Read Elegance by Kathleen Tessaro Free Online
Book Title: Elegance|
The author of the book: Kathleen Tessaro
Edition: William Morrow & Co
Date of issue: January 5th 2004
ISBN 13: 9780007151431
Loaded: 2923 times
Reader ratings: 6.8
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 748 KB
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Kathleen Tessaro, Elegance (Morrow, 2003)
There is a particular passage in the book-within-a-book Elegance that defines, in a far more eloquent way, something I've been trying to pinpoint about the major problem with the fashion industry, and a major problem with western culture in general.
“However, if women continue to seek comfort above all twenty-four hours a day, twelve months a year, they may eventually find that they have allowed themselves to become slaves to the crepe-rubber sole, nylon from head to toe, pre-digested meals, organized travel, functional uniformity, and general stultification. When comfort becomes an end in itself, it is the Public Enemy Number One of elegance.”
Exactly. I do not, however, chuck books out the window on philosophical differences alone, so after reading this, I just shook my head in incredulity and soldiered on until I hit the fifty-page rule.
For those of you who do not subscribe to the fifty-page rule, let me offer you an explanation of the mental process that goes along with it. You begin reading a book, and your initial reaction to it is anywhere from apathy to outright revulsion. Perhaps the book's pacing is ponderous, its dialogue is stock, you've read the plot a hundred times before. Perhaps it's supposed to be funny (“Hilarious!” according to Marilyn Keyes on the front cover) and the most you can manage is a wistful smile for the last chick-lit novel you read, which was so much funnier than this you can't find a mode of comparison. The you get to page fifty. You check the page count of the entire novel. Fifty pages often breaks down into an easy fraction (say, slightly less than one-sixth of the novel). Then you ask yourself quite seriously if you can put up with reading fifty more pages of this...five times over. If your answer is “no”, you move on to what are hopefully the better, more interesting books in your to-be-read stack, and out the window this particular headache goes, never to be thought of again. Unless, of course, you're reviewing it.
I could probably have put up with the revolting philosophy (after all, it can't really get much worse than “comfort is the enemy of elegance”; might as well bring footbinders back into style). I would have stomached the ponderous pace and worthless dialogue. I could have even justified the book's non-hilariousness (thank you, Marilyn Keyes) by assuming the blurb was wrong and it was meant to be a family drama rather than a piece of chick lit. But at the very end of that first fifty-page chunk, Tessaro puts her main characters into a situation that's so overdone I can't count the number of times I've seen it; I think it's cropped up in every romance/chick lit/family drama I've ever read with married protagonists. Not only is it not original, it's aggressively derivative. It hops up in your face and says “look at me! You've seen me a million times, and yet I am still supposed to entertain you!” So I did what, I should hope, any discerning reader would do; I shut the book and sent it on its way through the air to the back lawn. It will feed earthworms far better than it will feed your brain. (zero)
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Read information about the authorBorn in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Kathleen attended the University of Pittsburgh before entering the drama program of Carnegie Mellon University. In the middle of her sophomore year, she went to study in London for three months and stayed for the next twenty-three years. She began writing at the suggestion of a friend and was an early member of the Wimpole Street Writer’s Workshop. Her debut novel, Elegance, became a bestseller in hardback and paperback. All of Kathleen's novels (Elegance, Innocence, The Flirt, The Debutante, The Perfume Collector, and Rare Objects) have been translated into many languages and sold all over the world. She returned to Pittsburgh in 2009, where she now lives with her husband and son.
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