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A Place in the Country Paperback – 1 Jun 2001

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Trade; Reissue edition (1 Jun. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1573228788
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573228787
  • Product Dimensions: 13.9 x 2 x 20.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,427,795 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Wonderful."--Chicago Tribune
"A pleasure to read...sharp and witty."--The New York Times Book Review
"Cunningham chronicles her lifelong dream of owning a home in the country in this ode to all things green and earthy...She turns the tribulations of country living into hilarious and cautionary anecdotes. Read this because you want your own place in the country; read this before you own a place in the country."--Booklist
"Cunningham recounts with wry humor her conversion from innocent newcomer to country sophisticate, a process that included raising chickens (whose eggs, she figured, cost her $25 a dozen), feeding two ornery goats and tending an ill-fated garden. Her pastoral life has been interrupted by serious illness, counterbalanced by her joy in adopting her two little girls. She passes quickly over the breakup of her marriage and concludes by describing her uneasy adjustment to new neighbors--a swami and his followers. Throughout, Cunningham's lovely portrait of country scenes will engage readers who, like her, have dreamed of the glories of a rural retreat."--Publishers Weekly
"Cunningham is interested in how a child's experience shapes a woman's life, as the orphan girl adopts orphan girls, the daughter of a cancer victim becomes a cancer victim herself, and the city kid fulfills a lifelong dream of rural domesticity...[This is] a voice well worth listening to, equally convincing for its range and its hard-won clarity."--Chicago Tribune
"[Cunningham] waxes elegiac about the glories of nature...Wonderful images abound." --Newsday
"By the end, readers know the author, a woman worth knowing, and share her sense of place and home." --USA Today
"Lyrical...taps into every jaded urbanite's fantasy of an idyllic country lifestyle." --Harper's Bazaar
"This addition to the dream-home genre is a breath of fresh air." --Entertainment Weekly
"A wry, funny account of [Cunningham's] lifelong case of cou

"Wonderful."--Chicago Tribune

"A pleasure to read...sharp and witty."--The New York Times Book Review

"Cunningham chronicles her lifelong dream of owning a home in the country in this ode to all things green and earthy...She turns the tribulations of country living into hilarious and cautionary anecdotes. Read this because you want your own place in the country; read this before you own a place in the country."--Booklist

"Cunningham recounts with wry humor her conversion from innocent newcomer to country sophisticate, a process that included raising chickens (whose eggs, she figured, cost her $25 a dozen), feeding two ornery goats and tending an ill-fated garden. Her pastoral life has been interrupted by serious illness, counterbalanced by her joy in adopting her two little girls. She passes quickly over the breakup of her marriage and concludes by describing her uneasy adjustment to new neighbors--a swami and his followers. Throughout, Cunningham's lovely portrait of country scenes will engage readers who, like her, have dreamed of the glories of a rural retreat."--Publishers Weekly

"Cunningham is interested in how a child's experience shapes a woman's life, as the orphan girl adopts orphan girls, the daughter of a cancer victim becomes a cancer victim herself, and the city kid fulfills a lifelong dream of rural domesticity...[This is] a voice well worth listening to, equally convincing for its range and its hard-won clarity."--Chicago Tribune

"[Cunningham] waxes elegiac about the glories of nature...Wonderful images abound."--Newsday

"By the end, readers know the author, a woman worth knowing, and share her sense of place and home." --USA Today

"Lyrical...taps into every jaded urbanite's fantasy of an idyllic country lifestyle."--Harper's Bazaar

"This addition to the dream-home genre is a breath of fresh air."--Entertainment Weekly

"A wry, funny account of [Cunningham's] lifelong case of country-house fever."--Entertainment Weekly

"Told with candor and wit...A Place in the Country is a book that radiates a feeling of contentment...will tempt the reader to start looking for an old place of her own, an attempt to replicate the author's particularly attractive brand of insanity."--The Denver Post

"If this particular memoirist were offering up 287 pages on life in an auto parts dealership, you'd be well advised to accept...A Place in the Country starts with Cunningham's early years, an extraordinary topic in itself and one she described in a previous memoir, the unforgettable Sleeping Arrangements. There's an obvious danger in revisiting this material--it really is unforgettable--but this time the focus is on her youthful zeal for the outdoors, prompting a whole new flock of anecdotes...This book has a great deal of literary company these nowadays, including a spate of memoirs by writers who move to France or Italy and sit right down with their laptops under an olive tree to record their epiphanies. But Cunningham's work has quite a different personality. It reminds me most of The Egg and I, Betty MacDonald's account of following her new husband to a chicken ranch in the Olympic mountains. Unlike Cunningham, MacDonald hated every minute of her experience, but these two writers share much, including an excellent sense of the ridiculous and a solid antipathy for chickens. Published in 1945, The Egg and I remains a pleasure to read. Half a century from now, someone is sure to be saying the same thing about A Place in the Country."--The New York Times Book Review

Wonderful. Chicago Tribune

A pleasure to read sharp and witty. The New York Times Book Review

Cunningham chronicles her lifelong dream of owning a home in the country in this ode to all things green and earthy She turns the tribulations of country living into hilarious and cautionary anecdotes. Read this because you want your own place in the country; read this before you own a place in the country. Booklist

Cunningham recounts with wry humor her conversion from innocent newcomer to country sophisticate, a process that included raising chickens (whose eggs, she figured, cost her $25 a dozen), feeding two ornery goats and tending an ill-fated garden. Her pastoral life has been interrupted by serious illness, counterbalanced by her joy in adopting her two little girls. She passes quickly over the breakup of her marriage and concludes by describing her uneasy adjustment to new neighbors a swami and his followers. Throughout, Cunningham s lovely portrait of country scenes will engage readers who, like her, have dreamed of the glories of a rural retreat. Publishers Weekly

Cunningham is interested in how a child s experience shapes a woman s life, as the orphan girl adopts orphan girls, the daughter of a cancer victim becomes a cancer victim herself, and the city kid fulfills a lifelong dream of rural domesticity [This is] a voice well worth listening to, equally convincing for its range and its hard-won clarity. Chicago Tribune

[Cunningham] waxes elegiac about the glories of nature Wonderful images abound. Newsday

By the end, readers know the author, a woman worth knowing, and share her sense of place and home. USA Today

Lyrical taps into every jaded urbanite s fantasy of an idyllic country lifestyle. Harper s Bazaar

This addition to the dream-home genre is a breath of fresh air. Entertainment Weekly

A wry, funny account of [Cunningham s] lifelong case of country-house fever. Entertainment Weekly

Told with candor and wit A Place in the Country is a book that radiates a feeling of contentment will tempt the reader to start looking for an old place of her own, an attempt to replicate the author s particularly attractive brand of insanity. The Denver Post

If this particular memoirist were offering up 287 pages on life in an auto parts dealership, you d be well advised to accept A Place in the Country starts with Cunningham s early years, an extraordinary topic in itself and one she described in a previous memoir, the unforgettable Sleeping Arrangements. There s an obvious danger in revisiting this material it really is unforgettable but this time the focus is on her youthful zeal for the outdoors, prompting a whole new flock of anecdotes This book has a great deal of literary company these nowadays, including a spate of memoirs by writers who move to France or Italy and sit right down with their laptops under an olive tree to record their epiphanies. But Cunningham s work has quite a different personality. It reminds me most of The Egg and I, Betty MacDonald s account of following her new husband to a chicken ranch in the Olympic mountains. Unlike Cunningham, MacDonald hated every minute of her experience, but these two writers share much, including an excellent sense of the ridiculous and a solid antipathy for chickens. Published in 1945, The Egg and I remains a pleasure to read. Half a century from now, someone is sure to be saying the same thing about A Place in the Country. The New York Times Book Review"

About the Author

Laura Shaine Cunningham is a playwright and journalist whose fiction and nonfiction has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times, Vogue, and Mirabella, among other publications. The recipient of numerous awards and fellowships for her writing and theatrical work, Cunningham divides her time between New York City and her "place in the country."

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By Mr. Joe HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on 11 Jan. 2003
Format: Paperback
In SLEEPING ARRANGEMENTS, author Laura Shaine Cunningham movingly remembered her life growing up in the Bronx with her single mother, Rosie, until the latter's untimely death, after which Laura's guardians were her mother's two odd-ball bachelor brothers, Len and Gabe.
A PLACE IN THE COUNTRY is essentially a sequel, wherein Ms. Cunningham describes her life from the mid-1950's to Y2K. Indeed, the first couple of chapters reprise events of her life with Rosie and her uncles - all in the context of explaining her developing love for "the country". This is not unexpected in someone who grew up in small, overcrowded, city apartments. Most of the book revolves around the two rural homes in which the author has spent a good portion of her adult life, the Castle and The Inn, the latter having been her abode away from The City for the last 18 years up to the present.
Laura's life has been, in many ways, perfectly ordinary - probably not so different from the general pattern of yours or mine. Perhaps that's why it's so appealing. (We have here not the memoir of an obnoxious diva, whining and overpaid sports figure, or dysfunctional actor.) The author's great ability in sharing is her gentle, wry sense of humor, whether it's telling us about the trials of converting an old underground cistern into a swimming pool, or starting an ill-conceived cottage industry in potpourri pillows, or battling the local fauna over home-grown tomatoes, or the adoption of her first daughter from Romania, or her second daughter from China, or learning the pitfalls inherent to raising chickens, geese and goats. For instance ...
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9be54bc4) out of 5 stars 22 reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9be65384) out of 5 stars A charming sequel to SLEEPING ARRANGEMENTS 26 July 2001
By Mr. Joe - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
In SLEEPING ARRANGEMENTS, author Laura Shaine Cunningham movingly remembered her life growing up in the Bronx with her single mother, Rosie, until the latter's untimely death, after which Laura's guardians were her mother's two odd-ball bachelor brothers, Len and Gabe.
A PLACE IN THE COUNTRY is essentially a sequel, wherein Ms. Cunningham describes her life from the mid-1950's to Y2K. Indeed, the first couple of chapters reprise events of her life with Rosie and her uncles - all in the context of explaining her developing love for "the country". This is not unexpected in someone who grew up in small, overcrowded, city apartments. Most of the book revolves around the two rural homes in which the author has spent a good portion of her adult life, the Castle and The Inn, the latter having been her abode away from The City for the last 18 years up to the present.
Laura's life has been, in many ways, perfectly ordinary - probably not so different from the general pattern of yours or mine. Perhaps that's why it's so appealing. (We have here not the memoir of an obnoxious diva, whining and overpaid sports figure, or dysfunctional actor.) The author's great ability in sharing is her gentle, wry sense of humor, whether it's telling us about the trials of converting an old underground cistern into a swimming pool, or starting an ill-conceived cottage industry in potpourri pillows, or battling the local fauna over home-grown tomatoes, or the adoption of her first daughter from Romania, or her second daughter from China, or learning the pitfalls inherent to raising chickens, geese and goats. For instance ...
"I spent most of my time preparing the alleged garden, jumping on the end of a pickaxe, trying to tilt the tip of what might be a glacial formation (of rock) that extends to the core of the earth. When at last there was a thin strip of what we could call soil, we stuck in seeds, which were instantly lost and unidentifiable except to the birds that snacked on them. We graduated immediately to seedlings that cost as much as the finished vegetables. In this way, we worked our way up, with credit cards, to the six-hundred dollar tomato."
Not all of Laura's life in the country has been happy. In the later chapters, when she tells of the eventual dissolution of her 27-year marriage, or the neighbors that move away, or die, or just her slide into middle-age, the tone of A PLACE IN THE COUNTRY becomes occasionally melancholic. ("Time is supposed to march on, but now it hurtles.") But, her narrative never loses the sensitivity and poignancy that conveys to the reader the fact that she is, from all evidence, a truly good human being giving Life her best shot. A person that it would be an honor to hug.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9bbced74) out of 5 stars country charm 10 July 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Delightful. Fix yourself some ice tea, put your feet up, and pretend that you are sitting among the foxglove and asters in a New England garden, even if you're stuck on the twentieth floor of a New York City high-rise. This is summer in the country as it should be. The pleasures of country life are so vivid, along with the absurdities, the weeds, the mud, the mosquitoes, and the contretemps that can only be dealt with by laughing, that you may be tempted to move to a small, rural village. Unless you happened to also read The Enduring Shore and have decided to move to a saltwater village on Cape Cod. Or to read Bullough's Pond and are looking for a small lake within commuting distance of Boston. Or, well, you could just check them all out of the library and put yor feet up. It's been a great season for books about New England.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9cb796fc) out of 5 stars Bella New York! better than Provence or Tuscany! 1 Nov. 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I love to read about dream houses and people getting their wish fulfilled so this story of the poor little orphan from the bronx, who grew up in city apartments, seven people in three rooms, really moved me. The story is as sad as Angela's Ashes but funny as The Egg and I--It is a really fascinating mix of memoir and how a city person can live in the country. I could not put it down as Miss Cunningham lucks out and gets a romantic estate in upstate New York. The writing is as beautiful as the travel books but I liked it more as it is about our home country. It is not pretentious like some of those books --You don't have to be a millionaire to have a dream house come true! This is also a beautiful memoir of a special family. You have to read the first book, too, Sleeping Arrangements, because it dares to go where few writers are willing --the true secret unexpurgated lives of city kids. I was one too! LOVED THIS! What a pair of books! If you ever wanted country property, get this quick!
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9be7adb0) out of 5 stars A terrific book full of life 21 Sept. 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
A "must read" for anyone who has ever longed for the "country." The author takes us along with her on her (often hilarious) quest to find that idyllic place in the country. This is a book filled with charm and wit, full of eccentric and wonderful characters (many of whom readers of the author's earlier book "Sleeping Arrangements" will recognize). Laugh-out-loud funny but also wise and loving. Her description of the cows alone is worth the price of the book.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9be41990) out of 5 stars Book is so good, I had to ration myself 20 Sept. 2000
By Marcella Gauthier - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
As a writer, I have often divided other writers into story tellers and lyrical writers. Story telling skills are obvious, lyrical writing skills less so. A writer who can create a mood or scene in words gets my vote. I like to be able to hear, see, smell, and if possible, touch, it. Laura Shaine Cunningham is both kinds of writer. She manages to tell a compelling story of her childhood in the Bronx, losing her mother, her young adulthood just north of New York City in Tuxedo Park, to finally settling in upstate New York in Willowby. I was entranced with the stories and images of her life and highly recommend this book to anyone longing for the country or anyone who just enjoys good writing.
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