What does the cover of this book say to you? It's part of what intrigued me and led me to it...
Love and longing (and fondly remembering) a missing, deceased father is what anchors Barbara Barrett back to the world and her life when this divorced mother of two is deemed by a court as "psychologically unstable" to care for her children. In Cleaning Nabokov's House, Leslie Daniels has written a uniquely original debut novel that transcends grief and breathes levity (and often, unbelievable) satirical absurdity into a story that might have, in less clever creative hands, flat-lined into melodrama.
When the book opens, the reader joins Barbara's story after the court order has been handed down, and she is scrambling to pick up the pieces of her shattered life and figure out a way to get her children back. Barbara, originally a Manhattanite, feels like an outcast since moving to her ex's (and now also her children's) hometown of Onkwedo, New York (a fictionalized version of Oneida). She feels stuck in a rut. Her lackluster job at a small dairy, writing response letters to disgruntled ice cream consumers and the like, isn't much help either. But her luck suddenly changes when she moves into a house once inhabited by the great Vladimir Nabokov, the author of the seductive classic, Lolita. Tucked behind a false wall in the house, she discovers a manuscript she believes is an unpublished masterpiece written by Nabokov himself about Babe Ruth...of all people. Could having the novel authenticated and getting it published serve as a winning lottery ticket to fulfill Barbara's quest? It is this discovery, along with a cast of equally quirky and absorbing characters, that ultimately empowers Barbara to reinvent her life in often laugh-out-loud ways that she, and the reader, could never have imagined.
Cleaning Nabokov's House by Leslie Daniels
Touchstone, Hardcover, 978-1439195024 , 336 pp
Publication Date: March 1, 2011
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