Cover image for Dear Otto
Title:
Dear Otto
Author:
Brookhouse, Christopher, 1938-
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Sag Harbor : Permanent Press, 1996.

©1995
Physical Description:
133 pages ; 23 cm
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781877946639
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

Brookhouse highlights the interplay between reality, fiction, and creativity while telling the story of three writers at a summer workshop hidden away in Amish Ohio. There is a quirky elegance in the understated prose that keeps the reader turning pages. -- Library Journal


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Brookhouse's previous novels (Running Out; Wintermute) have been critical, though not commercial, successes. The same may hold true for this one, which may alienate some readers for its spareness but which nonetheless brings to life the complex nature of modern relationships. The central duo here are Sloan, a novelist and teacher, and his wife, Jean, who together host a writing workshop each summer in their isolated retreat bordering an Amish village in Ohio. Beneath the surface of their marriage lurks a web of desire involving three young writers: the confused but talented Margie, the pleasure-seeking Donna and a headstrong young Southerner, Trew. As Sloan finds himself drawn to Margie, Jean is left to contemplate both her marriage to Sloan and her enigmatic relationship with Otto, a man from her past with whom she communicates only by letter. A tragic accident, meanwhile, adds pressure to an already volatile mix of conflicting agendas and cross-purposes. Brookhouse writes in short, brisk sentences to convey the disjointedness of his characters' lives. Despite the novel's brevity, it doesn't feel skimpy as the author delivers a set of finely drawn portraits, set uneasily in motion. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

Don't be fooled by the dustjacket blurb that warns the reader to expect more than a book about writing. Brookhouse highlights the interplay between reality, fiction, and creativity while ostensibly telling the story of three writers at a summer workshop hidden away in Amish, Ohio. The author, who won the prestigious Rosenthal Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters for his early novel, Running Out (LJ 2/15/70), has concocted a curiously amoral book in which the characters struggle or decline to take responsibility for their lives and choices. Perhaps because of the intentionally flat, unemotional language, the resolution of the novel's central mystery (who's Otto?) seems oddly lacking in drama. Still, there is a quirky elegance in the understated prose, which keeps the reader turning the pages. For literary collections.‘Linda L. Rome, Middlefield P.L., Ohio (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.