Summary and book reviews of The View from Mount Joy by Lorna Landvik

The View from Mount Joy

A Novel

by Lorna Landvik

The View from Mount Joy by Lorna Landvik X
The View from Mount Joy by Lorna Landvik
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  • First Published:
    Sep 2007, 368 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2008, 384 pages

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Book Summary

The View from Mount Joy, Lorna Landvik’s delightfully quirky and intensely moving new novel, is about a man, a supermarket, the roads not taken, and the great, unexpected pleasures found in living a good life.

When hunky teenage hockey player Joe Andreson and his widowed mother move to Minneapolis, Joe falls under the seductive spell of Kristi Casey, Ole Bull High’s libidinous head cheerleader, the kind of girl a guy can’t say no to, even when saying yes guarantees trouble. Joe balances Kristi’s lustful manipulation with the down-to-earth companionship of his smart, platonic girlfriend, Darva. But it is Kristi who will prove to be a temptation (and torment) throughout Joe’s life.

Years later, having once dreamed of a career in pro hockey or as a globetrotting journalist, Joe can’t believe that life has deposited him in the aisles of Haugland Foods. But he soon learns that being a grocer is like being the mayor of a small town: His constituents confide astonishing things and always appreciate the value of a hard-to-pass-up special, a free toy for a well-behaved youngster, a pie for the best rendition of “Alfie,” or simply Joe’s generous dispensing of the milk of human kindness. For Joe, everyday life is its own roller-coaster ride, and all he wants to do is hold on tight.

The path Kristi has charged down, on the other hand, is as wild as Joe’s is tame – or at least that’s how it appears to the outside world. But who has really risked more? Who has lived more? And who is truly happy? As Joe discovers – in this dramatic, heartbreaking, and hilarious novel - – - sometimes people are lucky enough to be standing in the one place where the view of the world is breathtaking, if only they’ll open their eyes to all there is to see.

The View from Mount Joy is truly glorious: a warm, wonderful picture of life as seen from the deepest places in the heart.

Chapter One

Standing at the urinal, I read the first graffiti to mar the freshly scrubbed wall of the school bathroom: Viet Nam sucks and Kristi Casey is a stone fox. In the fall of 1971, I was a senior new to Ole Bull High, and while I had formed judgments as to the former (I agreed, the war did suck), I had no idea who Kristi Casey was and whether or not she was a fox, stone or not. When I met her it only took a nanosecond to realize: Man, is she ever.

From my perch on the top row of the football bleachers, I used to watch her and the other cheerleaders, their short pleated skirts fanning out as they sprang into the air, screaming at the Bulls to “go, fight, win!” as if the continuation of human civilization depended on their victory. The late sixties still bled its influence into the early seventies, and many of us considered ourselves too hip in a mellow make-love-not-war way to look at those bouncing, pom-pom- punching, red-faced girls without thinking, Man, are they ...

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Reviews

Media Reviews

Boston Globe
[Landvik] has an easy, engaging narrative style laced with humor.

The Charlotte Observer
A delightful journey . . . full of humor and poignancy and the potential for joy in everyday life.

Minneapolis Star Tribune
Deeply satisfying . . . Bursting with the same deliciously deadpan dialogue that is now a Landvik trademark . . . [The View from Mount Joy provides] quite possibly Landvik’s most lovable character to date.

Publishers Weekly
Landvik...deftly mixes humor and pathos in Kristi's ditzy On the Air with God radio show, starkly contrasted by her quietly powerful portrait of Joe, a man with real family values.

Library Journal
Landvik is a wonderful storyteller...however, some...may be uncomfortable with the sex and drugs and Kristi's hypocritical life as an evangelist and the wife of a politician.

Booklist
Landvik’s latest homespun homage is pure bliss.

Reader Reviews

Karen

A Step Back In Time
I've had no desire to go back to my teenage years of angst and insecurities but Landvik's novel took me there - and I loved it! At first I wasn't sure I was the target audience (the narrator is a teenager when the story begins). However, as the ...   Read More

Joan

It's a joy
As a Lorna Landvik fan I looked forward to reading her new book. I wasn't disappointed. Once again she deals with ordinary people from the heartland. The plot is well developed and character driven. It takes a promising man's life down an ...   Read More

Joyce

Fun, Endearing and a Fast Read
This is not the kind of book I usually pick up and read, I've never read Lorna Landvik before. BUT I have to say I'm so glad I did. This book makes you laugh, cry and just holds your interest, I could hardly put it down. Joe is such an endearing ...   Read More

Donna

A Great View
This book offers plenty of the good stuff of life -- joy, surprises, laughter, deep and enduring relationships. Much like life, it also has some loss, grief and disappointment. In all, it's a celebration of an ordinary life lived authentically and ...   Read More

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