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Description - Peyton Place by Grace Metalious

When Grace Metalious's debut novel about the dark underside of a small, respectable New England town was published in 1956, it quickly soared to the top of the bestseller lists. A landmark in twentieth-century American popular culture, Peyton Place spawned a successful feature film and a long-running television series the first prime-time soap opera. Contemporary readers of Peyton Place will be captivated by its vivid characters, earthy prose, and shocking incidents. Through her riveting, uninhibited narrative, Metalious skillfully exposes the intricate social anatomy of a small community, examining the lives of its people their passions and vices, their ambitions and defeats, their passivity or violence, their secret hopes and kindnesses, their cohesiveness and rigidity, their struggles, and often their courage. This new paperback edition of Peyton Place features an insightful introduction by Ardis Cameron that thoroughly examines the novel's treatment of class, gender, race, ethnicity, and power, and considers the book's influential place in American and New England literary history."

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781555534004
ISBN-10: 1555534007
Format: Paperback
(216mm x 140mm x 32mm)
Pages: 384
Imprint: Northeastern University Press
Publisher: University Press of New England
Publish Date: 4-Mar-1999
Country of Publication: United States

Book Reviews - Peyton Place by Grace Metalious

UK Kirkus Review » First published in 1956, Grace Metalious's story of scandal and prejudice in small-town New England was greeted at the time of its publication with gasping moral outrage, and recordbreaking sales. It's much less shocking now, but it's still easy to see why it caused such a reaction - illegitimate pregnancies, abortion, sexually aggressive women, incest and drunkenness were not exactly staples of the post-war novel. However, Peyton Place is far from being just a lurid tale of moral infamy. Metalious's sharp pen draws a harsh but believable picture of the town, gradually highlighting the dark areas behind the respectable surface. Women's sexuality and male reactions to it are at the heart of many family dysfunctions. Allison MacKenzie is beginning to discover her sexuality, while her repressed mother is terrified that her long-ago adulterous affair will come to light. On the other side of the tracks Selena Cross is being brutally abused by her stepfather, until she finally decides to take the law into her own hands. But it's not all misery - Metalious has an eye for the lighter side of community life as well, and the scene in which the town drunks are hauled out of the cellar where they've been on a six-week binge brilliantly combines humour and pathos. Altogether, then, this is a novel that is still well worth reading, not only - or even mainly - for the elements that made it famous, but for the author's piercing but always sensitive insights into the tangled personalities and emotions that make up human existence. (Kirkus UK)

US Kirkus Review » Here's an unexpected publication: a new edition, complete with scholarly introduction, of the 1956 succes de scandale that was in its time the single bestselling American novel, inspiring both a nighttime "television novel" (i.e., soap opera) and an only slightly less soapy (1958) feature film. Metalious (1924-64) was a competent writer with some flair whose punchy workmanlike prose efficiently captured her little inland New England hamlet's earthy (if somewhat unbelievably sexually functional) populace. The characters - among others, Allison MacKenzie, round-heeled Betty Anderson, m.c.p. Rodney Harrington, and longsuffering Selena Cross - retain a perversely appealing, pulpy vitality. But scholar Ardis Cameron's assertion that this likeably trashy novel offers "a valuable corrective to the myth of quiescent domesticity and class consensus," besides gilding the lily indefensibly, confuses its author with Sinclair Lewis, not to mention Gustave Flaubert. Peyton Place is, on its own terms, both a perfectly decent popular novel and an honest one. But it never was an important one, and no amount of retroactive puffery can make it so. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - Grace Metalious

GRACE METALIOUS (1924 1964) was the author of Peyton Place, Return to Peyton Place, The Tight White Collar (1960), and No Adam in Eden (1963). She was a resident of Gilmanton, New Hampshire."

Books By Grace Metalious

Return to Peyton Place by Grace Metalious
Paperback, March 2007