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The Hills at home
Nancy Clark
Adult Fiction CLARK

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From Publishers' Weekly:

That rare bird, a sparkling domestic comedy of manners, has alighted at the Hill home in a small community north of Boston, where various family members gather for shelter and succor during an unsettled period in their lives. Aging spinster Lily Hill, a stoic remnant of old Yankee stock, lives in the imposing but gently deteriorating Victorian house, and good manners prevent her from turning away the importunate visitors who settle into their ancestral manse and proceed to play out a farce of WASP gentility. The first arrival during the summer of 1989 is Lily's hearty brother, Harvey, widowed three times but still available and randy. Then Lily's histrionic, self-involved niece Ginger turns up with her teenaged daughter in tow, having decided to divorce her husband back in Kansas. Ginger's brother, Alden, fired from his Wall Street job, arrives next, with his earth-mother wife, Becky, and four children. Harvey's grandson, an aspiring stand-up comic, brings his girlfriend. Then nonrelatives start to pile up: a graduate student writing a thesis on WASP culture, a disgraced diplomat, a lovesick exchange student and other visitors bring complications and romance, culminating in a raid by the FBI. Debut novelist Clark observes this segment of New England gentry with an unsparing but affectionate eye. The spartan, tasteless meals; the leaking roof and inadequate furnace; the "four inches of warmish bath water, the 40-watt bulbs"; the frugal dispensation of financial resources; and a wedding where everyone "was dressed as if Talbot's had exploded" are brush strokes in a colorful and lively portrait of an eccentric family. Though the plot meanders in the middle section, Clark brings all the details together at the end, when even minor events are shown to have meaning and coalesce in a satisfying denouement. Warm and amusing, this novel has the old-fashioned virtue of good writing paired with a sprightly plot. (Feb. 18) Forecast: Repeat readers are virtually guaranteed, since Clark is writing two sequels about the Hill clan at home and abroad. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

In the summer of 1989, septuagenarian Lily Hill's serenely solitary life in her ramshackle family home in Towne, MA, comes to a screeching halt. A torrent of Hill relatives with a richly diverse menu of dysfunctional quirks pours into her life, and they forget to leave. Her elderly, grumpy brother has been through a number of wives, all now dead. A supremely solipsistic niece, on the run from an unsatisfying marriage, is parented by her precocious teenage daughter. An unemployed nephew brings his four cranky children and visionary wife. Romance runs amok as kin dally with paramours who show up on Lily's doorstep with alarming frequency. And into this teeming laboratory mix of charming oddballs comes Andy, a nonrelative who will be using the Hill clan as the subject of his long-overdue thesis. A masterpiece of small moments reminiscent of Stella Gibbons's gently wacky Cold Comfort Farm, this extraordinary debut deserves to be savored, sentence by sentence. As Lily's family sorts itself out at the end, one is delighted to learn that Clark is already at work on the sequel. A witty, wonderful read; highly recommended. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 10/15/02.]-Beth E. Andersen, Ann Arbor Dist. Lib., MI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Lily Hill
Age: Senior citizen
Kindhearted; dealing with unwelcome relatives for the summer.

Andy Happening
Age: 20s
Sociology student; studying intergenerational dynamics.
Graduate student

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