Friday, February 17, 2012

Friday Freebie: Norumbega Park by Anthony Giardina

Congratulations to Lauren Bufferd, winner of last week's Friday Freebie "threebie."  Lauren will soon be enjoying her own copies of The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt, Obedience by Jacqueline Yallop, and The Detour by Andromeda Romano-Law.  By the way, in answer to last week's question, Lauren said her favorite historical novel is Sacred Hunger by Barry Unsworth.

This week's book giveaway is Norumbega Park by Anthony Giardina, a novel I've previously spotlighted in the Front Porch Books feature here at the blog.  The publisher's jacket copy describes the book thusly:
Richie Palumbo, the most prosaic of men, gets lost one night in 1969 while driving home with his family. He finds himself in the town of Norumbega—hidden, remote, and gorgeous, at the far edges of Boston’s western suburbs. He sees a venerable old house and, without quite knowing why, decides he must have it. The repercussions of Richie’s wild dream to own a house in this town lead to a forty-year odyssey for his family. For his son, Jack, Norumbega becomes a sexual playground—until he meets one ungraspable girl and begins a lifelong pursuit of her. Joannie, Richie’s daughter, finds that the challenges of living in Norumbega encourage her to pursue the contemplative life. For Stella, Richie’s wife, life in Norumbega leads to surprising growth as both a sexual and a spiritual being.
At NPR, Michael Schaub had these high words of praise for Giardina's novel (thus sealing the deal for me with the mere mention of the names Updike, Ford and Yates):
Norumbega Park, the beautiful, audacious fifth novel from author and playwright Anthony Giardina, follows the lives of Richie [Palumbo] and his family for 40 years....Giardina is a master of prose that’s engaging but never seems rushed—he covers four decades in just over 300 pages. But his pacing remains natural and unhurried. His characters are as emotionally rich and complex as any you’ll find in the novels of Richard Ford, John Updike and Richard Yates.....Like Updike, [Giardina] deals with some uncomfortable themes—much of Norumbega Park deals with the delicate, sometimes awkward intersection of family and sexuality—but he handles them beautifully. And while many authors reflexively lapse into despair and pessimism, Giardina sticks with a truer kind of realism. Things might be bad; they might even be worse than they seem; but there’s always at least a chance of redemption.....There are countless emotional pitfalls authors can fall into, but Giardina has avoided every one, and the result is majestic—Norumbega Park is one of the bravest, most memorable American novels in years.

If you'd like a chance at winning a copy of Norumbega Park, all you have to do is answer this question:

According to this Paris Review interview, which author has had the most influence on Giardina?

Email your answer to

Put FRIDAY FREEBIE in the e-mail subject line.  One entry per person, please.  Please e-mail me the answer, rather than posting it in the comments section.  Despite its name, the Friday Freebie runs all week long and remains open to entries until midnight on Feb. 23--at which time I'll draw the winning name.  I'll announce the lucky reader on Feb. 24.  If you'd like to join the mailing list for the once-a-week Quivering Pen newsletter, simply add the words "Sign me up for the newsletter" in the body of your email.  Your email address and other personal information will never be sold or given to a third party (except in those instances where the publisher requires a mailing address for sending Friday Freebie winners copies of the book).

Want to double your odds of winning?  Get an extra entry in the contest by posting a link to this webpage on your Facebook wall or by tweeting it on Twitter.  Once you've done either or both of those, send me an additional e-mail saying "I've shared" and I'll put your name in the hat twice.

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