The View from Mount Joy, Lorna Landviks 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 Highs libidinous head cheerleader, the kind of girl a guy cant say no to, even when saying yes guarantees trouble. Joe balances Kristis 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 Joes life.
Years later, having once dreamed of a career in pro hockey or as a globetrotting journalist, Joe cant 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 Joes 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 Joes is tame or at least thats 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 theyll 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.
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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