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Still Life with Bread Crumbs by Anna…
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Still Life with Bread Crumbs

by Anna Quindlen

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4585922,714 (3.87)39

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Enjoyed this novel of a once-famous artist who struggles to make ends meet, moves to a shack in the country, finds a good guy, then reclaims her career. ( )
  pdepena | Jul 25, 2014 |
I really enjoyed Rebecca’s story. At age 60, her life is in transition. She’s moved from the hustle and bustle of city life into a modest cottage on the outskirts of a small town. Rebecca has made a name for herself with her photographic collection called the “Kitchen Counter Series,” but years later, her fame is beginning to pass. She now finds herself in a reversal of fortune with less income and more bills and responsibilities piled on. Unlike what others may think, she hasn’t moved to the country for artistic inspiration but because it is financially necessary. For her the change in setting and circumstances is dramatic, but it also gives Rebecca the opportunity to slow down and really reflect upon her past failures and successes.

Rebecca is a woman who thinks her life has already been defined and she has grown stagnant. Through her journey she learns to break out of the box that she and everyone around her has placed her in. Our lives do not move in a linear direction, where we find one career and stay with it, we find love once, and that’s it. No, life is full of twists and turns, but if we can embrace these unexpected detours and open ourselves up to change, then new, exciting, paths await us.

Quinlan has written a powerful, poignant, beautifully moving love story about transition, loss, adaptation, and change. The story moves slowly but it’s an excellent read! ( )
  Sunmtn | Jul 20, 2014 |
I have been a fan of Anna Quindlen from the time I discovered her New York Times "Life In the 30s" column. Although to this day I have not found a book that has affected me more than One True Thing, Anna Quindlen's recent fiction has not appealed to me. Still Life with Bread Crumbs took me completely by surprise. I just loved it.

Rebecca Winter is a well known photographer who earned her fame from spontaneously photographing dirty stacked plates and glasses after a dinner party in her home when she was in her thirties. Though she sky-rocketed to fame and earned a substantial income, when the novel opens Rebecca is 60 years old and down-on-her-luck. She is divorced from her distant, self-absorbed arrogant, husband. Her bank account has dwindled and she no longer can afford her upscale NYC lifestyle. With a difficult mother in a nursing home suffering from dementia, a father in a separate apartment with home health care, a son scraping by financially, and she responsible for them all, Rebecca decides to sublet her New York apartment for an exorbitant amount and lease for one year a cottage in a secluded area not unlike parts of upstate NY. Though daunting, Rebecca rediscoveres herself, and though isolated, managed to connect to the community and establish true friendships in a far more meaningful way than when she lived in the bustling, populated city.

It is a pleasure to read such a gifted writer. Not only does she paint vivid pictures with her words, but the quality of her prose is impressive. In this novel, her imagery of nature and the force of the elements though life-threatening was at the same time homey and inviting. Though Rebecca is forced find her inner strength by battling the elements and her own demons, there is something incredibly soothing about this book.

I enjoyed the characters and found them completely relatable, with the exception of the age difference between the two main characters. I didn't find that it enhanced the story in any way, and in fact, might have detracted from it, for this reader at least.

That being said, I highly recommend Still Life with Bread Crumbs. It should not be missed. ( )
  2LZ | Jul 8, 2014 |
There is just something about Anna Quindlen. I have always loved her writing. Her non-fiction and Newsweek columns made the magazine worthwhile. Her stories revolve around mainly women issues but ones that have universal appeal. I do resent the term " chick let" because as a male I find the term demeaning and having a tendency to trivialize the material. This story deals with a 60 year old woman photographer who has had fame but is on the downside. The book deals with the reality of life including the money issues she faces. Some readers have trouble with this, but this reality along with her discourse about her ex-husband and her less than wonderful mother are things that we all deal with. Quindlen deals with this along with meeting new people in a small town, dealing with a son(an only child) aging parents(she is an only child) in a real way. She does it with humor and a writing style that is creative and interesting. For me her books allow me to look into the lives of people with a similar background as me and learn something that help me see life from a different perspective. Reading Anna Quindlen is not a bad way to spend a few days. Enjoy this book. ( )
  nivramkoorb | Jul 8, 2014 |
Entertaining, but enjoyed some of her more "intense" books like Black and Blue, One Fine Thing ( )
  susannewcom | Jul 8, 2014 |
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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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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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