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The Book Borrower: A Novel
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Published:
HarperCollins 2012
Status:
Available from OverDrive
Description

On the day they first meet in a city playground, Deborah Laidlaw lends Toby Ruben a book called Trolley Girl, the memoir of a forgotten trolley strike in the 1920s, written by the sister of a fiery Jewish revolutionary who played an important, ultimately tragic role in the events. Young mothers with babies, Toby and Deborah become instant friends. It is a relationship that will endure for decades—through the vagaries of marriage, career, and child-rearing, through heated discussions of politics, ethics, and life—until an insurmountable argument takes the two women down divergent paths. But in the aftermath of crisis and sorrow, it is a borrowed book, long set aside and forgotten, that will unite Toby and Deborah once again.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
08/07/2012
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780062232014
ASIN:
B008CH7FJC
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Alice Mattison. (2012). The Book Borrower: A Novel. HarperCollins.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Alice Mattison. 2012. The Book Borrower: A Novel. HarperCollins.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Alice Mattison, The Book Borrower: A Novel. HarperCollins, 2012.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Alice Mattison. The Book Borrower: A Novel. HarperCollins, 2012.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Grouped Work ID:
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Needs Update?:
No
Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 15:50:17
Date Updated:
Dec 08, 2020 20:15:03
Last Metadata Check:
Sep 25, 2022 07:31:35
Last Metadata Change:
Sep 11, 2022 07:18:19
Last Availability Check:
Sep 25, 2022 07:31:38
Last Availability Change:
Aug 06, 2018 12:50:14
Last Grouped Work Modification Time:
Sep 28, 2022 02:08:23

OverDrive Product Record

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        Alice Mattison is the award-winning author of four story collections and five novels, including Nothing Is Quite Forgotten in Brooklyn. She teaches fiction in the graduate writing program at Bennington College in Vermont and lives in New Haven, Connecticut.

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title
The Book Borrower
fullDescription

On the day they first meet in a city playground, Deborah Laidlaw lends Toby Ruben a book called Trolley Girl, the memoir of a forgotten trolley strike in the 1920s, written by the sister of a fiery Jewish revolutionary who played an important, ultimately tragic role in the events. Young mothers with babies, Toby and Deborah become instant friends. It is a relationship that will endure for decades—through the vagaries of marriage, career, and child-rearing, through heated discussions of politics, ethics, and life—until an insurmountable argument takes the two women down divergent paths. But in the aftermath of crisis and sorrow, it is a borrowed book, long set aside and forgotten, that will unite Toby and Deborah once again.

reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        October 4, 1999
        The pleasures, intimacies, tensions and failures of female friendship frame this subtle, psychologically rich novel, which chronicles the volatile relationship between two women and highlights issues of loyalty, sacrifice and guilt. In brisk, energetic prose, Mattison (Hilda and Pearl) investigates the prickly territory between affection and unconscious jealousy, avowals of devotion and secret betrayals, commitment and selfishness. On the day in 1975 when they meet in a Boynton, Mass., playground with their respective young children, Deborah Laidlaw loans Toby Ruben Trolley Girl, a book about a tragic trolley-car accident that occurred in the town in 1920. Ample, embracing, generous Deborah is a Catholic earth mother. Ruben (she thinks of herself only by her surname) is a harder person, Brooklyn-born, rough-edged, subconsciously resentful, Jewish. Despite their apparent incompatibility and Ruben's competitive streak, the two women sustain a deep attachment over two decades, interrupted twice when Ruben causes Deborah grief (and her job) by denigrating her teaching ability (a profession they both share). But an essential affinity always draws them back together, and they debate existential questions in a quirky sort of verbal shorthand, until the day when Deborah declares to Ruben: "You have a kindness defect,'' and admits she's frightened of Ruben's harsh assessment of herself and others. Suddenly, Deborah's death in an auto accident and the reappearance of the book Ruben borrowed long ago (passages from which have been interspersed in the narrative) connect. Trolley Girl's protagonist--an unrepentant anarchist who caused the deadly accident when she was young--turns out to be an elderly sculptor already entwined in Ruben's life. Through her, Ruben achieves insights into the insidious ways unconscious anger can undermine relationships. Mattison constructs her layered plot with the skill of a gem-setter, showing small facets of Ruben's growing understanding of her own failings as a friend and human being, and as she finally understands Deborah's legacy of tolerance and hope. Agent, Zoe Pagnamenta, Wylie.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        August 1, 1999
        When Toby meets Deborah at the playground, they strike up a conversation about their children and become friends. Deborah lends Toby a book about a trolley strike in the 1920s, which she reads sporadically and then puts aside and forgets. Twenty years later, after Deborah is killed in a car crash, the devastated Toby discovers that sculptress Berry Cooper, who features prominently in the book, is living nearby. Prompted to rediscover the book, Toby finally finishes it, thus coming to terms with Deborah's death. The novel unfolds in jerky fits and starts at ten-year intervals, and the parallel story lines interweave, showing how the past is inextricably linked to the present. The characters are well drawn and realistic, the language and culture vivid. A worthwhile follow-up to Mattison's 1997 hit story collection, Men Giving Money, Women Yelling.--Joanna M. Burkhardt, Univ. of Rhode Island Coll. of Continuing Education Lib., Watch Hill

        Copyright 1999 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

popularity
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shortDescription

On the day they first meet in a city playground, Deborah Laidlaw lends Toby Ruben a book called Trolley Girl, the memoir of a forgotten trolley strike in the 1920s, written by the sister of a fiery Jewish revolutionary who played an important, ultimately tragic role in the events. Young mothers with babies, Toby and Deborah become instant friends. It is a relationship that will endure for decades—through the vagaries of marriage, career, and child-rearing, through heated discussions of politics, ethics, and life—until an insurmountable argument takes the two women down divergent paths. But in the aftermath of crisis and sorrow, it is a borrowed book, long set aside and forgotten, that will unite Toby and Deborah once again.

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