The School of Beauty and Charm (Paperback)
Washington Square Press, 9780743446440, 320pp.
Publication Date: December 1, 2002
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In a daring novel that deftly fuses wild, satiric humor and deeply felt pain, Melanie Sumner tells the story of the Pepperses of Counterpoint, Georgia -- a family that never raises their voices or honks a horn and "avoids discussing sex, politics, and religion, favoring the topic of the weather, which averages seventy-five degrees in Counterpoint year-round." Henry, a stoic businessman, vies for rule of the house with his flamboyant wife, Florida, a pertinacious Baptist and aspiring artist. Together, their clear mission is to protect and guide their children-asthmatic, hormonal Roderick and hell-bent Louise-and keep them well dressed. So when Louise flees the Maude Wilson College for Women to join the Arthur Reese Traveling Show, Henry and Florida will do anything to win her back.
About the Author
Melanie Sumner is the author of Polite Society, a collection of stories. She won a Whiting Award in 1995 and was a regional winner in Granta's Best Young American Novelists competition. She lives in Georgia.
Praise For The School of Beauty and Charm: A Novel…
Lewis Nordan author of Wolf Whistle Why was I laughing so hard while my heart was being broken by this book? All I can say is that its people seem to have taken up residence in my head and I don't think they mean to move out any time soon.
Evan S. Connell author of Mrs. Bridge Melanie Sumner has developed an unmistakable voice. The book is, of course, preposterous -- one grotesque funny vignette following another, and the characters are quite believably awful. Hieronymous Bosch in rural Georgia.
Publishers Weekly A sure-footed first novel.