Jamesland by Michelle Huneven

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Jamesland, the buoyant second novel by Michelle Huneven, critically acclaimed author of Round Rock, is a witty, sophisticated, and deeply humane comedy of unlikely redemption.

When thirty-three-year-old Alice Black discovers a deer in her dining room after fighting with her boyfriend, she wonders if she’s going crazy. Pete Ross, forty-six, knows he’s crazy. He’s wrecked his marriage, slashed his wrists, and done time in a psychiatric institution, and now he's being cared for by his mother, who’s a nun. Forty-five-year-old Helen Harland, a spirited Unitarian Universalist minister, is being driven crazy by her hostile church administration. Living in Los Feliz, California, the three meet at Helen’s Wednesday midweek services. Though initially incompatible, the sheer force of Helen’s idiosyncratic ministering (her “variety show of religious experience”)–paired with Alice’s illustrious ancestor William James–proves to be a catalyst for friendship and a kind of transcendence. Generous and compassionate, Michelle Huneven delivers a joyful new novel about love, faith, and a few wayward souls waiting for life to begin.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

About Michelle Huneven

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Michelle Huneven received a Whiting Writers’ Award in 2002, and has also won a GE Younger Writers Award in Fiction and a James Beard Award. She is presently a restaurant reviewer for the LA Weekly. Her first novel, Round Rock, was named a New York Times Notable Book and a Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year. She lives in Altadena, California.
Published December 18, 2007 by Vintage. 402 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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The opening chapters gradually contrast Alice’s haphazard connections to anything with her aunt’s preoccupation with her distinguished grandfather: the philosopher and psychologist William James, the subject of Kate’s ongoing unfinished “novel.” Between visits to Aunt Kate, Alice absorbs the shoc...

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The New York Times

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(Among other fun facts, we learn that James appears to psychics almost as frequently as Elvis does.) Meanwhile, Alice's great-aunt Kate has spent much of her life at work on a biographical novel about James, and Alice begins filching and readi...

Oct 12 2003 | Read Full Review of Jamesland

Publishers Weekly

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In the Los Angeles neighborhood of Los Feliz, a motley handful of residents attends Helen Harland's casual and inclusive services at the local Unitarian church.

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AV Club

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Michelle Huneven's absorbing novel-cum-philosophical-journey Jamesland opens as Alice Black, the great-granddaughter of philosopher and pioneering psychologist William James, wakes in the middle of the night to find a pregnant deer in her Los Angeles home.

Dec 09 2003 | Read Full Review of Jamesland

The Millions

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The Millions

Huneven is well-known in Los Angeles as the food critic for the LA Weekly, and the way she writes about food in this book is magnificent.

Dec 03 2003 | Read Full Review of Jamesland

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