(BOOK Å A Summons to Memphis) Author Peter Taylor – healthymealss.us


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An Officer and a Spy eE thirty years prior to the setting of the book The move was to get far distant from a close friend and business partner after a betrayal Of course thentire family considered the move a betrayal by their father as the children were in their teens and their mother was part of an old Nashville family and had never lived anywhere lse To say this was a great upheaval is understating the fact because apparently this move caused a happy well to do well adjusted family to become completely dysfunctionalThe story is narrated by Phillip the youngest child of 4 siblings He was 13 at the time of the move in 1931 Georgie was his 14 year old brother and Josephine and Betsy are 19 and 20 Only the two sisters and Phillip still remain Georgie having joined the army and gotten himself killed to scape the family situation Both sisters and Phillip had been in love and wanted to marry but the domineering father through acts of betrayal and outright refusals to allow the relationships had put an Recipe for Temptation (Madewood Brothers, end to it To say that revenge wasxtracted by the three of them is putting it mildly but the telling of the tale including the family history and Phillip s life in NY is a work of artThere s not a wasted word or phrase the settings are meticulously described and the story the reader gets between the lines is ven astounding than the words on the pageI think Peter Taylor was also using this family to draw a metaphor between the Old South and the New South and that may be why this book won the 1987 Pulitzer Prize In any case it was a wonderful 2nd1st read for me Memphis BeauDo we ver get over the pain and betrayals or what we remember as the pain and betrayals from childhood That s one of the themes in this uiet nuanced and beguiling novel by Peter Taylor who s best known for his short stories about genteel upper class Southerners Middle aged OBaby editor and book collector Phillip Carver has fled the languid gossipy world of Tennessee and has lived in bustling Manhattan for decades When he gets consecutive phone calls from his two older sisters none of the three children hasver married about their widowed father who s about to wed a much younger woman he hops on a plane the next dayAnd so begins this look back at the family s history and in fact the history of a certain segment of Tennessee society an old fashioned world of debutante balls speakeasies mint juleps and yes I m afraid kindly black servants African Americans play a prominent role in many of Taylor s stories here they are in the background moving around furniture chauffeuring Nerds etc The Carver children s lives were irrevocably changed 30 yearsarlier when their attorney father betrayed by an untrustworthy business partner uprooted them and moved from Nashville to Memphis One sister had to give up an Zack (Areion Fury MC engagement Philip was forever torn from an adolescent love and the children s mother dead a couple of years before the book begins had to leave behind all that was familiar and start anewThe story unfolds leisurely Taylor s prose theuivalent of a man dressed in a seersucker suit and bowtie gently rocking on his chair on a porch pausing to sip from a cool drink before he moves on This book is all about atmosphere The people wear Little resentments that go unaddressed for a lifetimeI think this short novel which won the Pulitzer Prize go for a lifetimeI think this short novel which won the Pulitzer Prize Fiction in 1986 is best read in a day or two I put it down for a couple of weeks and when I picked it up again had to reorient myself Names and details had faded from memory like morning mist vaporating when the sun comes outIt s a book that really needs to be read after one s lived a certain number of years Anyone with older parents will relate to its complexities Consider a passage like this Forgetting the injustices and seeming injustices which one suffered from one s parents during childhood and youth must be the major part of any maturing process I kept repeating this to myself as though it were a lesson I would at some future time be accountable for A certain oblivion was what we must undergo in order to become adults and live peacefully with ourselvesHow wise and true Taylor s prose apart from a few repetitions the word Presently is overused can be miraculous There s a scene when the narrator arrives at an airport and his father is waiting for him not indoors but out on the tarmac that is so startling yet beautiful it took me aback I m not sure I ll forget that image and the bittersweet resolution to the scene for a long timeThe book overall I don t think I ll remember the plot s meagre details but the wistful legiac mood will stay with me I need to go back to Taylor s stories His books are hard to find but they re worth seeking out in libraries or appropriate in this case second hand bookstores A brief leisurely novel written by a master of the short story A Summons to Memphis is an ContamiNation excellentxample of what Henry James referred to as the beautiful and blessed nouvelle The narrator Phillip a New York City book Taxi ins Glück editor is the son of imposing Memphis lawyer George Carver Phillip returns home when the family is disrupted by his octogenarian father s desire to remarry and his older sisters determination to thwart him Phillip meanwhile is still obsessed with the belief that his father s decision to move the family from Nashville to Memphis forty yearsarlier blighted all of their livesI think the key to appreciating the subtlety of this novel is to realize that ven though the narrator considers himself to be superior to his provincial family he is narrow selfish and capable of considers himself to be superior to his provincial family he is narrow selfish and capable of a limited range of motions Although he achieves some growth by the Losing My Virginity and Other Dumb Ideas end of the book he is still a cold cautious person trapped in the past and destined to remain so Taylor artfully reveals his narrator s limitations as the novel progresses particularly in the way the narrative voice obsessively circles around the fewvents in the story refining The Magic Rolling Pin embellishing and distancing us and himself from themotional truth of his tal. Ng patriarch and flood of memories from his troubled pastPeter Taylor is one of the masters of Southern literature whose work stands in the company of Eudora Welty James Agee and Walker Percy In A Summons to Memphis he has composed a richly vocative story of revenge resolution and redemption and given us a classic work of American literature. .


1986 must have been a singularly awful year for literature because the book that won the Pulitzer that year would have struggled during the years when Taylor most of whose work was released during the forties was in his salad daysThis is not to say A Summons to Memphis Taylor s first novel in forty years is a bad book It s a decent book a nice book And that s xactly why it Philip Carter is approaching the age of fifty Within an hour he gets calls from his two older sisters He is told he must get himself to Memphis the very next day Their Not Without a Fight eighty one year old widowed father intends on marrying They need his help to stop this So unfolds the storyPhilip is an antiue book collector residing in New York City with his girlfriend Holly From the plethora of details given I calculate this happens in 1967 Philip is himself telling us of what happened recounting also pastvents the family s move from Nashville to Memphis in 1931 when he was thirteen his first and later attractions to different girls and his assignments during the Second World War The story revolves around family relationships When their father is betrayed by a close business associate and friend Garden Bouquets and Beyond everything absolutelyverything in the family is alteredI repeat the book is about family relationships It is about the strength and importance of these relationships It is also about what is involved in the process of becoming mature the process of freeing one s self from a parent s all The Unseen Wonder encompassing controlling grip How should we how do we ultimately attain independence This being a situation we must all sooner or later deal with the central theme of the book is something most of us will relate too Nevertheless the book gave me problems I willxplain whyFirst of all we are being t o l d by Philip what happened in his family The reader does not live the The Management Bible events firsthandSecondly the story begins bymphasizing the differences between Memphis and Nashville society I was intrigued my interest was piued I knew nothing about such regional distinctions between these two Southern communities The theme putters out loses steam no real conclusion can be drawnThirdly I simply could not relate to the choices made by the book s characters I could understand their Zu schnell emotions but what they do gives me trouble Lousy things do happen You gripe you complain you let off some steam but then you pick yourself up and go on The author fails to create a believable scenario ofvents Philip s older brother makes a choice but it is only briefly skimmed over not covered with depth The behavior of Philip s two sisters is beyond my comprehension I do not find it believable that view spoilerthe two sisters give up their independence and freedom to install themselves as their father s jailers hide spoiler I hoped that A Summons to Memphis would be better than I felt it was after I read it I could never grow attached to the protagonist Phillip or his father or the two sisters The first half of the book was frankly boring rich people s problems Towards the Sleepless (Bird of Stone, end it got a little interesting but not that interesting I have not readither of the runner ups for the 1987 Pulitzer Paradise by Donald Barthleme or Whites by Norman Rush so I wonder if this was just sort of an off year between 1986 Lonesome Dove and 1988 BelovedThe book is about the longterm affects on the Carver family of their move from Nashville to Memphis due to a business failure and the perceived nefariousness of the business partner of the family patriarch George This happens when the protagonist Philip is a teenager and when his two older sisters are in the middle of their debutante debuts The mother starts out as a socialite with a debutante debuts The mother starts out as a socialite with a sense of humor She said once before a roomful of people that any gin drink made her see double and feel single p 35 However following the move to Memphis many unalterable changes happen to the family despite George s uncanny ability to rebuild and double down on his legacy as a lawyer and adapt to Memphis life the two sisters become spinsters frozen forever in their roles as inured adolescents p 146 and have their own real state business Philip leaves definitively for New York and Mother Minta slips into a crippling depression and dies The core of the story is about Philip coming to grips with the causes and ffects of this and with the attempt by the sisters to venge themselves on their father who is driven by his yearning for otherness He aspired to an individuality that could not be accounted for by the components of his own character and his own identity He aspired to otherness than what he was by accident of birth in any sense of the phrase At some point in his maturing into manhood this yearning and this longing and this aspiring became a craving p 162Another motif that Peter Taylor addresses in the book is the difference between the old school aristocratic society that they left in Nashville and the by the bootstraps DIY they adapt to in Memphis Never having spent time in Tennessee the subtleties were a lost on me in Tennessee the subtleties were a bit lost on me it did give me the impression that the long and thing geography of Tennessee with its mountains and farming land would indeed create conditions for varied perceptions of life on one nd or the other of the long state Philip discusses his issues with his father with his girlfriend Holly back in New York who herself is struggling with family issues as well and concludes that it seemed admirable that Father had had the courage and stamina to begin life over in arly middle age But as a father it came too late as a father that is of three children like Betsy Josephine and myself p 180 In fact Holly and Philip debate whether it is better to forgive and forget or to cling to the memories No conclusion is really drawn because it was as if we were two Jews in the Temple debating some obtuse uestion of morality or perhaps two Christian Puritans two Baptists or Methodists in the backwoods of Tennessee p 181It turns out for Philip that. One of the most celebrated novels of its time the Pulitzer Prize winner A Summons to Memphis introduces the Carver family natives of Nashville residents with the Invisible (The Curse of Avalon exception of Phillip of Memphis TennesseeDuring the twilight of a Sunday afternoon in March New York bookditor Phillip Carver receives an urgent phone call from Yummy Supper each of his older The best way to communicate with his Father is via the phone in hashing through memories once the bugaboo of Lewis Shackleford had been moved out of the way Philip achieves a sort of inner peace and is able to dealasily with Father s passing I was left feeling a bit mpty after finishing this short but unimpressive novel The writing was OK specially how the narrative was structured but the characters and the situations just didn t talk to me I don t know if I have the courage to attempt reading something lse by this author or not Winner of the 1987 Pulitzer PrizeA wonderful read and now I ve got another one for my 6 star shelf There are few classic novels that I know of that are written about aging parents and in this case the narrator Philip is not nad of his aging father ither There is well placed irony and some doses of wry humor within the pages This story takes place in the 1970 s but there are numerous scenes of reflection going all the way back to the 1930 s Philip Carver by way of his birth in Nashville and an unpopular family move to Memphis in his teenage years is now a New York City book dealer His lderly widowed father once a respected attorney and meddling sisters still live in Memphis Philip has some deep resentment toward his father who prevented his marriage to a girl he loved in Chattanooga The sisters have called Philip in a panic because father wants to remarry and although unspoken the implication is that they could all lose their inheritance As the story progresses he begins to understand just how meddlesome they are and he is not sure who he is most upset with 5 stars Highly recommended The writing seems to move along ffortlessly Better known for his short stories Peter Taylor pulled out all the stops with A Summons to Memphis winning the National Book Critics Award in 1986 and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1987 Taylor born in 1917 to a wealthy Nashville family obviously wrote what he knewGeorge Carver is a well known Nashville Lawyer However his origins are of a humble nature Carver s roots were in Thorne County outside Memphis a member of the planter class whose wealth was based on slavery cotton and agricultureAs the story unfolds it is the ra of the Great Depression Carver is the husband of a Virginia debutante who fits well into Nashville Society His two daughters have both come out in successi Peter Taylor s Pulitzer Prize winning A Summons to Memphis is an xtraordinary piece of literary fictionThe narrator is Phillip Carver a 49 year old man living in New York City working as an ditor and rare books dealer in the mid 1960s The drama begins when Phillip receives separate telephone calls from his sisters Betsy and Josephine complaining that their 81 I read Pulitzer winning A Summon to Memphis by Peter Taylor as part of my classic bingo card I found the concept of this novel a middle aged son returning home to prevent his widower father from remarrying to be thought provoking Taylor details the differences of life between Nashville and Memphis Tennessee creating a premise in which a family s move from one city to the other causes a family to crumble Phillip Carver is thirteen years old when his father meets financial ruin and moves his family from Nashville to Memphis Phillip and his older siblings Betsy Josephine and George consider themselves proud Nashville citizens and find the move traumatic Betsy was practically ngaged to be married but upon moving has the marriage called off at the hands of their father She never falls in love again and along with Josephine is resigned to living life as a spinster a throwback to simpler times Forty years later the often sickly Mrs Carver has finally succumbed to her myriad of real and imagined illnesses Eighty one year old George Carver is considered the most sought after bachelor in Memphis and falls into the clutches OF A WOMAN YOUNG ENOUGH TO a woman young nough to his daughter Appalled that this newcomer might inherit their heirlooms Betsy and Josephine beg Phillip to return home Such unravels a plot in which Phillip as the narrator alternates between present times and flashbacks detailing how his father in a never Bunnys Book Club Goes to School ending uest to constantly assert authority demands to controlvery picayune detail of his children s life Peter Taylor is a new author for me He was well regarded in southern writing
#circles having won #
having won PenFaulkner Award for his work prior to the Pulitzer The idea that a rivalry between two cities and their distinct way of life could affect the history of a family is a novel premise Taylor mploys detailed imagery to highlight the differences between the two cities and creates well developed characters ach affected by the move in uniue ways Thus I found the plot and prose to be intriguing and fast reading for a work of its uality I found A Summons to Memphis to be a throwback to yesteryear when life in the south held a uaint uality absent in the hustle and bustle of northern cities This Pulitzer is as much to represent the southern literature genre as it is to Taylor s work Additionally the idea that grown children can determine how their Cherry Ingram elderly parents live out the final years of their lives is an issue that remains timelyven thirty years after the book s publication A uality southern book where I felt as though I could be reading it on my porch in summer I rate Pulitzer winner A Summons to Memphis 45 shining stars This is really a very strong 45 ratingI read this book many years ago but remember nothing of the strong 45 ratingI read this book many years ago but remember nothing of the at all I only remember that I loved it but obviously not why It may be that it was a completely different book to the much younger Diane In any case here s what I think of it nowThe title is brilliant because of the many different connotations of the word summons Phillip is summoned to Memphis from NY by his sisters when their 81 year old widowed father wants to re marry The family had been summoned to Memphis by that same father when he moved the family there from Nashvill. Nmarried sisters They plead with Phillip to help avert their widower father's impending remarriage to a younger woman Hesitant to get mbroiled in a family drama he reluctantly agrees to go back south only to discover the true motivation behind his sisters' concern While there Phillip is forced to confront his domineering siblings a controlli. ,

A Summons to Memphis