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Idyll Banter


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About the Author

Chris Bohjalian is the award-winning author of nine novels, including Before You Know Kindness, The Buffalo Soldier, Trans-Sister Radio, The Law of Similars, and Midwives.


Like his popular novels (e.g., The Buffalo Soldier; Midwives), this title is set in a small village in northern Vermont, but it contains the author's true-life observations of living in Lincoln, VT, a small village about 30 miles from Burlington, the state's largest city. These observations are a compilation of selected articles from a Sunday column called "Idyll Banter" that the author has written for the Burlington newspaper since 1992. Through these short articles Bohjalian, who was raised in the New York City area and moved to Lincoln in 1986, provides insights into his own life and the life of a small village. Some of his observations are humorous, while others sad, but they all demonstrate the author's love and respect for the community in which he lives. This will make enjoyable reading for many kinds of readers, especially those who have read any of Bohjalian's eight novels or are seeking information on what it's like to live in a small town. The author's latest book is is highly recommended for all public libraries.-John McCormick, New Hampshire State Lib., Concord Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

"Chris Bohjalian is a terrific columnist--thoughtful and thought-provoking. Just like me! No, really, this guy is good." --Dave Barry

"[Bohjalian] is writing about one of the most important issues in America today--how do we retain our sense of community. . . . Gentle . . . sensitive . . .heart-warming." --Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel "These essays carry a community connection and a humble grace. When words read this easily, you know they also carry a lot of work. Bohjalian is a reliable guide, moving from pastures to town steeple to the edge of the playground." --Boston Globe "Whether you're aching to escape the urban grind or yearning to have your small-town experience reflected back at you, you'll do well to pick up Idyll Banter." --Elle

At the beginning of 1992, Bohjalian, a noted novelist (Midwives; Trans-Sister Radio; etc.), started writing a weekly column for the Burlington Free Press, the newspaper in the city closest to his home in Lincoln, Vt. In this inviting volume of more than 60 pieces from his 12 years of chronicling everyday events from "the yellow house on the corner of Quaker Street," the transplanted New Yorker celebrates the village's traditions and showers its residents with praise. He rhapsodizes about the democracy of the annual town meeting, during which he sees "three generations of families scattered across the church like wildflower seeds"; he laments the dwindling in the number of dairy farms in the Green Mountain state and pokes fun at his perpetual inability to locate the septic tank behind his house. Some topics are predictable-invading leaf peepers, maple sugaring, mud season-and Bohjalian occasionally sounds too Pollyannaish as he gushes about smalltown New England life. But he also writes movingly about serious, intimate moments. In the book's most memorable essay, which recounts the destruction of 80% of Lincoln's library books by a flash flood, Bohjalian's words beautifully capture the community's grief: "I saw dazed adults crying softly.... They didn't cry that day for the roads or the bridges that had been lost.... But they did cry for their books." (Dec. 16) Forecast: With a national radio campaign, six-city author tour, ads in the New York Times Book Review and the New Yorker, and NPR sponsorships, Bohjalian's first nonfiction effort is positioned to be one of the holiday season's big books. It should be popular with his usual readership (female baby boomers) along with readers who enjoy rural life. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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