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― Anna Quindlen, Still Life with Bread Crumbs

Still Life with Bread Crumbs: A Novel

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    Rebecca Winter, Quindlen's protagonist, is a 60-year-old photographer who snapped her most famous photograph, the eponymous Still Life with Bread Crumbs, in the aftermath of yet another command performance dinner party, after which her unbearably supercilious husband, a British academic, retreated to bed, leaving her to clean up the mess. She became a feminist darling with her mainly domestic-themed photography, but two-plus decades later, her star is no longer so bright. She notes, "the coin of notoriety pays with less and less interest as time goes by."

  • Still Life with Bread Crumbs has been called the literary equivalent of comfort food, but it just made me feel uncomfortable. I really wanted to like this, since it is authored by Anna Quindlen and the premise sounded somewhat interesting; after the story devolved into a vaguely creepy May-December romance lacking Quindlen's usual gifted writing I was sadly disappointed. I had hoped for a book with more than a predictable plot, one-dimensional characters, and rambling writing, but when I came to the list of words that Rebecca's dog could understand and read the phrase "But that was later" for what seemed like the fiftieth time, I knew I wasn't going to find the depth and exceptional writing I was looking for in Still Life with Bread Crumbs. I've read and really enjoyed several of Quindlen's previous novels and essays, but I'm afraid I may pass on her future books.

    Still Life with Bread Crumbs, Quindlen's seventh novel, offers the literary equivalent of comfort food. Like her most recent book of essays, Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake, it goes down easy and demonstrates that she still has her finger firmly planted on the pulse of her generation. It's an appealing fantasy about a late-middle-aged empty-nester's resuscitation of her flagging life by making big changes — and opening herself up to new energy, inspiration and unlikely love. Quindlen clearly hasn't lost her common touch, her ability to combine terrific powers of empathy with a journalist's skill at sussing the zeitgeist and highlighting just the right details. (Example: Urban woman, new to country living, asks for nearest gym and is directed to the local high school.)

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    This is longlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for fiction 2014 The New York Times bestseller. Still Life with Bread Crumbs begins with an imagined gunshot and ends with a new tin roof. Between the two is a wry and knowing portrait of Rebecca Winter, a photographer whose work made her an unlikely heroine for many women. Her career is now descendent, her bank balance shaky, and she has fled the city for the middle of nowhere. There she discovers, in a tree stand with a roofer named Jim Bates, that what she sees through a camera lens is not all there is to life. Brilliantly written, powerfully observed, Still Life with Bread Crumbs is a deeply moving and often very funny story of unexpected love, and a stunningly crafted journey into the life of a woman, her heart, her mind, her days, as she discovers that life is a story with many levels, a story that is longer and more exciting than she ever imagined. Format:Paperback Pages:272

  • Nubian_princesa More than 1 year ago
    ***Giveaway*** What a poetic work of art. It moved me in ways a book hasn't in a long while. Anna Quindlen is talented and it shows in "Still life with Breadcrumbs"

    A fine example of why Anne Quindlen is so enormously popular. I prefer her fiction and boy, she did a great job with this one. She paints a story with her words that makes you see the picture more clear as the story develops. Weather conditions made it possible for me to start this book the day I purchased it . I could not put it down and frankly will reread this before starting anything else.

    I identified with the protagonist. I am betting that the popularity of this novel will follow that of the age of reader. Middle aged and older readers will be the ones that most identify, understand and enjoy this beautiful novel. Still Life with Bread Crumbs is a story of a woman that once again finds herself at another transitional point in her life. She never expected to be reinventing herself at this point in her life, but she is, so she moves forward allows serendipity to lead her way and is rewarded.

    There were several points in this book where I laughed out. Stopped where I was - rewound it so I could laugh again. Carrington MacDuffle did such a perfect job. There are several characters in this book that are real characters. Her narration were spot on and added to their quirkiness. I only wished it was twice as long.

Still Life With Bread Crumbs Summary & Study Guide Description

In “Still Life With Bread Crumbs,” there’s a critique of photography — or any kind of art — as a way for an artist to distance herself from real life.