Winner of the National Book Award

A Novel of Fame, Honor, and Really Bad Weather

By Jincy Willett
(Thomas Dunne Books, Hardcover, 9780312311810, 336pp.)

Publication Date: October 2003

Other Editions of This Title: Paperback

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Description

Winner of the National Book Award, the long-awaited novel from the author of the acclaimed collection, Jenny and the Jaws of Life, is an unusual and wonderful novel that is somehow able to be at once bleak and hilarious, light-hearted and profound.

It's the story of two sisters. Abigail Mather is a woman of enormous appetites, sexual and otherwise. Her fraternal twin Dorcas couldn't be more different: she gave up on sex without once trying it, and she lives a controlled, dignified life of the mind. Though Abigail exasperates Dorcas, the two love each other; in fact, they complete each other. They are an odd pair, set down in an odd Rhode Island town, where everyone has a story to tell, and writers, both published and unpublished, carom off each other like billiard balls.

What is it that makes the two women targets for the new man in town, the charming schlockmeister Conrad Lowe, tall, whippet-thin and predatory? In Abigail and Dorcas he sees a new and tantalizing challenge. Not the mere conquest of Abigail, with her easy reputation, but a longer and more sinister game. A game that will lead to betrayal, shame and, ultimately, murder.

In her darkly comic and unsettling first novel, Jincy Willett proves that she is a true find: that rare writer who can explore the shadowy side of human nature with the lightest of touches.




About the Author

Jincy Willett is a writer and editor based in San Diego, CA. Her short stories have appeared in Playgirl, The Yale Review, and the Massachusetts Review.




Praise For Winner of the National Book Award

"Willett's second book...is a brilliant black comedy starring twins with antithetical dispositions and a handsome stranger with designs on both of them....Poignant and funny, mean and tender, Willett's novel is exuberantly original."
- Publisher's Weekly (starred review)

"The funniest novel I have read, possibly ever. Brilliant, totally original, and worthy of its title. I promise you will laugh constantly and to the point of stomach damage."
-Augusten Burroughs, author of Running with Scissors and Dry

"Audaciously titled, cleverly constructed, Winner of the National Book Award is an elegy wrapped inside a satire, a sorrowful meditation on the mysteries of sibling love and rivalry concealed within a bitterly funny chronicle of literary buffoonery. Jincy Willett is a fearless writer, capable of startling the reader into rueful laughter at every turn."
-Tom Perrotta, author of Joe College

"'A well-wrought piece of fiction,' the heroine of this novel declares, 'helps us make sense out of the chaos of our lives. Why be deliberately obscure when real life is so impossibly fractured and opaque?' Well, exactly. How rarely the knacks for wisdom and for cracking wise come in one single, satisfying package. (Also, who knew Rhode Island could be so entertaining?) So: hurrah for Jincy Willett, and for her funny, charming, humane, and altogether well-wrought piece of fiction." --Kurt Andersen, author of Turn of the Century


"The funniest novel I have read, possibly ever. Brilliant, totally original, and worthy of its title. I promise you will laugh constantly and to the point of stomach damage."
-Augusten Burroughs, author of Running with Scissors and Dry

Winner of the National Book Award is an elegy wrapped inside a satire, a sorrowful meditation on the mysteries of sibling love and rivalry concealed within a bitterly funny chronicle of literary buffoonery.
-Tom Perrotta, author of Joe College

How rarely the knacks for wisdom and for cracking wise come in one single, satisfying package.....So: hurrah for Jincy Willett, and for her funny, charming, humane, and altogether well-wrought piece of fiction."
-Kurt Andersen, author of Turn of the Century

"Willett's prose is whip smart, at times howlingly funny--and just sad enough to keep the sisters' rivalries achingly real."

"Riotous . . . hugely funny . . . Willett's satirical abilities remain deliciously undimmed. . . . A wicked treat."
-Janet Maslin

"what a funny, smart-mouthed, fearless, reverberating rumble of a tale this novel is! Willett is effortlessly, furiously funny. . . . A."

"Page by page, this novel is effortlessly enjoyable: Willett observes details unsparingly and with great good humor."

"A sharp, highly original satire."

"Anything but predictable . . . [A] darkly comic tale . . . sly, humorous . . . An original work of fiction."

"This hilarious, moving, ultimately poignant and perceptive novel, riddled with Rhode Island legend, lore and locations, is wonderful."

"Poignant and funny, mean and tender, Willett's novel is exuberantly original."

"Unnerving, scabrously funny, and disarmingly tender . . . [Willett's] confident, muscular prose immediately establishes her authority."

"A hilarious black comedy . . . brilliantly constructed and unabashedly vicious . . . Nothing escapes [Willett's] notice."

"Dorcas' deadpan narration is perfect. . . . Willett's hapless characters are, in the end: grotesquely flawed, hugely funny, but human."

"Willett plays artfully with narrative structure. . . . [She] is a writer to watch."

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