Our Lady of the Prairie by Thisbe Nissen Download (read online) free eBook .pdf.epub.kindle

Our Lady of the Prairie

A sharp and bitingly funny novel about a professor whose calm-ish midwestern life gives way to a vortex of crises—and her attempts to salvage the pieces without going to pieces herself

In the space of a few torrid months on the Iowa prairie, Phillipa Maakestad—long-married theater professor and mother of an unstable daughter—grapples with a life turned upside down. After f

In the space of a few torrid months on the Iowa prairie, Phillipa Maakestad—long-married theater professor and mother of an unstable daughter—grapples with a life turned upside down. After falling headlong into a passionate affair during a semester spent teaching in Ohio, Phillipa returns home to Iowa for her daughter Ginny’s wedding. There, Phillipa must endure (among other things) a wedding-day tornado, a menace of a mother-in-law who may or may not have been a Nazi collaborator, and the tragicomic revenge fantasies of her heretofore docile husband.

Naturally, she does what any newly liberated woman would do: she takes a match to her life on the prairie and then steps back to survey the wreckage.

Set in the seething political climate of a contentious election,Thisbe Nissen’s new novel is sexy, smart, and razor-sharp—a freight train barreling through the heart of the land and the land of the heart. 
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    Larry H

    Dec 17, 2017

    rated it
    really liked it

    Shelves:
    netgalley

    “So much of this life we spend holding ourselves together, when all we’re really looking for is someone who might undo us completely.”

    Theater professor Phillipa Maakestad is finally settling into her life. Married for years to fellow theater professor Michael, they struggled for years with their daughter, Ginny, who suffered from mental illness and drug addiction. But now Ginny has finally stabilized, and is set to marry a young man she has known since childhood.

    And then, much to Phillipa’s surp

    Theater professor Phillipa Maakestad is finally settling into her life. Married for years to fellow theater professor Michael, they struggled for years with their daughter, Ginny, who suffered from mental illness and drug addiction. But now Ginny has finally stabilized, and is set to marry a young man she has known since childhood.

    And then, much to Phillipa’s surprise, while teaching a semester in Ohio, she falls madly in love with another man—Lucius, a history professor. When they finally succumb to their passions, their affair consumes her. She can only think about being with Lucius, which is problematic, considering she needs to return to Iowa for Ginny’s wedding. But how can she pretend that everything is fine, everything is the same, when absolutely everything has changed?

    “What I won’t back down from is this: Lucius and I met and we were a twister. We tried to keep ourselves apart, but some forces are too great. Some forces are beyond control.”

    Phillipa confesses her affair to Michael just before her return home, but they vow to keep up appearances for Ginny’s sake. That should be easy, right? Well, Phillipa wasn’t counting on a wedding-day tornado, Michael’s strange request for getting revenge for her unfaithfulness, and her continually disapproving, obstinate mother-in-law, whom Phillipa thinks might have been a Nazi. It’s more than any one person can handle, much less one already dealing with an intense love for another man.


    Our Lady of the Prairie
    is a slightly zany, poignant, and periodically frustrating look at one woman who decides the best way to deal with her midlife crisis is just to let everything around her implode, whether intentionally or accidentally. It’s a story about being caught between the life you want and the life you’re obligated to. It’s also the story of how when we try so hard not to hurt anyone we often wind up hurting everyone, including ourselves.

    Thisbe Nissen does a terrific job in painting a portrait of a woman who was so deliberate through so much of her life that when she finally throws a little caution to the wind, the results are disastrous. Phillipa has spent so much time taking care of her daughter, her husband, her mother-in-law, even her students, but she doesn’t really know how to take care of herself, or even understand that she, too, is worthy of happiness of her own. She’s not the most sympathetic character but you understand many of the choices she makes, and given what she has dealt with in her life, you may wonder if she’s entitled.

    Parts of this book had me laughing aloud, and parts had me tearing up. It’s set in the months leading up to the 2004 presidential election, when the country was divided in its feelings about George W. Bush, and Nissen captured that mood well.

    There were, however, some threads of the story I just didn’t understand the point of, particularly Phillipa’s belief that her mother-in-law was a Nazi. Any time she interacted with Bernadette, the story lost its appeal, and there’s an overly long section in which Phillipa imagines she’s living Bernadette’s life which almost made me stop reading the book. In the end, I didn’t feel that Nissen even resolved this part of the story, so I definitely could have done without it.

    I’ve never read anything Nissen has written, but I was utterly taken by her storytelling and her ear for dialogue. There’s a lot to this book, but it’s a fascinating, emotional, and often-humorous look at one woman’s life in the midst of crisis after crisis (many which are self-inflicted), and you wonder just where Phillipa will end up. It’s a little wacky, but it has a lot of heart.

    NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt provided me an advance copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making this available!

    See all of my reviews at http://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blo….
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    Jay Nicorvo

    Mar 01, 2017

    rated it
    it was amazing

    FULL DISCLOSURE: The author of this novel deigned to marry me about a decade ago, so I’m eagerly biased, but the reason she said “I do” was because of my very eager biases.

    With that out of the way, OUR LADY OF THE PRAIRIE, a dozen years in the making, is the best, most ambitious fiction Thisbe Nissen has ever written — she’s already written outstanding, amazingly ambitious fiction — and I’ve had the great pleasure, and greater privilege, of reading it all. I suggest you do yourself that same ple

    With that out of the way, OUR LADY OF THE PRAIRIE, a dozen years in the making, is the best, most ambitious fiction Thisbe Nissen has ever written — she’s already written outstanding, amazingly ambitious fiction — and I’ve had the great pleasure, and greater privilege, of reading it all. I suggest you do yourself that same pleasurable, privileged favor by reading her latest masterpiece of a novel.

    A torch song from the Heartland that echoes coast to coast, even taking a European tour across the Atlantic, through time and space, to Nazi-occuped France, OUR LADY OF THE PRAIRIE is the resistance novel we need in these collaborationist times.
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    Mithila  Menezes

    Jan 21, 2018

    rated it
    really liked it

     · 
    review of another edition

    When I picked this book up, I felt that it would not be my cup of tea. The start of the story felt a bit bumpy, and I couldn’t wait to DNF the book. But, this book was featured in Chicago Review of Books’s “Most Anticipated Reads of 2018”, and I wanted to plough through the book and figure out what made it “anticipated”. And I’m happy to tell you, that I started my January reading spree with a well-written book. A book with memorable quotes, so-close-to-reality characters and a very realistic pl

    What I liked about “Our Lady of the Prairie” is that the story seems to meander as per the thoughts of the protagonist Phillipa. This style of writing is something that people who are criticised for “thinking a lot” would relate to very well. The protagonist constantly chatters on and on about what could have been, what should have been, what must have been, what will be. And in a way, it does mirror the thoughts that every over-thoughtful person thinks. Our brains are on a constant overdrive, and this has many unexpected, and sometimes hilarious, repercussions. 

    I also happen to be very interested in books which have a theme of the World War II. And this book does have a glimpse of it. I wouldn’t want to reveal to you in which context the theme comes in, as that would be a major spoiler. But trust me when I say this: The conclusion of the World War II themed chapter will leave you with your jaw on the floor. The whole chapter represents why and how a character grows over the ages, and how people are forced to make difficult decisions during difficult times.

    Moreover, this is my first Thisbe Nissen book (thank you NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for an ARC!). I must say, inspite of my bumpy first chapter, I thoroughly enjoyed the book. I guess I took that time to get used to the reading style, because I haven’t read a book like this in a long time. The whole descriptive language in the book transported me to Ohio and Iowa and Prairie and France and to every place described in the book, right from the Gas Stop Motel to the crappy apartment that Phillipa purchases in a fit of “worrying about the future.”

    What I didn’t like about this book is… maybe the spanking scene in the start of the book could have been a little less NSFW? I mean, I felt that the introduction to Phillipa’s husband Michael seemed a bit too volatile as compared to the later descriptions of docile Michael. (If you don’t agree with me on this, I’m willing to understand a different perspective to this scene, dear reader.)

    All in all, I give this book a 4/5 stars and recommend it to anyone who is looking for an engaging read. Trust me, once you start liking Phillipa and start rooting for her, you’ll want to reach the last word of the book, but would’t want the book to end.

    Read my full review here: https://mithilareviewsbooks.wordpress…
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