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Gorgeous lies
Martha McPhee
Adult Fiction MCPHEE

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From Publishers' Weekly:

An offbeat writing style and poetic metaphors distinguish this crowded tale of a patriarch, his harem of lovers and the litters of offspring they produce, the follow-up to McPhee's well-received novel Bright Angel Time. Gestalt therapist Anton Furey is dying of pancreatic cancer, and the people closest to him gather at the New Jersey family estate, Chardin, and recall the emotional ups and downs of life with a womanizing dreamer and charismatic charmer. His children with ex-wife Agnes insecure Nicholas, gentle Caroline, money-hungry Sofia, barely there Timothy and adopted Finny (son of Anton and an Italian maid) are not fully sketched: some are given vivid cameos, while others fade into the background. The children of Anton's wife Eve from a previous marriage cynical, headstrong Jane, model-perfect Julia and homely Kate are better drawn and as flighty in their loyalty to their stepfather as he is in his choice of lovers. Youngest daughter Alice, the only child of Anton and Eve, is Anton's favorite for her mix of joie de vivre and sweet gravity. Like an anti-Brady Bunch, the members of the sprawling double family fluctuate in their alliances and affections over the 25 years of Eve and Anton's marriage. Their one common trait is their hunger for Anton's attention and approval. As the novel unfolds, Anton's unlikely past is revealed: his Texas childhood, his early stint in a Jesuit seminary and his grand passion for the communal haven of Chardin. His insatiable need for connection particularly with women can be repellant (as when he pursues one of his stepdaughters), but it is his infectious zest for life that drives this invigorating if convoluted novel. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

McPhee returns here to the characters and themes of her much-praised first novel, Bright Angel Time. In 20 years, many things have changed in the lives of the large Furey-Cooper clan. Once the members were widely known as exemplars of a new kind of blended family, living out the utopian visions of patriarch Anton. Now Anton lies virtually helpless, dying slowly with many dreams unrealized and his magnum opus on human sexuality unwritten. The siblings gather at the family farm, linked painfully not only by grief but also by longtime resentments, disappointments, and misunderstandings that fester as Anton's end approaches. Most heavily burdened is youngest daughter Alice, the biological and symbolic link between the Fureys and Coopers, who is obsessed with somehow ending her father's suffering. More somber than the earlier book, but its equal in subtlety and clever writing, this novel chronicles the fate of Sixties and Seventies ideals colliding with the harsher realities of the Nineties. Recommended for most fiction collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/02.] Starr E. Smith, Fairfax Cty. P.L., VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Anton Furey
Terminally ill
Charismatic; womanizer; gestalt therapist.

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