A Regular Guy : A Novel
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Mona Simpson's first two novels, Anywhere But Here and The Lost Father, won her literary renown and a wide following. Now, in her third novel, the narrator Ann Atassi has been replaced by a third-person narrator recounting the adventures of young Jane di Natali, but the theme remains the same: the search for, and the attempt to understand, the absent father.
This time the father is a millionaire biotechnology magnate named Tom Owens. Into Owens's charmed life comes Jane, born out of wedlock, raised in communes, and now dispatched into his care by a mother who is no longer capable of providing it; Tom is far from ready for this responsibility. Fans of Simpson's previous novels will not be disappointed by this excursion into the cracked world of family relations.
"Simpson is an attentive observer and a fluent stylist, but it is the element of subtle surprise that draws us through these pages, the magnetism of an original mind that holds us fast."
calling her “little nurse.” Huck shook his head. Otto, his father, a community college professor, whose zeal for petite undergraduates remained undiminished at seventy, was having trouble with his eyes. “I don’t know what I’ll do if he can’t drive.” Huck kept his head down and toyed with the salt and pepper shakers. He was a large, thick man, and both his cousins were slender, fine. “Is something the matter?” Olivia asked. “No.” He shoved his chair back and offered to get them all coffee.
Also, what they planned to do was at this time illegal in the state of California and punishable by law. The next morning, Olivia sat at the kitchen table eating muesli, her mother’s recipe, with lemon and oats, and fresh fruit chopped into it. Her mother bought good food, Olivia thought with consolation, even when they were poor. She took joy in it. Olivia was reading the newspaper. “I heard you up,” her father said. Disheveled by sleep, his curly hair stood straight. His face seemed even
there. Sometimes she wanted a thing so much, she couldn’t fathom why, if she stared and complimented, the person wouldn’t give it to her. “Would you be willing to tutor?” Mary asked. “Could we live here?” Jane blurted. “Jane,” Mary said with a giggle, but she looked up for an answer too. Ruby set her teacup down quickly, trembling the saucer. Amber tugged at the gloves on her lap. They excused themselves to the kitchen to confer. Jane and Mary sat waiting, looking around the full room. The
back and looked, and he never asked about that chicken again.” “Never once asked,” Arthur added. Arthur and Olivia were drinking coffee that day. Nora couldn’t stand the taste anymore; no matter what they did, it was bitter to her. But she still loved the smell. The three of them sat for a long time looking out the sliding glass doors. A spring wind blew iris heads and papery poppies. Nora whispered, “Besides Pony, you’re the nicest girl I know.” Olivia felt a grin growing on her face: the
Jane was special. Mary was used to uncertainty about herself. But for Jane to be unexceptional, even to this one big-hipped teacher, tilted the whole world. Jane strapped on her seat belt without being asked, balancing the cardboard box of still-warm muffins on her knees. She was glad they were going to his office: she’d made too many for just the two of them. The muffins released a faint sweetness into the car. “Now, do you think your muffins’ll be enough for dinner?” “Muffins are enough for