Mister Sandman

Mister Sandman

Mister Sandman Barbara Gowdy s outrageous hilarious disturbing and compassionate novel is about the Canary family their immoderate passions and eccentricities and their secret lives and histories The deepest se

  • Title: Mister Sandman
  • Author: Barbara Gowdy
  • ISBN: 9781895897760
  • Page: 437
  • Format: Paperback
  • Barbara Gowdy s outrageous, hilarious, disturbing, and compassionate novel is about the Canary family, their immoderate passions and eccentricities, and their secret lives and histories The deepest secret of all is harbored in the silence of the youngest daughter, Joan, who doesn t grow, who doesn t speak, but who can play the piano like Mozart though she s never had a leBarbara Gowdy s outrageous, hilarious, disturbing, and compassionate novel is about the Canary family, their immoderate passions and eccentricities, and their secret lives and histories The deepest secret of all is harbored in the silence of the youngest daughter, Joan, who doesn t grow, who doesn t speak, but who can play the piano like Mozart though she s never had a lesson Joan is a mystery, and in the novel s stunning climax her family comes to understand that each of them is a mystery, as marvelous as Joan, as irreducible as the mystery of life itself In its compassionate investigation of moral truths and its bold embrace of the fractured nature of every one of its characters, Mister Sandman attains the heightened quality of a modern day parable.

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      Published :2019-05-07T08:54:56+00:00

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    A novel that rolls around in its own eccentricity like a happy dog in high grass. Gowdy loves her oddball characters and the reader cannot help but love them, too.

    The story of a family set in 50s-70s Canada; this unconventional family - closet homosexual Gordon; wild, lying Doris; brilliant, promiscuous Marcy; slow, overweight, happy Sonja; and genius, brain-damaged, beautiful, talented Joan - struggles with love, openness and honesty until Joan opens their eyes.Recommended by Margaret Atwood and by Salon, this story had me expecting to be as spellbound as I was when reading Geek Love. However, despite the book's interesting perspective and plot line, the [...]

    It's a quick and easy read. Not particularly original or demanding, but it's an amusing way to spend an afternoon. The characters are interesting and the end of the book is definitely its strongest part. I heard it compared to Geek Love, and though the daughter is a 'freak,' she is not so in the Geek Love sense. In a sense, her 'normal' family members are much stranger than she.

    This is one of my favourite novels. a dysfunctional family that decides that it really isn't dysfunctional at all! beautiful characters, sometimes i think that i might have known them, at some point, sometime.

    Second book I've read by this author. First was great. This one was tedious and "precious". Seemed like the author was trying too hard. Finished it though, but only by slogging through. Started off good, but felt forced very quickly.

    There was enough wit and absurdity to keep my interest and enough interesting characters to keep me reading. But I found the story itself weaker than the writing. Gowdy introduced us to a family of flawed people who all find a purpose that brings them away from the family but it is their secrets that ultimately connect them.

    I loved reading this book. The writing was excellent, the characters wonderful and unique, and I laughed out loud several times. A very fun story about a dysfunctional family in the 60's/70's.4.5*/5!

    What a fantastic writer! She should be widely read. A very unusual, strange story and brilliantly told.

    Barbara Gowdy, Mister Sandman (HBJ, 1996)Mister Sandman was a Publishers' Weekly Best Book of 1996, and it's easy to see why. Gowdy's third novel (and fourth book) is an engaging look into a world the is both completely warped and so close to the surface of reality that sometimes it's hard to remember that what's on the page is fiction.Mister Sandman is the story of the Canary family, who are your basic everyday family. At least, they would be if life were a David Lynch film. Gordon, the patriar [...]

    The story is complex, so we'll start with the family: a mother, a father and their two girls, one of whom is fifteen and recently lost her virginity (albeit somewhat unwittingly; she turns to the man directly thereafter and gasps, "Did we go all the way?"). Oldest daughter becomes pregnant. Mother and daughter travel to the nursing home where an elderly aunt is staying, and the daughter gives birth in a basement room where not a year earlier, an elderly woman named Alice killed herself, etching [...]

    Alas. I thought Mister Sandman was just okay. In short: It’s a book about the disparity between ‘true’ selves and what we reveal to those we love. The secrets we keep from our partners and children; the secrets we keep from ourselves. The reverberations of these secrets are detected by the changeling child of the family, Joan, who, because she is ‘brain damaged’ and assumed to be mute, absorbs (and records) the secrets she hears, only to echo them back in (magical) and transformative w [...]

    I like the concept. There were parts of the book I enjoyed. If it had been by an author unfamiliar to me I suspect I would have rated it higher. Having dearly loved some of Barbara Gowdy's other works, though, I'm a bit disappointed.Passages I marked:It was something else, the look in her eyes. Bloodshot, boiling, as if she were letting Doris see right into her arteries.He himself doesn't play an instrument, but if he did it would be the piano for how it is capable of simultaneously reproducing [...]

    You could point to anything and call it the truth. "The truth is only a version" was one of his maxims, which S heard as "the truth is only aversion" p2In this version of the dysfunctional family, the truth is particularly elastic,genuine feeling comes as a surprise or something to be awkwardly pieced together.Its these kind of communication mistake that take lives in unintended directions.What I found so wonderful in this zany and heartfelt saga is the depth of affection and the almost total ac [...]

    Someone me this book. Many details about sex - heterosexual, homosexual, lesbians, gay, masturbation. One night stands.About a child conceived in a 2 minute rape. Almost albino. never speaks, but can imitate noises and can play anything on the piano (servant?)Her grandmother, Doris, adopts her to save the daughter's reputation. Doris meets a nurse (at the nursing home where they stay and have the baby) and realizes she likes women.Her daughter, Sonja, gets a job putting hairpins on the cardboard [...]

    Having read Gowdy's 'Helpless' awhile back, I was quite excited to give 'Mister Sandman' a whirl. I am of mixed feelings of this story.I absolutely love Gowdy's writing style. This woman knows how to make you turn a page. At under 300 pages she tells a wholly complete story; I love a concise writer. I also found most of the characters very rooted in reality. The passages devoted to the juxtaposing sister, the seemingly asexual Sonja and the promiscuous Marcia, I found particularly appetizing.How [...]

    Publisher synopsis: “The Canary family are unlike any other. Joan is exquisite, tiny, mute, plays the piano like Mozart and lives in a closet. Marcy is a nymphomaniac, while Sonja earns a fortune clipping hair-grips to cardboard and knits compulsively. Their parents keep their own habits secret for as long as they can.”The secrets of the parents are that Gordon is homosexual and Doris likes to sleep with other women. The story reaches its climax when Joan reveals them to each other.Well-writ [...]

    The story of a queer little family - encompassing both meanings of that word - and the secrets they've built their lives around. The style of this book really grew on me -- kind of rambly, lots of tangents and seemingly unimportant information sprinkled everywhere. Messy. But the mess starts to cohere, and flow, and take what you were expecting into another direction entirely (over and over again). I liked that, a lot. There's a feeling of inevitability to the ending, which is strange because it [...]

    (Review Notes written 1998) What a wild, weird, fascinating book! The Canary family is like no other; homosexual parents who have successfully hidden their homosexuality from each other, daughters Marcy and Sonya and Joan, daughter of Sonya who has been brought up as the third sister. was dropped on her head at birth and is brain-damaged but she talks (not talks, but communicates) only to sister Marcy and with sounds, not words. She imitates all the sounds around her, and she is also able to pla [...]

    Throughout the whole book I kept wondering if it was going to be one of those weird esoteric books you don't quite understand. It wasn't. Joan turned out to be a mirror, nothing more, nothing less. This was very interestingly constructed up to the end. But although the idea behind it was very nice, the story as a whole is too implausible for me to support it. It went too far. Too, too far.I liked the part where the author allowed a glimpse into Joanie's inner workings and I loved the ending, whi [...]

    What an odd, special little book. A bit like Joan, I suppose.Set in the 50s and 60s, this quirky story follows a family of 4.5, focusing on each person in turn. Time is nonlinear. Sex and love are very much on the forefront of everyone's minds. Gowdy writes sex and relationships so honestly. They're mundane, anxiety- and guilt-ridden, arousing, dysfunctional, and never alike. I'm still trying to understand the fantastical creature that is Joan, and why such a character was included. I liked her, [...]

    The good: very readable, with lovely language and a fast pace. Ms Gowdy also treats her characters with a benevolence that I felt was deserved, as she successfully portrays them as a family trying to muddle through life while doing the least harm.The bad: the ending. I don't remember whether I had similar reservations about The White Bone, but the ending was strange. It wasn't exactly abrupt or awkward, just a little less kind than I thought the rest of the novel was. Maybe that's just me, but t [...]

    I hate giving Barbara Gowdy one star, but this book didn't come together for me. I'm quitting on page 52. I would probably force myself to finish were it not for the fact that I have exhausted the number of renewals the library allows. And, that reveals a lot - I had a total of 48 hours on planes and in airports during the time I had it, desperately wanted an escape, and still couldn't stick with the story. The eccentricities of the characters and the cuteness of details seemed just a little too [...]

    When I began to read this book I thought "no, I'm not gonna like this one". Lo and behold, several pages into it I was captured. This is kind of an odd, quirky story which centers around a family of 5 people growing up in Toronto in the 1950's. The relationship between Gordon, Doris, Sonja, Marcy and Joan is dysfunctionally odd at best. Each of them has "secrets" from each other BUT along comes wee Joan and all those precious secrets that they each tried to protect are revealed in a way that is [...]

    It started out great, but then I found as it went on that it became trying. It was somewhat annoying that every single secret in the family had to do with sex. I don't mind sex in book, and there aren't any sex scenes here, but every single thing these characters think and do is related to their sex lives. At some point I just stop caring about who is banging who. A consequence of that is that when all their secrets are finally revealed, it's no big deal, because they all have the exact same sec [...]

    One of the best opening paragraphs to a novel in the English language! And a fun, engaging read.Here's how the book starts:Joan Canary was the Reincarnation Baby. Big news at the time, at least in the Vancouver papers. This is going back, 1956. Joan was that newborn who supposedly screamed, "Oh, no, not again!" at a pitch so shrill that one of the old women attending the birth clawed out her hearing aid. The other old woman fainted. She was the one who grabbed the umbilical cord and pulled Joan [...]

    This book is a marvelously written tale about a family so dysfunctional that their actual functioning comes across as completely normal (think Geek Love). It's difficult to put into words, because Gowdy does a fine job by herself. Her characters are robust, a little pathetic , delusional at times, and very much alive. The plot is unbelievably scandalous, yet, at the center of it all, is the Canary family - very strange yet completely devoted to one another. The youngest, Joan, is unforgettable. [...]

    This novel is such a hidden gem! One of the professors in my MFA program recommended this to me and it's now one of my favorite books. This book is up there with Katherine Dunn's Geek Love and Angela Carter's Magic Toyshop. Gowdy is able to write about a family of characters that are deeply complex. There are unusual and beautiful scenes of a family playing in the yard at night because the youngest child is so sensitive to the sun, and Gowdy is able to balance and delve deep into each character' [...]

    This was a book that was on the synapsis for my Modern Lit class in University. I never did find the time to read it while I was in school, but a couple of years later I decided to give it a go.While this book is not a genre that I would generally gravitate towards, there was something stark and compelling about this novel. The characters somehow manage to be relatable and outlandish all at the same time.I don't want to give away any spoilers, so all I will say is, think outside of the box and p [...]

    I like everything by Barbara Gowdy. Her characters are always convincing and always completely unique. Somehow, she can ignore the rule of "write what you know" and still have her odd storylines and people ring true. I mean, unless she knows what it's like to be an autistic, albino child how lives in a closet and can recreate any sound she hearsIt's not super complex reading but very satisfying. Great for rainy sunday reading where you have the whole day to get through a really cool story withou [...]

    What a great and unexpected delight I found this book I just picked up in a local charity shop. The main character was obviously autistic but not described as such. She was viewed by her family in the 60's as "brain-damaged" "reincarnated" and just generally as mysterious, eccentric and very much loved.Was a very quirky novel but had some great things to say about repressing ones real natures. Give it a go!

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