not just incidental but central, suffusing the lives of the besotted pair in whose voices it is told. John Chambers is a wealthy, utterly self-absorbed intellectual, devoted to Nietzsche, elaborate wordplay (he constantly employs words that are not even in the dictionary) and classical music, which echoes at all hours through his splendid SoHo loft. So lost inside his own head that he once even gave up speech, he has also abjured sex?until he meets the oddly named Clara Bell. In flight from a perverse family in California, Clara is the essence of promiscuity?though paradoxically virginal, having developed an extreme form of mutual masturbation that delights her many male companions. She is as deliberately unintellectual as John is cerebral (her passion is antique quilts, in which she deals), but when they meet, and soon marry, they quite literally lose themselves in each other. The book takes place in the course of an evening and night Clara spends away on a mysterious errand. As John passionately awaits her return, he immerses himself in thoughts of her and later in her utterly frank diaries?and he has the strangest encounter with a Chinese-food delivery man. Landis brilliantly catches the two very distinct voices of John and Clara?he's an egghead; she's impulsive, pragmatic, funny?and the reader quickly becomes enmeshed in the dreamily concupiscent atmosphere of their partnership, in which audacious sexuality is the norm. There will be those who object to a scene that seems to have strayed in from Bret Easton Ellis, and the denouement is tricky rather than inevitable; but Lying in Bed exerts an almost hypnotic attraction and offers some genuine insights?discomforting, exultant, even comic?into the power of sex. 25,000 first printing; major ad/promo.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

This nearly plotless novel takes place in the course of one evening while John Chambers waits for his wife Clara to return home from a mysterious appointment. Chambers's musings on his marriage, accompanied by excerpts from Clara's diaries, take the reader on a voyeuristic trip through a tangled web of desire, obsession, and (perhaps) a murder, in which overly erudite references to music, philosophy, and literature are served up with a goodly amount of the joys of sexual self-pleasure. A self-conscious, ostentatiously literary style and a narcissistic, unlikeable narrator will limit the appeal of this first novel to confirmed lovers of erotica. Those hunting for a combination of The Story of O and The Bridges of Madison County should look no further. Buy accordingly.?Nancy Pearl, Washington Ctr. for the Book, Seattle
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books; 1st edition (January 6, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 156512068X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565120686
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,375,104 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Consider a man, independently wealthy, who has nothing to do all day but wander the streets of New York with a walkman blaring his blessed classical music. He meets a woman by deciphering her handwriting. Suddenly, he is alive. This book is a journey through the mind of a man waiting for his wife to come home from a dinner engagement, and the thoughts with which he amuses himself for the evening. It is a beautiful story
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
``Psychosexual thriller'' from former longtime editor and publisher (Morrow) and children's writer Landis: a book being promoted as a first novel, though the author has published other adult fiction under pseudonyms. The narrator, Johnny, is a filthy-rich 32-year-old New Yorker who spends most of his time waiting for his wife, Clara, to come home from her job as antique-quilt saleswoman. His only former ambition was to be rhetorician, which may explain his forced use of archaic words and puns (``illaqueated in the lepid net of language,'' etc.). Having failed at his one chosen ambition, he spent a whole year without speaking until he met Clara. Now, as the story opens, she's not yet home, and so we're treated to the narrator's immense erudition on such subjects as Nietzsche, Wittgenstein, Bach and Shostakovich. Johnny also tells us that before he met his wife he had had sex only once, and then only for the knowledge of the act. He met Clara after finding her coded diary--which, like any other intellectual challenge, he easily mastered; cracking the code enabled him to track her down. When a Chinese-takeout delivery man, who is also a violin student, brings by food, Johnny lures him in to play his--Johnny's--priceless violin. Wowed, Johnny inexplicably kills the deliveryman, then proceeds to dig up Clara's diaries--from which he'll quote at length. What they show is why she wound up in New York (she ran away from home after discovering that her father was taking secret photographs of her fooling around with boys). They also reveal glimpses of a torrid marital sex life that the reader isn't privy to but that Johnny has also hinted at. Toward the end of the evening, Clara comes home to a welcoming--if hardly steamy--hug, thus ending this misguided effort.
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