""At first, Oh! seems a satire, a sitcom stripped of its sentiment and foolishness. But it is far more. Mary Robison is trying to show us how the the incredibly complicated dance of family life works."" —The New Yorker
Those who know Mary Robison's work will not be surprised that her first novel leaps from one prodigal moment to the next, for as Kenneth Burke has said of this startling writer, ""Robison outguesses the shrewdest reader—even several times on a single page.""
In Oh!, these marvels have their source in a summer's romp with a madcap Midwestern family flourishing under the eccentric protection of a father like no other. He is the wifeless Mr. Cleveland, now an enthusiast at gardening and insobriety since passing from active service as ruler of his soda–pop and miniature golf domain.
Cleveland's is the contented life of the man who knows who he is. The same might be said for his motherless children, Mo and Howdy, though they are scarcely children still. The loutish, loafing Mo is, in fact, a young single mother to little Violet.
Like the rest of the Clevelands, Violet is nobody's fool. For in all their seeming misadventures, the Clevelands are guided by the reliable intelligence of the heart. Beneath the pastel frames of their lives, the Clevelands have modeled a design for living with the unlucky nature of things, a way of being happy in the world.
About the Author
Mary Robison was born in Washington, D.C. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, two Pushcart Prizes, an O. Henry Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction, and the 2018 Arts and Letters Award in Literature. She is the author of four novels and four story collections. She lives in Gainesville, Florida.
Praise for Oh!
Recipient of the 2018 Arts and Letters Award in Literature
“Oh! I loved Oh! It's hilarious. Maybe it's brilliant. In any case, it will be one of the best funny books of 1981, and it's serious." —Boston Globe
"At first, Oh! seems a satire, a sitcom stripped of its sentiment and foolishness. But it is far more. Mary Robison is trying to show us how the the incredibly complicated dance of family life works, how it balances love and hate, respect and contempt, humor and self–righteousness, wisdom and foolishness.” —The New Yorker
“The Wonder of the novel is its dialogue—rich, sharp, untiring in its energy and quite unlike anyone else's. . . . They are a resilient bunch, these Clevelands, and by the end of the books we are no longer surprised that they are still together. Once drawn into the stream of their talk, we can no more escape than they can.” —Larry McMurtry, The Washington Star
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