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The Monsters of Templeton Paperback – 2 Jul 2009


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Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Windmill Books (2 July 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099515725
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099515722
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 3.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 484,899 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Lauren Groff's debut novel, The Monsters of Templeton, is everything a reader might have expected from this gifted writer, and more ... There are monsters, murders, bastards, and ne'er-do-wells almost without number. I was sorry to see this rich and wonderful novel come to an end, and there is no higher success than that." (Stephen King)

"THE MONSTERS OF TEMPLETON is a bold and beautiful hybrid of a book...Lauren Groff is an exciting young novelist, gifted with an elegant prose style and a narrative ambition as deep and as serious as the human mysteries she sets out to explore." (Lorrie Moore)

"Groff's delightful debut is a glorious hybrid of history and humour, with just a sprinkling of magic." (Easy Living)

"This cracking tale, admirer Stephen King gleefully says, is full of "monsters, murders, bastards and ne'er do-wells". Yet Lauren Groff's remarkable debut is not a horror at all...as Willie slays her demons by slowly but surely excavating her family tree, the novel blossoms into a crossbreed of intimate confession, eccentric social history, origin myth and literary biography... the true 'monsters' of Templeton are its secrets." (Metro)

"This has an opening to die for ... a riveting read" (Scotland on Sunday)

Book Description

A mesmerizing tour de force that marks the debut of one of the most exciting talents in years

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By missreader on 18 Aug. 2009
Format: Paperback
This is the story of Willie Upton (not Cooper, as the blurb confusingly says) and her return to her home town of Templeton, a town based on the real-life town of Cooperstown - home of the writer James Fenimore Cooper. Without giving it all away Willie returns home from San Francisco after an affair with her professor ends abruptly. Her hippy mother Vi, now a christian convert, drops a bombshell about Willie's real parentage that sparks a trek through Templeton's history all the way back to its founder Marmaduke Temple (via his writer son Jacob Franklin Temple). This is a fantastic web of storytelling from a greatly diverse cast of characters all bound by Templeton, Glimmerglass Lake and Glimmey the monster in the lake. All the characters have real substance and the story kept me gripped until the very end. The monster and the ghost are perfectly woven into the narrative so as to be believeable and not kooky. The ending is very satisfying and I was genuinely sad to have finished reading it so quickly. I will definately keep an eye out for more by this author.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A nice cup of tea and a good book on 19 July 2009
Format: Paperback
I was given a copy by a friend and initially approached it with some scepticism - monsters in lakes don't usually add up to my kind of book. But it's a delight - witty, involving and surprising by turn - with strong likeable characters and a vividly evoked sense of place. All in all a most lovely book, one that will warm your cockles. As long as you can cope with a monster or two - oh yes, and a ghost.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Whimsical Witch on 27 Mar. 2010
Format: Paperback
This one reeled me in, I must say, by the promise of a mustery and a lake monster... And allthough the lake monster part was alittle dissapointing, the story is not...

A great tale about discovering your past, your ancestors and all their dirty little secrets...

Everyone that grew up in a small town knows how extremely important is is to get away, to get out... yet many return in adult life remembering as a bliss to live there. This is what our heroine does, returning home to her funny, strange mother when she is in need of some quiet time away from life, away from it all. Finding a town she remembers well from childhood, alittle changed over the years, but not entirely.
Willie has messed up! A disasterious affair with her much older professor leaves her alone, pregnant and utterly heartbroken. She returns home in shame, to get some comfort by her strange hippie mother, only to find her mother has seen Jesus in her older days and not at all in any way feeling sorry for her daughter or the mess she has made. She kicks her back into gear by adding another giant disturbance to Willies allready messed up life...

a disturbance that might just be the saviour after all...

A lovely story that goes back and forth in the history of a strange and wonderful family...

Loved it!!! Really did... and I loved the descrpition of the town itself, which REALLY plays the main character!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 26 Aug. 2011
Format: Paperback
As explained at the beginning of this book, Templeton is actually Cooperstown. You know, the place with the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Or rather, it's a "slantwise" version of Cooperstown, with lake monsters, friendly ghosts, and a tangle of ancient family secrets. Lauren Groff's "The Monsters of Templeton" is a cleverly interwoven mystery of old secrets, poetic writing and forgotten scandals, but her heroine is the book's Achilles heel.

Willie Upton is returning to her mother's shabby mansion, pregnant and disgraced after trying to run over her married lover's wife. On the same morning, a gigantic monster is found floating in the nearby lake.

Unsurprisingly, Willie is far more interested in her own problems, especially when her hippie-turned-Baptist mother reveals that Willie was not conceived in a free-love orgy, but with a man she knows right in Templeton. To distract herself from her woes, Willie decides to take a single clue and explore back through her family's history, hoping to find the man who fathered her.

Turns out the Temple family tree has a lot of memorable people -- a savvy slave girl, an ethereal Schizophrenic, a pyromaniac, at least one murderer, a popular novelist, a gentle giant. And as Willie backtracks through her family tree, she finds that the secret of her father's ancestry is intertwined in family scandals long forgotten...

It sounds like a fairly ordinary "family saga" novel, doesn't it? But Groff does infuse something special into the story, including touches of magical realism (an immortal town weirdo, a long-lived lake monster, and a lilac ghost) and a series of family accounts that intertwine over time. Which ones are true, and which are self-serving lies? Well, that's up to the reader.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Anne Crofts on 12 Feb. 2010
Format: Paperback
I had this book free with my Newbooks magazine; I probably wouldn't have bought it because it's not the sort of book I usually read. I started it last week and, to my surprise, I enjoyed it right from the start. As mentioned by other reviewers the story revolves around Willie Upton and her return to her home town which coincided with a monster found dead in the local lake. The story is set in Templeton which is based on the author's own hometown and next time we're in New York state, I'll make a point of visiting because it sounds delightful. Willie's life gradually sorts itself out once she has a quest and I was sad when it ended too. The characters are believable, especially if you spend time in small towns in the US every year, which I do.
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