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The Mineral Palace Paperback – Import, 1 Aug 2001
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A novel of daring imagination. -- Voice Literary Supplement
Julavits can be a magician with language, spinning brilliant metaphors and investing descriptive scenes with almost palpable dimensionality. -- Publishers Weekly
With hard grace and quiet command, The Mineral Palace marks a compelling debut by a strong new voice in fiction. -- Elle
About the Author
Heidi Julavits has published short fiction in Esquire, Story, Zoetrope, McSweeney's, and The Best American Short Stories 1999. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
However, she does a fabulous job of playing these little mind games with you that make you question your own reality, question people's motives, and ultimately makes the book almost an interactive experience to the text because your interpretation of events affects the story that takes place.
She did an excellent job of this in The Effect Of Living Backwards, and a decent job in The Uses of Enchantment. Unfortunately, this book contained the shortcomings of her writing without the strengths. You still feel a lack of empathy for the characters and a disjointedness from the setting, but the story is missing her trademark psychological elements. I guess it didn't become her trademark until later.
Bena Jonssen is an accomplished young mother married to a doctor. Unfortunately, she is presented with some worthy obstacles that are formidable for the time. Her husband, a boozing, skirt-chasing doctor is no support when they move their obviously physically and mentally handicapped infant son to her husband's new job in Pueblo, Colorado in 1934. Aside from Bena's constant preoccupation with her son's health and her husband's apathy, Bena brings with her some unusual habits; one being a mathmatically applied tic, repressed memories of her brother, and an enthusiasm to restore the Mineral Palace.
Unfortunately, the novel's receipe just does not work, even though the ingredients are all there. Historical junkies may be driven to plod through the novel, but the outcome is just a stone's throw in a novel that easily could have been a significant reflection for the time.