Item description for A Proper Knowledge by Michelle Latiolais...
"The novel counts-in elegant and sometimes elegiac prose-the shadowy and elusive opportunities for redemption."-Ron Carlson, author of Five Skies
"A ravishing intelligence is at work in these pages."-Elizabeth Tallent, author of Honey, on Even Now
A gifted psychiatrist, haunted by the death of his young sister, seeks to penetrate the mysteries of childhood autism in this beautifully written, insightful investigation into the misunderstood pathways of the brain-and the heart.
Michelle Latiolais is associate professor and co-director of the Programs in Writing at the University of California, Irvine. Her novel Even Now won the Commonwealth Club of California Gold Medal for Fiction in 1991.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8" Width: 5.1" Height: 1" Weight: 0.7 lbs.
Release Date May 1, 2008
Publisher Bellevue Literary Press
ISBN 1934137111 ISBN13 9781934137116
Availability 0 units.
More About Michelle Latiolais
Michelle Latiolais is Associate Professor, University of California, Irvine, co-director of the Programs in Writing at the University of California at Irvine, and author of Even Now, which won the Gold Medal for Fiction, Commonwealth Club of California 1991.
Reviews - What do customers think about A Proper Knowledge?
Read 'A Proper Knowledge' May 22, 2008
If, when you purchase a novel, you are hoping that upon its completion you will feel as though you have spent hours with actual human beings, possibly even human beings who you prefer the company of to those people you know from real life, then look no further. This book, the final quarter of which reads nearly moment for moment in real-time, accomplishes something that I rarely see -- that is, it made me feel as though I was, yes, spending time with Luke, the main character, and his acquaintances, but also that I was never for a moment seeing my time wasted.
Luke is a psychiatrist who treats autistic children, and there is so much to enjoy in the pages in which he is in his office with his patients that I found myself not wanting those sections to end. I don't doubt that a much larger book could have been filled with nothing but Luke's thoughtful observation and interaction with his patients, who are all fascinating characters, and not simply for being gratuitously interesting freaks, which would be such an easy and shallow way to drag a readers attention along, but rather because Luke sees something wonderful in them, and so we see it too.
There is more to the novel than this, and as enjoyable as I find these sections to be, I would not trade more of them for what is already there. The relationship between Luke's aging (but sharp as hell) mother and Janey, a twenty three year-old girl with a murky past yet who is inexplicably well adjusted, cannot adequately be boiled down to simply close friendship or full fledged adoption without doing the characters an injustice, but it alone makes the book worth reading.
There are moments to laugh here. And although Luke's work and personal life do demand seriousness, it never weighs unpleasantly on the reader. The only way for me to put it is that, even though there is nothing on the page that could be called light subject matter, you find yourself, as a reader, well taken care of. And though the topics in the book range from animated Disney films to flower arranging to incurable illness, I did not once find my intelligence insulted, neither did I ever feel left in the dark.
So read the book. I don't think you'll want your money back. There is something hard to describe about the quality a novel can have to grab you from the first sentence and pull you right along to the end, but this book does it, and so if you happen upon it at Barnes and Noble, I encourage you to pick it up and see what I mean. (I wish the publisher would allow this site customers to view the first few pages of this novel, they are really enough to encourage a purchase.)