Duchess of Nothing

Duchess of Nothing The author of the critically acclaimed Schooling returns with a darkly comic novel about a mentally unpredictable woman intent on giving a young boy a proper education After leaving her husband and th

  • Title: Duchess of Nothing
  • Author: Heather McGowan
  • ISBN: 9781596910669
  • Page: 399
  • Format: Hardcover
  • The author of the critically acclaimed Schooling returns with a darkly comic novel about a mentally unpredictable woman intent on giving a young boy a proper education.After leaving her husband and their suffocating marriage for a new lover in Rome, the narrator of Heather McGowan s Duchess of Nothing has her freedom, but is still trapped by the routine of life and hauntedThe author of the critically acclaimed Schooling returns with a darkly comic novel about a mentally unpredictable woman intent on giving a young boy a proper education.After leaving her husband and their suffocating marriage for a new lover in Rome, the narrator of Heather McGowan s Duchess of Nothing has her freedom, but is still trapped by the routine of life and haunted by her past Even worse, her lover, Edmund, is just as self absorbed and remote as her former husband Her one source of entertainment is Edmund s seven year old brother, a curious, precocious, and defiant child who becomes her responsibility during her lover s long absences Spending their days together, they wander the city, simultaneously repelled by and drawn to each other as she teaches him important lessons he would otherwise never learn in school, such as marriage is a tomb and being an expert liar is key to getting ahead in the world But when Edmund abandons them altogether, the amusing relationship between the narrator and her charge suddenly becomes a necessity, and she realizes how much she has come to depend on the boy.Clever, wry, and acutely aware of her own precarious grasp on the world around her, the narrator of McGowan s pitch perfect novel speaks with a cutting honesty and a hilarious, twisted logic that keeps us riveted to the page.

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      Published :2020-07-12T23:49:25+00:00

    About “Heather McGowan”

    1. Heather McGowan

      Heather McGowan is an American writer She is the author of the novels Schooling and Duchess of Nothing Schooling was named a Best Book of the Year by Newsweek.McGowan received an MFA from Brown University She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

    162 thoughts on “Duchess of Nothing”

    1. 3.5 stars. This stream-of-consciousness curiosity is both completely original and somehow lacking. Its nameless narrator is abandoned by her lover and left in charge of his 7 year old brother, a job for which she's massively ill-equipped. She then sets out to educate him in a completely idiosyncratic way, ultimately losing him to the boring mainstream of conventional schooling. There's little in the way of plot, and nothing to relieve the narrator's monologue, with no real story and no descripti [...]


    2. Well, Heather was my teacher at Brown, "teacher" - really the grad student in charge of overseeing our creative writing class. She was awesome and I adored her first novel, Schooling. have been on the look-out for a follow-up for years, so I had high expectations. Alas this left me wishing for a bit more. Her main character is hilariously over-the-top and so crazily self-absorbed that I might have strangled her had the point of view been elsewhere. But watching the world through her eyes and her [...]


    3. Heather McGowan’s novel, the Duchess of Nothing, despite its intriguing title, was a disappointment, and once again, as with many current bestsellers, I fail to understand why it’s getting rave reviews. McGowan eschews quote marks so the book is terribly hard to read; paragraphs run on for a full page; thoughts are screwy and fragmented, and the topic (child abandonment) is ugly.Even Rome, a city of endless possibilities for literary exposition, gets short shrift–Duchess might as well have [...]


    4. I have secretly longed for a chance to use the word "maudlin" in a sentence, and this is it. Perhaps I should have taken warning from the title. The main character, through whom the entire book is written, is at times narcissistic and overly dramatic; at times nearly endearing and insightful. I certainly saw not a little of myself in her. I almost put the book down after a few pages, but thought it would turn around and be cathartic at the end. Not so. In fact, I was left with the impression tha [...]


    5. This book is made by the prose and way in which it is uniquely told. Few characters are named, the dialogue and story rambles together and the reader is quickly dragged along much like the boy. The story itself is not so unique.The narrator is completely unlikeable. She is seriously lacking which she knows, the reason for her selfishness, affectation and perceived martyrdom. I keep waiting for her to get better and change and learn a lesson like the ones she talks about and attempts to teach. Ev [...]


    6. While I didn't finish this book, I had the nerve to rate it based on the clarity of the voice and the subversive wit. However, with other competing demands on my reading time, I had to put this aside. At another time, I might have loved it more. But at this point in my life, the combination of elliptical narrative, unreliable narrator and dire shortage of paragraph breaks, proved discouraging. At times I was so hoping for a paragraph break.


    7. Blijkbaar heeft de auteur allerlei lof gekregen over haar stilistische perfectie. Dat kan, maar voor mij zijn 3 hoofdstukken op meer dan 200 pagina's, amper alinea's (oftewel: lange blokken tekst die soms meerdere pagina's beslaan) en de afwezigheid van aanhalingstekens in dialogen toch wat taai om doorheen te komen. Verder wel een interessant boek, maar dit stijlaspect draagt voor mij weinig bij.


    8. It is difficult for me to describe this book. I wasn't happy with the ending, although it got me thinking further about what will happen next. I don't know if that's a good enough reason to like the book. The writing style reminded me of an English class lesson of just writing everything that comes into your head. McGowan could have even skipped out on the punctuation if she desired, since the rambling thoughts made you forget it was even there.


    9. I enjoyed the main character, but the book wasn't something I would typically read for enjoyment. it was different than any book I had read before, but not necessarily a good different, if you know what I mean.


    10. McGowan certainly can turn a phrase. She delves into the minutia of psychology--the contorted ways we justify our decision making--with aplomb and thoughtfulness. I mean this as a total compliment when I say I can see the influence of Virginia Woolf in her work.




    11. smart, bitingly funny and a little hard. i thought it ended a bit too quickly, but maybe that was because i enjoyed the narrator so much.






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