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Mrs. Kimble (P.S.) by Jennifer Haigh
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Mrs. Kimble (P.S.) (original 2003; edition 2005)

by Jennifer Haigh

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951None9,159 (3.52)45
Member:Goldberrygal
Title:Mrs. Kimble (P.S.)
Authors:Jennifer Haigh
Info:Harper Perennial (2005), Edition: First Edition (first pb), Paperback, 416 pages
Collections:Your library
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Mrs. Kimble by Jennifer Haigh (2003)

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Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
This is absoloutly one of my favorite books of all time and yes it was well worth the read ...I loved , loved , loved this book and yes a definately 5 star book . I did not want it to end .
  phonelady61 | Jan 22, 2014 |
Another 5 star read for Jennifer Haigh. I can't explain it. I have read three of her books and each although totally different, has been a five star read. I guess I enjoy her writing. A guy who seems to be a chameleon marries three very different women. He woos them and then loses interest. Each woman seems to have a flaw that makes them drawn to his charms. ( )
  dara85 | Dec 5, 2013 |
Easy and great read.
  niquetteb | Nov 22, 2013 |
These were the stories of the three successive Mrs Kimbles, married to the one inscrutable Mr Kimble.
Somehow Ken Kimble was able to charm and seduce and marry these women, but the marriages quickly revealed there was nothing beneath his thin veneer. Really nothing. The wives learned they never knew their husband, and we the readers will never know him either. We are just as mystified as they are as to who this man is, where he came from, and why he was like he was. It was a nice maneuver that enhanced our appreciation of the imbalance.
This is the first book I've read by Jennifer Haigh. I like her writing style. It flows smoothly and easily, without clumsy intrusions. This was her first novel yet it was amazingly polished and well crafted, a deserving winner of the PEN/Hemingway award for debut fiction. I will look for another of hers. ( )
  BCbookjunky | Oct 12, 2013 |
Jennifer Haigh's debut novel features the three distinctive stories of women who are wooed by and marry the same man. We meet Ken's first wife, Birdie, just as he has abandoned her for a love affair with a student at the college where he is a dean. Birdie herself fell for the Reverend Kimble when she sang in the choir he directed at her bible college, and was pregnant before he married her. When he leaves, all she can think to do is drink, and her children go hungry as she crumbles under the crushing weight of a life lived alone.

Next, Ken marries Joan, a woman who would have been Birdie's polar opposite when she was in her prime, making a living as a journalist, the only woman reporter in her bureau at the Times, unencumbered by society's ideas of a stereotypical female, uninterested in keeping house and having babies, that is, until breast cancer makes an appearance in her life. The cancer spares her life but robs her of more than one breast. When Ken shows up in her life, she's desperate for companionship and to have the children and the life that she never wanted, but as they marry and Ken begins to excel in his real estate career, things don't turn out anything like she was expecting.

Finally, there is Dinah. Dinah babysat for Ken and Birdie's kids when she was a girl and chances to meet Ken again years later in Washington, DC, where she works as a chef, when he hits her with his car. Having suffered a broken ankle that keeps her from working and makes living in her dangerous neighborhood even more dangerous, and with the promise of the possibility of surgery to erase an ugly birthmark that has marred not just her face, but her whole life, Dinah feels she has no choice but to accept the help Ken has to offer. One thing leads to another until Dinah becomes elderly Ken's final bride.

Mr. Kimble is, by all accounts, a selfish jerk, a pervy guy with a taste for younger women who should be forbidden territory. He is that guy that charms a bit at first but soon reveals himself to be a liar, a cheat, and worse. Readers will hate Ken Kimble, and they should, because it's in their eagerness to be seduced by and married to Ken Kimble, that his wives' characters are most revealed.

In the three wives, Haigh has created three memorable characters whose frailties are revealed and badly exploited by the husband they choose. Each character is both irritating and sympathetic as Haigh draws out their respective pasts and their relationships with Kimble. A vulnerability is displayed in each of the three characters that every woman should find as relatable as it is frustrating. If you're anything like me, you'll find the voice in your head crying out at these women not to get involved with this guy, just like it cries out at those boneheads in horror movies who hear that sketchy noise and venture to the basement to investigate while the power is out on a dark stormy night only to be brutally murdered. The women in Haigh's book aren't about to be murdered, but their respective marriages to Kimble are certainly poisonous.

Mrs. Kimble has something profound to say about women and perhaps even about feminism. It makes it altogether apparent that there is a line to be walked between being a woman who chooses to be a housewife who lets her husband stand between her and the world and being the woman who puts aside home and family to chase after a career that may or my not fulfill her. Haigh seems to be drawing out the possibility that erring too much in either direction can leave a woman dangerously vulnerable.

Mrs. Kimble is an interesting read, but not a quick one. The stories of Mr. Kimble's three wives bear a lot of contemplation. I would hardily recommend Mrs. Kimble as a great book group read and wish that I had read it in a book group. The books is good and stands up on its own, but the possibility it opens up for conversations about women's lives in the past and in the future is much more tantalizing. ( )
  yourotherleft | Sep 7, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
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Dedication
The author wishes to thank Claire Wachtel, Michael Morrison, Juliette Shapland, and Dorian Karchmar at Lowenstein Associates for the extraordinary support of this book. James Michener and the Copernicus Society of America, for their generous financial assistance; and Dan Pope, for everything else.
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The man died alone, in a baby blue Eldorado on Route A1A, waiting for the drawbridge to be lowered.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060858788, Paperback)

Sometimes a book can be utterly full of holes and you still can't put it down. In Mrs. Kimble, first-time novelist Jennifer Haigh follows the marital career of Ken Kimble, opportunist, serial husband, and all around schmuck. The first section, set in Virginia in the 1960s, revolves around alcoholic first wife Birdie. As we enter the story, Kimble has already left her alone with two small children she is ill equipped to raise on her own. Kimble's absence in this section sets the tone for the book, which is not so much about Kimble himself as it is about the women he dupes over the years. Next up is Joan, a Newsweek reporter recovering from a mastectomy at her late father's home in Florida. A wealthy, confident woman left unsteady by breast cancer, she falls for Kimble, who now turns up in a hippie-ish incarnation. In the final section, Kimble weds Dinah, who had been his children's babysitter back in Virginia. Their marriage unravels as, at the end of the book, Kimble's secrets are revealed one by one. Unfortunately, the central secret of the book is never laid bare: how did the man get to be such a jerk? Other problems are never dealt with, either: we never believe a whip-smart woman like Joan could be so transparently snow-jobbed. We never understand why Dinah stays with an aging crook. Nevertheless, Mrs. Kimble is still engrossing. Haigh is so gifted at creating vivid scenes and strong characters, we find ourselves surrendering our disbelief despite our better judgment. This isn't the terrific book it might have been, but it's still a superior read. --Claire Dederer

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:29:30 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Follows twenty-five years in the life of a charismatic opportunist as seen through the eyes of his three wives.

(summary from another edition)

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