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A Summons to Memphis
A Summons to Memphis
Author: Peter Taylor
Winner of the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. — "American readers demand novels, and now Peter Taylor has given them one; to say that it is every bit as good as the best of his short stories is the highest compliment it can be paid." — THE WASHINGTON POST BOOK WORLD — When Phillip Carver receives, on a lonely Sunday evening, two successive telepho...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780345346605
ISBN-10: 0345346602
Publication Date: 8/12/1987
  • Currently 3.3/5 Stars.

3.3 stars, based on 28 ratings
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio Cassette
Members Wishing: 0
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Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed A Summons to Memphis on + 7 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
The writing is elegant, the characters well drawn, the dialogue finely honed. I enjoyed this book.
reviewed A Summons to Memphis on + 33 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I enjoyed this book mainly because I was raised in Memphis, so it was kind of neat to read the parts the author mentions different landmarks that I'm familiar with. It's not a page-turner, by any means, but a good read, especially if you're familiar with Memphis.
reviewed A Summons to Memphis on + 18 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Lovely book with typical Taylor subject of appearances and genteel Southern ways. A widowed father decides to remarry setting off shockwaves among his daughters and calling his son home. Lyrical and subtly charming.
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reviewed A Summons to Memphis on + 105 more book reviews
I make it a point to read Pulitzer Prize winning books whenever I get a chance; this is, I think, only the second one I didn't finish.

Peter Taylor is recognized as a master of the short story, and according to the jacket blurbs, the literary world had been waiting for years for this novel (his second), which is actually a 233 page novella. When it was published in the mid 1980's it was a best-selling literary sensation. I have a suspicion the Pulitzer committee gave it the prize based on his entire body of work, which was extensive and well-received.

The book is very well and clearly written; each sentence is polished like a jewel. Maybe if I had read it 27 years ago when it was first published (and when I felt that as a serious reader I was required to read "Great Literature") I would have enjoyed it more. Fifty pages in, I was thoroughly bored; I kept reading - since it won the Pulitzer, it's bound to get better, right? After 90 pages, I got on-line and checked the Amazon reviews.

Fifteen five-star reviews, as ecpected. Thirteen four-star reviews, most of which carried the same praise for his writing, his clarity, and his attention to detail. The seven reviews with three, two, and one stars were more revealing. Without exception, they found the book boring and long-winded. Many thought the Pulitzer committee had completely dropped the ball - as I do.

Life is too short to spend any more time on this just because somebody else said it's great literature.