California's over (Paperback)

Author: Jones, Louis B.

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"California's Over leads us down an unmarked road to the coast and then deep into the rotten, labyrinthine house where James Farmican, the famous poet, shot himself to death years ago, leaving behind a legacy of adulation and bankruptcy. Now his family is leaving, and the young narrator--who calls himself Baelthon--has been hired to haul the furniture onto the lawn and sort through the attic and basement. But as Baelthon excavates, he also discovers layers of family mystery and comedy and cruelty, all of it piled too deeply for anyone to sort out: the unexplained disappearance of Farmican's ashes, the unfinished novel that may actually be his suicide note, the opera about cannibalism that his son is writing to rescue himself from obscurity, and, finally, the family's migration to the Nevada desert to claim their inheritance.
And Baelthon discovers Wendy, Farmican's sixteen-year-old daughter who keeps her checkers pieces taped to the board where she and her father left them before he died. Emerging from her chrysalis of baby fat and self-loathing, Wendy is destined to be both the love of Baelthon's life and the object of his betrayal.
Twenty-five years later, from the perspective of mid- and middle-class life, Baelthon recalls the mistaken selves he and the Farmicans once inhabited. What he doesn't expect--or think he deserves--is the redemption and abiding against-all-odds love that await him.

"From the Hardcover edition.


Publisher Random House
Mfg Part# 9780679746003
SKU 30400495
Format Paperback
ISBN10 0679746005
Release Date 4/10/2007
"The struggles of the proudly eccentric family of a once-famous poet who's committed suicide lie at the heart of this kaleidoscopic comedy, which dazzlingly illuminates the exact moment when the '60s disintegrated into terminal narcissism and gave birth to today's entropic culture....Jones performs an act of alchemy here, burnishing the bitter and petty betrayals of an era with a lyrical anguish..."
"Jones designs his people better than his world, which can get out of hand. The people, though, are so human and written with so original a cunning that they are virtually worlds in themselves."
"Once again...Jones is exploring the paradoxes of American culture, where commercialism so often underlies idealism and vice versa....Yet it's often hard to tell whether the author is affectionately kidding his characters or savagely skewering them. Whatever his intentions, the people in the novel come off varyingly repugnant....More puzzlingly, Jones unfolds his plot in a way that seems self-defeating. We know from almost the start that Baelthon and the three Farmican children will travel to Nevada and learn that their casino is all but nonexistent."
"Though it strikes its share of bittersweet notes, this isn't a tale of innocence corrupted but of fraudulent innocence exposed and subsequent disillusionment survived....[Jones's] point is that worthlessness is precious, that only once a thing has lost its usefulness is its intrinsic value manifest."
"In his third novel the gifted Louis B. Jones is concerned, again, with matters he touched upon in his first two: the distinctly and peculiarly Californian sensibility, the legacy and lingering aftereffects of the 1960s, the strong but often strange bonds of family, the randomness of fate and fortune, the folkways of middle-class American life, the unexpected ways in which money touches and alters our lives....'California's Over' is a fine piece of work, original and quirky and unfailingly interesting."
"This affectionate teasing of great epic adventure seems to be Jones' way of saying that the real meaning of life and art is found in the seemingly mundane matters of daily life....Jones gets [the] details gloriously right."
From the Publisher
Annotation A professor of English looks back on his adolescent experiences with the family of a wealthy poet--his son and daughter, his widow, and her wild-eyed second husband who turns over the poet's estate to an eccentric California church.
Editors Note In this funny and elegiacally virtuosic novel of the 1970s, a seventeen-year old self-described novelist who calls himself Baelthon turns up at the decaying house of James Farmican, a renowned poet who killed himself three years before. Farmican's heirs hire Baelthon to haul off Farmican's chattels as they prepare to sell the family house and decamp for a Free Ranch in Oregon or an as-yet-to-be-erected casino in Nevada -- anywhere that isn't California. Soon Baelthon finds himself entangled in the Farmican family's scams and secrets -- and falling in love with the poet's sullen teenage daughter. Twenty-five years later, the lovers are ambivalently reunited. And out of the juxtaposition of past and present, idealism and greed, California's Over conjures up an entire era of American disillusionment.
Editors Note 2 Baelthon has been hired to clean out the house of James Farmican, the famous poet who committed suicide years ago, and discovers layers of family mystery, comedy, and cruelty
Product Attributes
Book Format Paperback
Number of Pages 0336
Publisher Vintage Books
$21.72 + free shipping
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Format: Paperback
Condition: Brand New
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