Waveland In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina on Mississippi s Gulf Coast mostly retired architect Vaughn Williams who is beset by the routine but no less troubling difficulties of late midlife is doing wh
  • Title: Waveland
  • Author: Frederick Barthelme
  • ISBN: 9780385527293
  • Page: 420
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Waveland
    In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina on Mississippi s Gulf Coast, mostly retired architect Vaughn Williams, who is beset by the routine but no less troubling difficulties of late midlife, is doing what he can to remain, as he says, viable He scans the channels, reads newspapers and blogs online, Googles practically everything, teaches an occasional class at the local jIn the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina on Mississippi s Gulf Coast, mostly retired architect Vaughn Williams, who is beset by the routine but no less troubling difficulties of late midlife, is doing what he can to remain, as he says, viable He scans the channels, reads newspapers and blogs online, Googles practically everything, teaches an occasional class at the local junior college, and worries perhaps overmuch about his late father.When his ex wife, Gail, is assaulted by her hot tempered new boyfriend, she asks him and his landlady girlfriend, Greta, to move in with her Perhaps a little too cavalierly, they agree, and complications distinctly Barthelme esque follow, including manly confrontations with the perp, lamentations of his father s life and death, casual moonlight drives, gambling for money, adults playing with trains, and the eventual untimely arrival of Vaughn s annoyingly successful younger brother, followed closely by Vaughn s ex wife s invitation to remarry.The tattered landscape of the post hurricane Gulf Coast is the perfect analogue for these catastrophically out of order lives, and in this setting the players work into and out of almost all their troubles In the process, and en route to a satisfying set of resolutions, Barthelme s acute eye and subtle wit uncover and autopsy an inner landscape of mortality, love, regret, and redemption The result is his most emotionally resonant work of fiction yet and a new reason to celebrate him as an American master.
    Waveland By Frederick Barthelme,
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    About " Frederick Barthelme "

  • Frederick Barthelme

    Barthelme s works are known for their focus on the landscape of the New South Along with his reputation as a minimalist, together with writers Raymond Carver, Ann Beattie, Amy Hempel, and Mary Robison, Barthelme s work has also been described by terms such as dirty realism and K mart realism He published his first short story in The New Yorker,and has claimed that a rotisserie chicken helped him understand that he needed to write about ordinary people.He has moved away from the postmodern stylings of his older brother, Donald Barthelme, though his brother s influence can be seen in his earliest works, Rangoon and War and War.Barthelme was thirty three year editor and visionary of Mississippi Review, known for recognizing and publishing once new talents such as Larry Brown, Curtis Sittenfeld, and Amy Hempel early in their careers.


  • An Epic Disaster I so wanted to like this novel I traveled from Mobile, AL to Waveland, MS with the guys from the rock group 3 Doors Down, and a few others associated with their charitable organization, The Better Life Foundation, one week after Hurricane Katrina s landfall, to deliver a new police car and fire truck to a town that had no police cars or fire trucks left I did not expect the impact that trip would have on me, how life altering it would be to see how a forty feet high tidal surge [...]

  • The story s protagonist has a messed up life that matches the surrounding scenery of his neighborhood, the post Katrina Mississippi Gulf coastal area Many things in his life and community are damaged, both metaphorical and physical First his wife asks for a divorce Then a year later his ex wife calls to report that she s been beaten up by a boy friend, she s afraid, and asks Vaughn and his new live in girl friend to move into her house until she feels better What could go wrong The main message [...]

  • As I finished Waveland this afternoon I just felt this resolute understanding of what a great piece of art it is, and what sort of amazing life the artist had in order to get to those words and that story.I have always loved Barthelme s work, always felt amazed at the miraculous things he did with language But Waveland just blows all of those modest ideas away and replaced them with something that I d say was respect if respect wasn t such a small word.There isn t another soul on the planet who [...]

  • This book could be used as an example of what s wrong with modern fiction First and foremost, the pacing was horrendous It starts off slow, slows down even , and then wraps up with a final 20 pages of breakneck resolution that doesn t even make much sense You know that part at the end of Animal House where they tell you how the characters ended up That s what the final pages of this book remind me of, and the endings make about as much sense, to be honest.Second, the dialogue made me want to scr [...]

  • So much brilliance here Here is just one of my many, many favorite passages Sometimes, when you are putting your arms around this new woman it seems as if you are remembering your role, your lines, as if your ability to put your arms around someone is somehow reduced Sometimes, when you touch the skin of her face, it only reminds you of having touched the cheek of a person you were once crazy about You smell her hair You shut your eyes, smelling her hair You hold her close, her back to you, smel [...]

  • Set in post Katrina Mississippi, Fred Barthelme s new novel is one of reconstruction, but surprisingly, Katrina is just a backdrop to the story of a mediocre retired architect who has given up on actively pursuing joy in life, and, after a fallow, static period, realizes that the family you piece together from the friends who love you is important than the family you are born into In a gorgeous Zen like and totally not cliche way, he learns to appreciate the beautiful mundane Barthelme s dialog [...]

  • Barthelme is brilliant He s witty and he gets all the little things right Waveland is funny and warm and smart and crackles with brilliant dialogue It may be remembered decades from now as THE post Katrina book.

  • One of the most unexpected reading pleasures I ve known Simple structure and sentiment that, for me, truly belies its enormous impact.

  • Incredibly boring Read about half of it and then stopped Wished I hadn t started it in the first place.

  • A Mississippian wrote Waveland, and being from Mississippi I could tell you that without reading the dust jacket It s set on the gulf coast after Hurricane Katrina blew through and flattened everything, and the characters have similarly all had their lives flattened at one point or another Just like the coast, they are actively trying to recover with the things you fill up your days with after something is goneble television, alcohol, home improvement, trying to be a better person than you reall [...]

  • A rereading a few years back of some books by Theodore Dreiser and Edith Wharton sent me on an continual search for realism in novels Reading all the novels of Richard Yates fueled this interest even further Going through the outside stacks recently at the Strand I came across a book by Frederick Barthelme Confusing him with his brother Donald, I bought the book, knowing I never much cared for the work, but I should give it another try Although Frederick s Painted Desert was a slow starter, I fo [...]

  • This book is like a slow burn I am still thinking about scenes a month after finishing it Barthelme s prose is jaded and blissful The story is basically a contemporary Southern love triangle, but it s as if the angles of the triangle are in motion, shifting the shape This is a narrow, elegant story that has, at its core, a real acceptance of the failures of modern love.

  • I have about 50 pages left and I am pretty sure my rating will not change There is not a thing I like about this book I will finish just to be sure that I can still say that and if not, stay tuned

  • First off, if you re interest in picking this up solely rests with it being a post Katrina novel, don t bother My first of a few disappointments with this book is that it was grossly mis characterized in advertising as being such Short answer it isn t Living in proximity to and having seen what was n t left of Waveland, MS after the storm, I was looking forward to a book that utilized that landscape to narrative effect, but the storm and what it did to the town is really only mentioned in passin [...]

  • I suppose after reading a few good novels, chances get higher that I read a not so good one This is an example.It s not that this novel is bad, it s just not good Anyway, this is about the relationship between Vaughn, who is divorced from Gail, and his new girlfriend Greta Greta is a widow, and Vaughn has a younger brother, Newton, who is a widower Greta owns an apartment, and she has a tenant, Eddie, who is a Gulf War veteran and gay.The story revolves around Gail and Vaughn, about how, even th [...]

  • Life has lulls Sorry, it just gets boring sometimes Now, that s not to say that life isn t worthwhile, but that sometimes it just feels unfulfilling Times like that, some good realistic fiction goes a long way Waveland is a book that exemplifies the idea that sometimes life just doesn t feel like it should An interesting mix of characters a divorced couple, new love interests, a one handed gay guy renting a room who constantly intrudes into his landlords personal life in an interesting place and [...]

  • This book was interesting, but not exciting, which I suppose is the point Vaughn, the main character, is living in the post Katrina south, where the passions of weather have come and gone and the surrounding area wanting to rebuild, but is finding it takes too much money and effort to do so The scene perfectly reflects Vaughn s post divorce existence He wants to be passionate about something, but just can t muster it up in his boring, confusing life Apart from the last page, where half a glimmer [...]

  • This is the story of a middle class, middle aged man who is adrift following his divorce Oh, my.Taking place on the Mississippi coast a year after Katrina, Waveland centers around the character of Vaughn, a man who is like a piece of detritus caught in a shoreline wave Lacking ambition and energy, full of regret about his relationship with his brother and his neglect of his elderly father, he flounders around till he meets and moves in with Greta, a feisty woman who is herself directionless The [...]

  • Not terrible, but not really interesting either This is the story of Vaughn, his lady friend, and his ex wife And their seemingly strange relationship And hurricane Katrina Honestly, I don t understand the significance of post Katrina to the story I was listening to a Literary Disco podcast yesterday and they were discussing a book that was butted up against WW1 as the setting, though the story had nothing to do with WW1 The hosts felt the author was sort of cheating by using WW1 to set the emot [...]

  • I enjoyed this alot I like reading about people going through the motions and it not always being some great big happy ending this reminds me a little bit of some of the stories in Everything Ravaged without the dark cloud Not everyones life is perfect and sometimes we just exist Not to mention that the author, rather than let this plot turn into a free for all comedy, allowed us to read about the unomfortableness of the main characters and their situation.

  • Nothing match happens in this book that centers around a middle aged man, who still talks to his Ex wife, even though he has a girlfriend He watchs cable T.V with an American solider suffering from PDS.The thing is he can t decide what to do, with his life He s stuck but finds himself ultimatley content Waveland is a study of man coming to many realizations about himself and the small sort of family that surrounds him A lite read that in the end is anything but.

  • This short book hit the spot This is a story of a man dealing with his girlfriend and ex wife while rethinking the next steps in life He takes action so as to chill Interesting writing I often ended up reading a couple of sentences, then rereading a chunk, then rereading a chunk a bit further down Seems like every chunk of a couple of sentences brought satisfaction I picked this based on the Esquire review Thanks, Esquire.

  • This book is about Teeny Weeny the hamster Well, not really But Teeny Weeny, a chatty restaurant cashier s hamster, symbolizes how life s best, most consistent pleasures are the small ones These weren t pleasures he had dreamed of, and it wasn t a life he had dreamed of, nor sought, nor even imagined for himself but facing it, finally, he thought it was a life for which he was well prepared.

  • Sophisticated storytelling with creative dialogue and characters Set on the Gulf coast post Hurricane Katrina, the main character Vaughn seems at first to be a schmuck, but has a detached coolness I found to be admirable Quote of Note Your job is to be there so the moon can hit something when it shines at the earth.

  • I loved this book This author just speaks to me He doesn t talk about much a divorced man nearing retirement age, his relationships with ex wife and his girlfriend, and life along the Mississippi Gulf Coast post Hurricane Katrina This is the second book I ve read by Barthelme, and the second time I ve laughed out loud while reading I love that.

  • The two women don t work for me, they seem like men than women, and their dialogue is off Thought of The Moviegoer a couple of times, Binx wheeling along the Gulf Coast I love the region, appreciated Barthelme s depiction of the area around Waveland Also appreciated some of the main protagonist Vaughn s musings about his search for meaning But not like I loved Binx Bolling s searching.

  • Yes, a writer who has mastered his craft in terms of setting and character development His subtle wit was perhaps what I must enjoyed The problem for me was that I didn t care about the characters, hence only three stars However, I share Vaughn s astonishment in trying to reconcile the circumstances of his past life with that of his present circumstances.

  • I have finally finished reading every book by this author a goal I set which is the only reason I stuck with it Every one of his books is or less the same I don t know how he gets away with rewriting the same book over and over If you only read one of his books, you have read them all.

  • Vaughn examines his battered life and former marriage in the aftermath of Katrina in southern Mississippi Barthelme evokes Vaughn s naive view of his ex wife s needs and the support of his new girl girlfriend in moving on with his life, bridging the past and future.

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