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He same belt a belt running at top speed freuently hiccuping and flapping at the speed and the strain before correcting itself and grinding onThat is Bernard Review also Read this Read this now Romantic beautiful and heartbreaking Edited After I finished this book I considered re reading it immediately So what we have here is an epistolary novel about writers who meet in a writer s colony inspired by real life writers and written bywell a writer Based very loosely on the real life correspondence of Flannery O Connor and Robert Lowell Ms Bauer creates two characters that are sort of stand ins for the famous writing pairbut notThe first thing the reader has to decide is How much should the real O Connor Lowell story influence my reading My personal answer was Not much Sure O Connor was a fervent but non didactic Catholic with a flair for the ironic and allegorical and yes Lowell came from a Boston Brahmin family went to Harvard converted to Catholicism and wrote confessional poetry But there s where the similarities begin and endFrances is from a working class Philadelphia family and is awarded the gift of good health here She meets Bernard who has a far greater zest for life and off they go Frances notes to a friend that maybe she was ealous of his ability #to charm and be gracious and make it seem effortless make it seem an extension of #charm and be gracious and make it seem effortless make it seem an extension of intelligence While I tend to silently udge or make an untimely crack Their powerful intellectualism rules the day and some of the meaty parts focus on their conversations about Catholic theology Curiously neither start at suare one uestioning the very existence of Christ or accepted dogma rather they dutifully accept it and start at suare two mulling over how to be a person of faith Frances by far the bigger believer writes I don t want to forget to say that it s a common mistake to confuse severity for spiritual radiance I think many religious folk mistakenly champion the importance of being ramrod Bernard on the other hand states I did not like church but I wanted an absolute and I wanted its demands His fervor he admits was likely self adornmentThe two bond over their communication on their writing religion their inabilities to strongly adhere to preconceived roles their families and their growing feelings for each other In real life O Connor and Lowell were not lovers The book is almost a five star but not uite Interestingly as Frances and Bernard stray into less intellectual and emotionally wrought areas they become to this reader slightly inorganic Perhaps it s the overlay of their famous real life counterparts that sets up certain expectations In any event the holy friendship they might have been subconsciously enacting becomes of a run of the mill narrative That being said I was still tempted to go up a star because of the powerful writing and brilliant ending I couldn t pull myself away from these corresponding letters inspired by the lives of Flannery O Conner and Robert Lowell Knowing that Flannery died of Lupus at age 39 so young added sadness Also Robert died of a heart attack older but
suffered from manic depression for years hospitalized many times However book written as a novelso I consciously tried to separate their lives from the story of Frances and Bernardour fictional characters Life sure is not a straight line go to school make life time friends college life time friends graduate career fall in love marriage children dogs grandkids retirement travel leisure time ha Life for Frances and Bernard was not a straight line either their letters evolve over the years their passion for writing their passion for each other comes to a fork in the road and the uestion that lingers iscan we love another person so completely that we lose our dreams I didn t mind their conversations about God and theology surprised myself The kindred spirits and bittersweet romance between Frances and Bernard is charming and powerful Extremely intimate Friendship blossomsa spiritual dialogue blossoms darkness gets revealed love grows shit hits the fanI LOVED THIS SLIM BOOK NOTE I ust noticed that this is only 299 on Kindle A great deal. Ous taxis that can take you anywhere at all long talks along the Hudson as the lights of the Empire State Building blink on aboveInspired by the lives of Flannery O’Connor and Robert Lowell. This is an erudite and affecting novelNovelist Frances Reardon and poet Bernard Eliot meet at a writers colony in the summer of 1957 Frances senses traces of John Donne in Bernard s spiritual poetry and Bernard loves Frances s biting #satire about a group of nuns They begin It s not very often that I find in #about a group of nuns They begin It s not very often that I find in novel two characters so deeply interesting and so fully human as Frances and Bernard are in this work Their relationship and it s gradual progression form the entire plot of this novel and though it is only 200 pages it succeeds in telling only 200 pages it succeeds in telling engaging and complete taleSince F B is told solely through a series of letters Bauer trusts the reader to fill in some of the gaps in facts the information the letter writers are witholding That trust in her readers makes the reading experience all the enjoyable We know that Frances s reserved manner will come into conflict with Bernard s impulsive style so when it does it is all the rewardingI can t say enough how engaging and sharp and dynamic and fundamentally human the two central characters are Their relationship evolves over the course of years and seeing their authorial voices change in the letters gave me the feeling I was growing with them I would imagine most readers will grow to love both characters but Frances was the most engaging to me Her biting wit made me laugh out loud even through emotionally difficult passages and her active inner life makes her a great reader surrogate I was also so excited to see religious thinking humans portrayed so humanely and thoughtfully As the book puts it neither character is a demagogue or a rubeI was totally surprised and charmed by this book which at its end left in me an achin I would never had thought that reading letters could prove to be so interesting till now This novel concerns the meeting and befriending of two person both artists and have a keen belief in God There to and fro in letter replies from their beginning stages till there final letter paints a picture of love for each other faith and writing He s a poet soon to publish and she s a visceral writer from Iowa s workshop soon to possibly publish her first book As their worlds meet one sways towards than normal reflections on the others being There discussions on all things great and small godly and ungodly provided a great passage of reading for me and I am sure many may like this passage of time transpiring of souls these artists that both have an art form to pursue can they handle a great long lasting relationship that will not interlope their craft and pathExcerpt Bernard I want to thank you for getting me out of the nunnery and possible getting me out of this other house of horrors And thank you for your book It s handsome But please do not mistake me for someone who has direct communication with God Also I m a fiction writer My Sheet Metal Shop Practice judgements are heudgements of a mortal and they are hobbled by my earthbound obstinate insistence on the concrete You Know what I ve told you before You and i are so very different I am one word at a time one foot in front of the other slowly always testing how sure my footing is before proceeding to the next sentence with ruminative breaks for buttered toast and coffee Your poems make the old feeling of cowdom come over me stalled in #a vast unconuerable field alone ruminating While you re Christopher Wren You ve made me #vast unconuerable field alone ruminating While you re Christopher Wren You ve made me the grave sin of hyperbole in trying to convince you of my esteem Christopher Wren Dear God So be flatteredYoursFrancesMichael is probably a much better Christian than me if i were as godly i would not have decided to celebrate my last week of summer by swimming naked at night but have you ever seen the moon waxing crescent hanging low and white in the sky and heard the breeze blow through the bushes and trees You feel as ripening and shining as the night you are in and it s excruciating to stand there enduring nature God s instantiation God s invitation as a spectator when you plunge yourself in the middle of it That felt sinfulto not plunge myself in the middle of itBut his mind and his heart seem free of cruelty as he talked i saw them as two gears connected by Ir way to New York and for a few whirling years each other The city is a wonderland for young people with dreams cramped West Village kitchens parties stocked with the sharp witted and glamor. .had suffered from manic for years hospitalized many times However this book
Without hesitation the finest epistolary novel I ve read outside of the 18th Century I read Frances and Bernard over an eighteen hour period while confined to a hotel room in Kansas City MO on account of inclement weather #and was ultimately grateful for the layover by way of this bookReturning to their regular lives after time spent #was ultimately grateful for the layover by way of this bookReturning to their regular lives after time spent a writers colony Frances and Bernard two ridiculously charming and intelligent characters decid Two writers meet at a workshop and continue to correspond after This story is told entirely in letters and the author pulls you in to their thoughts and emotions so deeply so intimately that it is impossible not to feel I found it gut wrenching Love between friends doesn t always go smoothly and can t always manifest in traditional ways That s the story here Something happens halfway through that turns everything on its ear something I was not expecting or even needing to have enough drama in the story but the letters reveal how the friends work through itApparently the author based it very loosely on the relationship between Flannery O Connor and Robert Lowell but I don t know anything about that I plan to read O Connor s stories later this year so perhaps I ll read some Lowell tooThis book was also discussed on the Reading Envy Podcast Episode 03And now some of my favorite bitsI wonder if I should have even described this to you if I have scared you But I imagine knowing you for a long long time and I have felt this blackness for a long long time and I don t want to hide any part of my self from you Bernard to FrancesShe may always think harder than she loves Bernard to his friend Ted about FrancesIf we say we love each other what does it matter It does not mean that we have to marry each other It means only that we need each other that we look out for each other That our lives without each other would be less Bernard to FrancesI want you to feel hope than you feel despair Frances to BernardI see him too clearly to be in love with him Frances to her friend Claire about BernardI am trying to look at you with love but without illusions
I LOVE YOUR SUSPICION BERNARD TOlove your suspicion Bernard to More like 35 I thinkI have mixed feelings about this book I didn t really like the storyline I don t like love stories at all and I find them to be a bit boring Although this story isn t uite the typical love story it still Cait and the Devil just wasn t working for me I didn t feel for the main characters and the abundance of Catholicism annoyed me at timesBut then the writing style Oh how I enjoyed the writing style Thought provoking clever andust so beautiful it was most certainly worth the lack of an interesting plot My rating 25 of 5 starsA copy of Frances and Bernard was provided to me by Houghton Mifflin HarcourtNetgalley for review purposesAn epistolary novel or a novel written solely in personal letters mainly between main characters Frances and Bernard The novel is said to of been influenced by the lives of Flannery O Connor and Robert Lowell however Frances and Bernard are far from a carbon copy In an author interview with Publisher s Weekly Carlene stated I didn t want to write historical fiction but I want readers to know that it was the temperaments minds and voices of these specific people that set me offThe beautiful writing was the only redeeming uality of this book for me and it was uite beautiful The story was heavily steeped in religious fervor I found both Frances and Bernard to be uite a bore and their fanatical beliefs and constant discussion of them was really uite tiresome As much personal details which are given in their letters there still managed to be a lack of connection between the reader and the characters themselves I would naturally blame the style of writing however I was uite fond of the letters back and forth to one another Reading a certain bit of the authors flawless prose was like a beacon of light I only wish the entire novel shone brightly as a whole A sophisticated epistolary exchange between two fictional authors based on the not uite love affair between Flannery O Connor and Robert Lowell With or without knowledge of its historical inspiration though. Frances and Bernard meet in the summer of 1957 Afterward he writes her a letter Soon they are immersed in the kind of fast deep friendship that can change the course of our livesThey find the.