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Sweet and Vicious [Hardcover]

David Schickler
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

Aug 2004
“Fascinating and hilarious,” “relentlessly clever,” and “truly haunting” are all phrases that have been used to describe David Schickler’s unique talent. And all apply to this brash, brilliant novel featuring two of the most memorable characters in contemporary fiction: Grace McGlone and Henry Dante.

Sexy and willful, Grace McGlone is saving herself for the right man. When Henry Dante pulls into the small Wisconsin town where she works at the car wash, she instantly knows he’s the one. He knows it too. But when Grace discovers Henry has “The Planets”—a stolen set of famous Spanish diamonds—stashed in the back seat of his truck, she’s having none of it. She’s “trying for heaven,” and the ill-gotten jewels must go. And so they do, in a race across the American landscape from Chicago to Yellowstone, purusued by a savage gangster obsessed by the diamonds he thought were his.

Passionate, criminal, comical, and possessing all the dark enchantment of a fairy tale, Sweet and Vicious is a modern love story shot straight from the heart of David Schickler’s miraculous imagination.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 242 pages
  • Publisher: Dial Press (Aug 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385335687
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385335683
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 14.5 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,331,867 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

Enchanting debut novel...that seems to be inspired in equal measure by Pulp Fiction and Parsifal....Serious fun and a rare rich feast: Schickler's...skillful weaving of the dark and comical make him one of the best new voices in years. (Kirkus starred review)

More praise for KISSING IN MANHATTAN:

'A divine comedy' San Francisco Chronicle

'An absurd, surreal and hauntingly beautiful narrative in the tradition of

Woody Allen, Tama Janowitz and Jay McInerney' W Magazine

'The literary equivalent of the sexual tease' Marie Claire

'Stylish...old-world glamour with edgy modern depravity' Big Issue

'As smart as you'd expect from the title' Time Out

'Inventive and entertaining' Independent on Sunday

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

A highly-sexed criminal fairy-tale --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Rude and Frivolous 1 Dec 2010
Format:Paperback
When I started `Sweet and Vicious' I was expecting a savvy crime thriller with a few laughs and a fast pace. This is not exactly what I got, as I also got a side order or rude imagery bordering on the smutty! I'm never a huge fan of adult entertainment in my novels, but if it works within the fiction I let it go. On more than one occasion `S and V' dipped into salaciousness for little reason other than titillation. Did the sex itself bother me? Not really. It was the fact that these scenes stopped the flow of the book and made it a stuttering experience, rather than the continuous road chase that it should have been.

A gangster named Henry has stolen some diamonds from his boss and met up with the eccentric Grace. They quickly get married and are on the run from Henry's former colleagues. The book works best when exploring the past of the different characters and how they came to be who they are. The story set in the present makes up around half the book, the rest is a series of flashbacks all about the different people. This works well, but it does mean that not a huge deal actually happens. In terms of energy the book just about works, but there is little humour. The surreal nature of many of the sequences leaves you wondering what is real and what is fake. In the end the book feels like some sort of entertaining experiment that failed. Not a book that I would go out of my way to read, but someone looking for a curio, with quite a lot of rudeness, could do worse.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  28 reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "A highly sexed criminal fairy-story" 27 Sep 2004
By CJ-NYC - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
... such is the description that appears on the cover of the UK edition of Sweet and Vicious and which I think accurately conveys the style and substance of this very entertaining novel. What cannot be so easily described is the writing, which often stopped me in my tracks as I found myself re-reading passages in admiration. The other reviews posted here should already give you a pretty good idea of the plot and main characters, so I'll let Schickler's writing speak for itself and try to point out some of the nuances that I think make this book not only a great read, but also demonstrate the author's talent and imagination. Take, for example, the following passage that describes Hilda Reisch, a sexual conquest of secondary character Roger Pobrinkis (one of the gangsters pursuing main characters Henry Dante & Grace McGlone): "Hilda was a towering, pale-skinned adjunct professor visiting from Denmark, maybe thirty-five, a woman who rarely showed smiles but always showed leg. She shod herself daily in skirts and low boots. She wore her black permed-out hair like an explosion on her head, and her eyes, also black, dismissed almost everything they saw." Or, take this description of Grace's reaction to hapless Stewart McFigg and the sincere yet inadvertently hilarious valentine that he presents to her in front of their sixth grade class: "In response, Grace delivered a stinging public rebuke of Stewart, in which she blamed him for all the freckles beginning to plague her body, claiming that the years of blushing brought on by his advances had triggered the speckling of her skin." These are but a sampling of inspired passages to be found throughout the novel, making for a unique and memorable reading experience. I highly recommend this book.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wish It Were Twice as Long 27 Nov 2004
By Bartleby - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
David Schickler achieves, in a few deft strokes, more character definition than most novelists can achieve in a dozen lumbering paragraphs. In the space of a few short pages, I lost all sense of aesthetic distance and began to care about the two main characters, Henry and Grace.

If viewed from the outside looking in, Henry and Grace would appear to be the recurring inscrutables who populate the stories recounted in our local newspapers and by our network affiliates. These are the stories that, once told, don't make a lot of sense to us and leave us wondering how anyone could do something like that.

But Schickler portrays Henry and Grace from the inside looking out. We understand each character. We quickly share the interior logic that informs their actions.

Schickler writes readable prose. But, for all its accessibility, the prose is rewarding. Schickler's style is spare, but effective. Transparently, Schickler switches from the first-person for Henry to the third-person for Grace and the other characters. By the end, a reason for this device emerges.

My only complaint, when I finished the novel, was that Schickler didn't give us another 100 pages of Henry and Grace. Maybe it would have jeopardized the balance of the story or the elegance of the style, but I'll bet Schickler could have pulled it off. All I know is that I could have found the time for another 100 pages of Henry and Grace.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing. I had a great time reading this book! 17 Sep 2004
By D. Milledge - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The story may sound like you've seen it all before - star crossed lovers on the run - but it's Schickler's incredibly imaginative voice that sets it apart from the rest. His creativity is so stunning I found myself whispering in awe, "wow," more than a few times.

It's a swift read but this is no plot-point then plot-point novel. It's the characters that are in the driver's seat here. Fresh and inspired, some shocking, some hilarious (and heartbreaking), they're not tired retreads with the old predictable tics and traits. Add to that Schickler's unique ability to seamlessly blend the fantastic with the everyday and you're holding a very special book.

With muscle, wit, and heart, Schickler takes us on a wonderful ride to a place I thought was truly beautiful. This is a tight and entertaining novel that shouldn't be missed.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not your normal gangster romance 17 Sep 2004
By E. Roberts - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I picked up "Sweet and Vicious" along with a pile of other books, many of which have received critical acclaim and much praise. Having slogged through several of the others and having wondered why anyone thought they were important, well-written, or even in the least bit entertaining, I finally got to this novel's place in the stack. I couldn't put it down, and I was never disappointed. When so many novelists are falling for their own hype, David Stickler manages to write about imperfect people and allows me understand and care for them.
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful! Even better than "Kissing in Manhattan" 31 Aug 2004
By C. Burgess - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
In his first book, Schickler showed that he could create memorable characters radiating equal amounts of humanity and quirkiness. In "Sweet and Vicious," the parade continues. Grace and Henry absolutely jump of the page, and even the secondary characters -- like Color or Gretl -- were clearly not just filler.

Although there is a significant amount of magical realism in the book (think Tom Robbins crossed with Garcia Marquez), the story and the characters all seems so vivid. The imagery throughout the story is spectacular, from the car wash scene to the pod people to the tree-top dwelling to the diamonds themselves. Schickler is incredibly talented at creating situations that pull you in and, unlike with many writers, I never felt disappointed that the payoff wasn't equal to the setup.

I think Schickler has really found his voice as a writer with this book, and I predict it will be a major hit.
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