The Lunatic Parlor
Paperback, 235 Pages
Ships in 3-5 business days.
Anabel Valentine returns home from college with a suitcase full of self-help books to face the impending death of her mother, a mysterious Eastern European WW II refugee, from alcoholism. When Anabel realizes that she can't save her mother, she sees that she must somehow save herself. To do this, she must uncover the dark secrets of the past that her mother has kept carefully hidden. At once hilarious and sad, Adrienne Cunninghame-Blank's debut novel is a true literary page turner.
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9 People Reviewed This Product
Apr 19, 2015This story literally blew me away and I wasn't at all prepared. I was entranced from beginning to end - by the colorful and lovable characters (all of them in their own way) to the back-drops and separate but connected stories all weaving together in Anabel's world. The true gift of this book was the extreme vulnerability that the author portrays in Anabel and really everyone - her father, mother, sister, friends, lovers, abusers, family friends, parents of friends, therapists and bystanders … even the gardener! I loved the self-help quotes at the beginning of each chapter and the humor weaved throughout many very painful situations. Nothing is held back and I laughed as well as cried. I do hope there is a Anabel, part 2! I would love to read it.
Jan 28, 2014Adrienne has written a novel that has simply blown me away. It took me about 45-50 pages to finally understand the deep pain Anabel was feeling from the rejection she felt from Singrid. In a way, I think we can all relate, to a certain degree, to Anabel's thoughts she has about her parents, I know I certainly can. Anabel's journey through a very fragile period in her life is awe inspiring, surprising and as unpredictable as her alcoholic mother. This book is true work of art. As someone who is lucky enough to call the author a friend, mentor, and inspiration, I knew every word was chosen meticulously and with immense care, and it made me love it that much more. This book will travel with me and will forever have a place on my bookshelf.
May 21, 2013Some novels simply entertain us, others offer us a glimpse into worlds unknown, but it is the rare book that affects our soul, leaving us a bit wiser. Cunninghame-Blank’s novel takes the reader on a journey of self-exploration through the eyes of the brilliant and troubled Anabel Valentine. Indeed, this story is a valentine for anyone who has endured a dysfunctional childhood and searches for understanding and, ultimately, peace. The characters are creative, incredibly funny, and intelligent. The narrator, Anabel is struggling to find her identity and accept her eccentric and damaged parents. Her parents are alcoholics, and they prefer to spend most of their time entertaining friends in their unique home. She is embarrassed and saddened by their drunken behavior – her father dons a pith helmet to serve drinks, and her mother is too intoxicated to join her own birthday party. Her Scottish, bagpipe-playing father makes others laugh easily, while her mother is so secretive that Anabel... More > doesn’t even know what country she was born in. Her sister, Dee, spends most of her time in denial. The house, like its inhabitants, is listing and seems dangerously close to collapse. However, the characters are not sad people who dwell in self-pity. The Lunatic Parlor belongs on your bookshelf, beside your other favorite novels. It is a beautifully written novel that will make you laugh and cry, sometimes simultaneously. When you finish the last page, you will feel like your favorite neighbors have moved away – secretly during the night. The only way to lessen your sorrow is to begin again, at chapter one.< Less
Oct 4, 2010Adrienne has created a touching novel, stinging with honesty and heart-breaking us with drama. It´s captivating, sensitive, exciting, extraordinay... I regretted when it came to the end. I caressed the book when I finished reading it – the way I usually do when I finish reading a great Classic. This is the story of Anabel´s turbulent life with her alcoholic parents, her mysterious, sweet and distant mother, filled with secrets from the past and her adorable, eccentric and troubled father and the dark, sad past of the extraordinary Valentine family into which Anabel and her sister Dee were born. This book made me laugh, cry and think. Forgiveness and redemption might be possible after all…
Sep 11, 2010Just finished Adrienne Cunningham Blanks novel THE LUNATIC PARLOR. I LOVED it!! Well done Adrienne, you are a truly wonderful writer with a true gift for imagery...very original and honest. I was transported back in time. I loved spending time @ your house when we were young because it was always an adventure. I knew i was part of something out of the ordinary...Your family was different ,didn't care what everyone thought and lived life their way ,not accepting the status quo and i was excited by that . I remember your mothers sadness and sometimes it was off putting for a young girl but i also remember her sweetness and her dignity. She was an individual. I know she and you and Deborah suffered from her alcoholism, you were cheated out of the mother she could have been. I think your book is a testament to forgiveness and the freedom that comes with it. Page 209..."From the time i could speak i knew you were leaving..." (brilliant!) Can't read that line without tears welling... More > up in my eyes..."Fear became such a part of me that i mistook joy for the occasional absence of fear"...(so honest, heartbreaking and relatable...i read that line over and over) Thank you for writing this book!!< Less
Sep 11, 2010By Bonnie Auslander This clever, engaging book with its outrageously dysfunctional characters hooked me from the beginning and kept me rivited to the last page. Adrienne knows how to construct a scene with humor, economy and deftness. Enjoy!
Aug 13, 2010I read this book cover to cover in one day; I literally could not put it down. Annabel's exploits are funny, wrenching and utterly engrossing. I highly recommend this book!
Aug 6, 2010Absolutely brilliant!
Jul 21, 2010THE LUNATIC PARLOR by Adrienne Cunninghame Blank is a compelling read portraying the lives of Anabel Valentine and her beloved alcoholic and eccentric parents. Often dark and disturbing but underlined by infectious humour, it is funny and sad and wholly believable. Certainly this book stretches the emotions to new boundaries. I enjoyed reading it. Alice Murray
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- Adrienne Cunninghame-Blank (Standard Copyright License)
- July 6, 2010
- Perfect-bound Paperback
- Interior Ink
- Black & white
- 0.9 lbs.
- Dimensions (inches)
- 6 wide x 9 tall
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