The Resource Henry, himself, Stewart O'Nan

Henry, himself, Stewart O'Nan

Label
Henry, himself
Title
Henry, himself
Statement of responsibility
Stewart O'Nan
Title variation
Henry, himself
Creator
Author
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Storyline
Pace
Character
Review
  • In this prequel to Emily, Alone (2011), O’Nan returns to his hometown of Pittsburgh and to his Maxwell family cycle with a charming, meditative, gently funny, and stealthily poignant portrait of Emily’s husband, Henry. A WWII veteran trying to make sense of life in 1998, Henry is a retired engineer who loves to fix things and asserts his “freedom to putter.” But beneath his serenity and affability, he is secretly haunted by harrowing war memories, fully aware of his ­shortcomings—especially his inability to understand his daughter, Margaret, who struggles with addiction and a faltering ­marriage—and rueful about the diminishments of age. Henry is also a persistent romantic, still courting acerbic, pragmatic Emily. O’Nan elevates the routines and chores of quiet domesticity to a nearly heroic level in his lingering attention to details, from plumbing troubles to coupons, walking the dog, and all the preparations and disruptions of holiday gatherings. Like Richard Russo and Anne Tyler, O’Nan discerningly celebrates the glory of the ordinary in this pitch-perfect tale of the hidden everyday valor of a humble and good man. -- Donna Seaman (Reviewed 4/1/2019) (Booklist, vol 115, number 15, p16)
  • O’Nan’s elegiac companion piece to his 2011 novel, Emily, Alone, follows Emily’s husband of 49 years, Henry Maxwell, who, at 75, suffers from variety of physical ailments. The year is 1998 and readers follow Henry and his family from Valentine’s Day to New Year’s Eve as they celebrate birthdays and anniversaries, observe annual traditions, and spend the summer by the lake. Henry and Emily grapple with their two adult children, Margaret and Kenny, their respective spouses, Jeff and Lisa, and their grandchildren. Nothing especially dramatic happens, except, maybe, when Margaret, who is a recovering alcoholic, gets into an accident right before Thanksgiving and Emily rushes to be with her, leaving Henry to serve the holiday feast to the rest of his family on his own. A member of the “Greatest Generation,” Henry deals with his own growing sense of mortality, but he does it with a rare grace that endears him to the reader. The author evokes Henry’s middle-class Pittsburgh existence like a Keystone State Joyce. One would have to go back to Evan S. Connell’s Mrs. Bridge and Mr. Bridge to find a literary marriage bookended in such a perceptive fashion. (Apr.)
			 --Staff (Reviewed 06/03/2019) (Publishers Weekly, vol 266, issue 22, p)
  • /* Starred Review */ The husband and father whose death haunted two previous novels about the Maxwell family (Wish You Were Here, 2002; Emily, Alone, 2011) speaks for himself in this moving third installment. The prolific and protean O'Nan (City of Secrets, 2016, etc.) has ranged with aplomb over many genres and locales, but his heart is most evidently engaged in the novels set in his native Pittsburgh. The city has been home to Henry Maxwell's family for generations, but his neighborhood is changing; there are supermarkets he doesn't like wife Emily shopping in alone, and the couple is shaken by reports of an assault-rifle attack on a nearby backyard party. The traditions that sustain and nourish Henry—weekly churchgoing, holiday charitable giving, the annual spring flower show, summers at their cottage by the lake in Chautauqua—seem to be cherished only by a dwindling band of elderly folks like himself. As the novel progresses through the year 1998, O'Nan poignantly captures Henry's sense of loss and diminishment—he is 74 and overweight with bad cholesterol—while tenderly evoking his enduring love for prickly Emily, his devotion to their two children and four grandchildren, and the pleasure this retired engineer takes in puttering in the garage and tending to the house. Memories of his past are deftly interpolated to illuminate the childhood and wartime experiences that shaped a quiet, slightly distant man who dislikes conflict. Several flashbacks to World War II are particularly notable for the delicacy with which O'Nan unfolds the lasting impact of Henry's combat experiences. As usual, this profoundly unpretentious writer employs lucid, no-frills prose to cogently convey complicated emotions and fraught family interactions. The novel makes no claims for Henry or his kin as exceptional people but instead celebrates the fullness and uniqueness of each ordinary human being. Astute and tender, rich in lovely images and revealing details—another wonderful piece of work from the immensely gifted O'Nan. (Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 2019)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10764078
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1961-
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
O'Nan, Stewart
Index
no index present
LC call number
PS3565.N316
LC item number
H46 2019
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
Older men
Label
Henry, himself, Stewart O'Nan
Instantiates
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
24 cm
Extent
369 pages
Isbn
9780735223042
Isbn Type
(hardcover)
Lccn
2018031783
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
(OCoLC)1043960428
Label
Henry, himself, Stewart O'Nan
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
24 cm
Extent
369 pages
Isbn
9780735223042
Isbn Type
(hardcover)
Lccn
2018031783
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
(OCoLC)1043960428

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