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Still Life with Bread Crumbs: A Novel by…
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Still Life with Bread Crumbs: A Novel

by Anna Quindlen (Author)

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Favorite quote: “One day she had been out walking and she had wondered whether she had become a different person in the last year,.... Then when she really thought about is she realized she'd been becoming different people for as long as she could remember but had never really noticed, or had put it down to moods, or marriage, or motherhood. The problem was that she'd thought that at a certain point she would be a finished product. Now she wasn't sure what that might be, especially when she considered how sure she had been about it at various times in the past, and how wrong she'd been.”
― Anna Quindlen, Still Life with Bread Crumbs ( )
  FAR2MANYBOOKS | Mar 25, 2016 |
Rebecca Winter is 60 and is down on her luck. Once a famous photographer, best known for her iconic Still Life With Breadcrumbs, the work and the money has now dried up. She finds herself living alone in a cottage in the middle of nowhere while she rents out her New York apartment, desperate to save money.

still lifeWe hear the story from Rebecca’s point of view, and feel her loneliness and unhappiness as she reluctantly adjusts to her new life. She struggles to get to grips with life in the sticks, but is helped by the characters she meets, including roofer Jim and cafe-owning chatterbox Sarah. We hear more about Rebecca’s past with a philandering husband and a son, Ben, whom she loves very much but is now making a life of his own.

The style of this book reminded me very much of Anne Tyler – it is all about the characters while the story itself is quite gentle and slow. Unfortunately though, I found the action in this novel a little to slow – it almost grinds to a halt at times and you just become desperate for something – anything! – to happen. Despite this, the story is enjoyable and memorable, and I found the relationship between an older woman and a younger man refreshing, and I liked the contrast between the city and the small town. It just feels a bit sluggish at times.

I would definitely read more of Quindlen’s books and overall I enjoyed this one. It was quick and easy to read, but could perhaps have been shorter to stop it getting boring at times. ( )
  AHouseOfBooks | Jan 27, 2016 |
I may give it a few days to see if it moves to 5*. A beautiful book. The language just enveloped me and made me love the story that much more. I could not put it down. Read in one day. ( )
  ellenuw | Jan 27, 2016 |
3.5 stars ( )
  Gingermama | Jan 24, 2016 |
Finally, a "woman of a certain age" as the heroine. Rebecca is 60 years old, very flawed, and coming to the end of life as she has known it. While she does pick herself up by the bootstraps, she doesn't do so in a manufactured-confident way. She questions her decisions at every turn, moving forward as a real woman would, one step at a time.

Throughout the story, we see Rebecca grow into herself. She finds a strength in body and mind that she didn't know she had, and taps into that to finally morph into what her persona always exuded.

The story itself is a nice romantic comedy, but that takes a back seat to the characters in this one. From a star-struck café owner to a blue collar worker-cum-suitor to a clown who uses Rebecca as inspiration to reach for his own dreams, this book is full of real characters with whom you want to spend time.

And the photographs. The descriptions of the photographs are so lush and graphic that I felt as if I could actually see them. Simple in their presentation, but expertly drawn, the black and white offspring of Rebecca's talented eye were full and robust to me.

The only drawback to this book, and the reason for not receiving a full "5", is a bit of jaggedness in the writing. It does not follow a linear format, which is fine, but the edges between the two are so sudden that it hindered the flow and caused some confusion. Stream-of-consciousness is a fine method, but there needs to be a visual break in the text for the reader to be able to make the transition. In this book, I had to stop several times, reread and figure out where the breaks were. While it didn't impact the story, it did impact the reading experience.

However, that was very minor compared to the exquisite story and characters in this book. Highly recommended. ( )
  CarmenMilligan | Jan 18, 2016 |
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Epigraph
And did you get what you wanted from this life, even so?  I did.  And what did you want?  To call myself beloved, to feel myself beloved on the earth. — Raymond Carver
Dedication
For all the teachers who helped make my work possible — and for my favorite teacher, Theresa Quindlen.
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A few minutes after two in the morning Rebecca Winter woke to the sound of a gunshot and sat up in bed.
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Book description
Still Life with Bread Crumbs begins with an imagined gunshot and ends with a new tin roof. Between the two is a wry and knowing portrait of Rebecca Winter, a photographer whose work made her an unlikely heroine for many women. Her career is now descendent, her bank balance shaky, and she has fled the city for the middle of nowhere. There she discovers, in a tree stand with a roofer named Jim Bates, what she sees through a camera lens is not all there is to life.
Brilliantly written, powerfully observed, Still Life with Bread Crumbs is a deeply moving and often very funny story of unexpected love, and the stunningly crafted journey into the life of a woman, her heart, her mind, and her days, as she discovers that life is a story with many levels, a story that is longer and more exciting than she ever imagined.
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Moving to a small country cabin, a once world-famous photographer bonds with a local man and begins to see the world around her in new, deeper dimensions while evaluating second chances at love, career, and self-understanding.

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