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Exes: A Novel
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Catapult 2017
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Description

[A] heartbreaking novel about the devastations of severed attachments." —NPR

For Clay Blackall, a lifelong resident of Providence, Rhode Island, the place has become an obsession. Here live the only people who can explain what happened to his brother, Eli, whose suicide haunts this heartbreaking, hilarious novel-in-fragments.

A failed actor impersonates a former movie star; an ex-con looks after a summer home perched atop a rock in the bay; a broken-hearted salutatorian airs thirteen years' worth of dirty laundry at his school's commencement; an adjunct struggles to make room for her homeless and self-absorbed mother while revisiting a scandalous high school love affair; a recent widower, with the help of a clever teen, schemes to rid his condo's pond of Canada geese. Clay compiles their stories, invasively providing context in the form of notes that lead always, somehow, back to Eli. Behind Clay's possibly insane, definitely doomed, and increasingly suspect task burns his desire to understand his brother's death, and the city that has defined and ruined them both.

Full of brainy detours and irreverent asides, Exes is a powerful investigation of grief, love, and our deeply held yet ever-changing notions of home.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
04/01/2017
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781936787456
ASIN:
B01NAEI7Q8
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Max Winter. (2017). Exes: A Novel. Catapult.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Max Winter. 2017. Exes: A Novel. Catapult.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Max Winter, Exes: A Novel. Catapult, 2017.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Max Winter. Exes: A Novel. Catapult, 2017. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. 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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Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 16:38:16
Date Updated:
Oct 25, 2020 02:51:21
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      • bioText: Max Winter is a graduate of UC Irvine's MFA program, and a recipient of two Rhode Island State Council on the Arts Fellowships in Fiction. He has been published in Day One and Diner Journal. He lives in Providence, Rhode Island, with his wife and son.
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shortDescription

For Clay Blackall, a lifelong resident of Providence, Rhode Island, the place has become an obsession. Here live the only people who can explain what happened to his brother, Eli, whose suicide haunts this heartbreaking, hilarious novel-in-fragments. A former movie star impersonates himself; an ex-con looks after a summer home perched atop a rock in the bay; a broken-hearted Salutatorian airs thirteen years' worth of dirty laundry at his school's commencement; an adjunct struggles to make room for her homeless and self-absorbed mother while revisiting a salacious high school love affair; a recent widower, with the help of a clever teen, schemes to rid his condo's pond of Canada geese. Clay compiles their stories, invasively providing context in the form of footnotes that lead always, somehow, back to Eli. Behind Clay's task — which seems insane, definitely doomed, and, as the pages turn, increasingly suspect — burns his desire to understand his brother's death and...

isOwnedByCollections
True
title
Exes
fullDescription

[A] heartbreaking novel about the devastations of severed attachments." —NPR

For Clay Blackall, a lifelong resident of Providence, Rhode Island, the place has become an obsession. Here live the only people who can explain what happened to his brother, Eli, whose suicide haunts this heartbreaking, hilarious novel-in-fragments.

A failed actor impersonates a former movie star; an ex-con looks after a summer home perched atop a rock in the bay; a broken-hearted salutatorian airs thirteen years' worth of dirty laundry at his school's commencement; an adjunct struggles to make room for her homeless and self-absorbed mother while revisiting a scandalous high school love affair; a recent widower, with the help of a clever teen, schemes to rid his condo's pond of Canada geese. Clay compiles their stories, invasively providing context in the form of notes that lead always, somehow, back to Eli. Behind Clay's possibly insane, definitely doomed, and increasingly suspect task burns his desire to understand his brother's death, and the city that has defined and ruined them both.

Full of brainy detours and irreverent asides, Exes is a powerful investigation of grief, love, and our deeply held yet ever-changing notions of home.

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      • premium: False
      • source: Publishers Weekly
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        Praise for Exes

        "The immersive and accomplished debut novel by Winter is haunted as much by the city of Providence, R.I., as it is by the suicide of Eli, brother of Clay Blackall, one of several narrators in this novel in fragments who each provide insight into why Eli might have ended his life. Providence serves as the backdrop for Clay's doomed search for answers, and the novel is peppered with local lore that subtly intersects Clay and Eli's family history. Both an appreciation and evisceration of Providence and its residents, the novel straddles the line between humor and tragedy in each of its disparate parts.... brilliantly unique and incisive."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        December 5, 2016
        The immersive and accomplished debut novel by Winter is haunted as much by the city of Providence, R.I., as it is by the suicide of Eli, brother of Clay Blackall, one of several narrators in this novel in fragments who each provide insight into why Eli might have ended his life. Providence serves as the backdrop for Clay’s doomed search for answers, and the novel is peppered with local lore that subtly intersects Clay and Eli’s family history. Both an appreciation and evisceration of Providence and its residents, the novel straddles the line between humor and tragedy in each of its disparate parts. The voice of each narrator—whether an ex and former student of Eli’s, Alix; Eli’s former cell mate and also Alix’s other doomed ex, Rob; fallen hockey hero and Rob’s estranged father, Hank LaChance; Mark, Alix’s high school classmate, who narrates the novel’s most beautiful and heartbreaking chapter; or any of several others—is brilliantly unique and incisive. Each character navigates the complex territories of family, grief, and human attachment with sharp intelligence and wit. Agent: Shaun Dolan, Union Literary.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        February 1, 2017
        A man processes his brother's death by annotating the memories of the quirky people who knew him.Clay, the lead narrator of Winter's debut novel, has spent five years contemplating the death of his brother, Eli, who crashed his car into a house in Providence, Rhode Island. His contemplation process is a little contrived, though: he's reading through and annotating documents by "exes, friends, and neighbors" in Eli's circle. But the scheme does allow Winter to display his skill at writing in a variety of voices and reveals how relationships among people coalesce and divide. Some characters are hard-luck cases, like Vince, who pretends to be actor Judge Reinhold to pick up women in bars, or Rob, a habitue of Providence's heroin subculture. Other characters are broader and brighter, like Alix, who had conflicted feelings about dating Eli when he was her high school teacher ("it immediately felt like I had vomited my heart"), or Hank, a widower consumed by a young boy he suddenly finds himself caring for along with the geese he's trying to run off his lawn. Clay footnotes every document with rebuttals or tidbits of local lore, and his comments help give the novel an interconnected feel, a kind of Winesburg, Ohio with more drugs and bad blood. ("Providence is small; avoiding one another isn't easy," Alix says.) But the novel is also hobbled by its structural complexity, creating a series of overlapping voices that dampens the core story of Eli's fate and Clay's reckoning with it. Clay's footnotes often have footnotes, and his matryoshka dolls of commentary about family properties and former neighborhood IHOPs often feel like stifling digressions. Winter is a writer with talent and wit to burn, though it's often undermined by this story's knotty structure.

        COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        March 1, 2017
        Fans of David Foster Wallace's The Broom of the System (1987) will find this novel-in-fragments to be equally irreverent and peppered with a similarly absurd cast of characters. Clay Blackall has lived in Providence, Rhode Island, his entire life, which is a biographical detail that inspires many a moment of irony in this book. Clay is well into adulthood when he begins piecing together the puzzle of his brother Eli's life before Eli committed suicide. Clay's investigation is composed of many different, sometimes contradictory, narratives that stop and start in confusing places. These accounts are separated by Clay's messy notes; readers follow his stream of consciousness as he makes sense of the information coming to light. Overall, the book reads like an honest collection of research. It is organized in a fashion that only makes sense to the desperate, grieving protagonist, and contains elements with varying degrees of importance. The book's power comes in this compilation style: it begs readers to ask what seemingly futile details mean in the context of life and suicide.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2017, American Library Association.)

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