Frances and Bernard by Carlene Bauer

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The writing has moments of quietly bracing insight, as these two fiercely particular individuals attempt to navigate the other.
-NY Times

Synopsis

In the summer of 1957, Frances and Bernard meet at an artists’ colony. She finds him faintly ridiculous, but talented. He sees her as aloof, but intriguing. Afterward, he writes her a letter. Soon they are immersed in the kind of fast, deep friendship that can take over—and change the course of—our lives. From points afar, they find their way to New York and, for a few whirling years, each other. The city is a wonderland for young people with dreams: cramped West Village kitchens, rowdy cocktail parties stocked with the sharp-witted and glamorous, taxis that can take you anywhere at all, long talks along the Hudson River as the lights of the Empire State Building blink on above.


Inspired by the lives of Flannery O’Connor and Robert Lowell, Frances and Bernard imagines, through new characters with charms entirely their own, what else might have happened. It explores the limits of faith, passion, sanity, what it means to be a true friend, and the nature of acceptable sacrifice. In the grandness of the fall, can we love another person so completely that we lose ourselves? How much should we give up for those we love? How do we honor the gifts our loved ones bring and still keep true to our dreams?


In witness to all the wonder of kindred spirits and bittersweet romance, Frances and Bernard is a tribute to the power of friendship and the people who help us discover who we are.

 

About Carlene Bauer

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CARLENE BAUER is the author of the memoir Not That Kind of Girl, described as "soulful" by Walter Kirn in Elle and "approaching the greatness of Cantwell" in the New York Post. She has written for the likes of n +1, Slate, Salon, and the New York Times.
 
Published February 5, 2013 by Mariner Books. 209 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Frances and Bernard
All: 3 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 1

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Christopher Benfey on Mar 22 2013

Though she lacks the chameleon skills required for convincing literary impersonation, Bauer is herself a distinctive stylist who can write about Simone Weil or Kierkegaard with wit and charm.

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Claudia La Rocco on Mar 03 2013

The writing has moments of quietly bracing insight, as these two fiercely particular individuals attempt to navigate the other.

Read Full Review of Frances and Bernard | See more reviews from NY Times

NY Journal of Books

Below average
Reviewed by Vinton Rafe McCabe on Feb 07 2014

Frances and Bernard is a dour thing. It is, however, impeccably well written and well constructed within the strictures of its epistolary limitations. It is, in truth, a flower that is very slow in unfolding, but a flower nonetheless that promises a full garden perhaps to come.

Read Full Review of Frances and Bernard | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books

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Mimi Worzel

Mimi Worzel 5 Sep 2013

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