Knock Knock by Suzanne McNear

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This fictional memoir establishes Suzanne McNear as a distinctive voice in American literature. Written with the same quirky, ironic sensibility that brought praise for her story collection, Drought, it carries the reader through the upheavals of the sixties and seventies - the impact of Betty Friedan, the assassination of President Kennedy, and the Vietnam War - in a style that is comic and painful and true.

It traces March River's journey from before birth, through her early years in a small Midwestern city where she felt always slightly out of step, east to boarding school in Connecticut, and finally to Vassar, where she finally felt at home. Unfortunately, on graduation, and unlike most of her classmates, she has no engagement ring, nor promise of one. "Perhaps you're one of those people who will never marry," her mother , a woman known to rattle her pearls and hit a mean golf ball announces.

After various jobs in New York and a love affair that ends abruptly she follows what seems the only practical path; pregnancy, marriage, children and life in Chicago. Seven years later, after many upheavals, there is a divorce and a terrifying breakdown. Her husband's chief occupation was writing mystery novels and opening bottles of Heaven Hill bourbon. Life was marked by the birth of three daughters and economic disaster.

This is a portrait of a woman who is fragile, uncertain, sometimes overwhelmed by life, but also fiercely committed to the survival of herself and her daughters. With courage, black humor, and unusual literary friendships, which included Saul Bellow, she eventually becomes an editor at Playboy and finally finds a sense of peace and accomplishments.

About Suzanne McNear

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Published December 31, 2012 by The Permanent Press. 201 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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