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book cover of Saul and Patsy

Saul and Patsy

(2003)
A novel by

 
 
Poor Charles Baxter, doomed to be forever thought of as a writer's writer. The languidly plotted Saul and Patsy hardly promises to be his long-awaited breakout novel. It's just too quiet. But for those of us who fervently admire Baxter's prose, that's a selling point. In this tale of a Midwestern marriage, there's lots of time and space for the author to show off his incisive style, studded with the kind of subtle observations that make you stop, laugh, and then feel oddly lanced somewhere in the neighborhood of the soul.

Saul Bernstein has become a high school teacher because he feels a need "to contribute to what he called 'the great project of undoing the dumbness that's been done.'" He and his wife Patsy live in small-town Michigan, where their "love for each other had created a magic circle around themselves that outsiders could not penetrate. No one who had ever met them knew what made the two of them tick; the whole arrangement looked mildly fraudulent." There's a glitch in this idyll, though. One of Saul's students, a mildly retarded boy named Gordy, takes to haunting their house, maybe with malicious intent, maybe not. Gordy hangs around, Saul and Patsy have a baby, and then finally a crisis provokes Saul to decide what kind of man he'd like to be. The novel is, in the end, a portrait not of a marriage, but of an ambivalent, evasive, very funny man. Along the way, we get to know Saul's fed-up wife, his fraudulent brother, and his libidinous mother, who makes this observation of Saul: "As a father, he exhibited great tenderness, which had a touch of vanity in it." It's a classic Baxter aside, at first mildly funny, then barbed with the truth. --Claire Dederer

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Used availability for Charles Baxter's Saul and Patsy

Hardback Editions

February 2004 : USA Hardback
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Title: Saul and Patsy
Author(s): Charles Baxter
ISBN: 0-7862-6224-9 / 978-0-7862-6224-3 (USA edition)
Publisher: Thorndike Press
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


September 2003 : USA Hardback
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Title: Saul and Patsy
Author(s): Charles Baxter
ISBN: 0-375-41029-5 / 978-0-375-41029-1 (USA edition)
Publisher: Pantheon Books
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


Paperback Editions

March 2005 : USA Paperback
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Title: Saul and Patsy
Author(s): Charles Baxter
ISBN: 0-375-70916-9 / 978-0-375-70916-6 (USA edition)
Publisher: Vintage
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


Audio Editions

2008 : USA Audio CD
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Title: Saul and Patsy - on Playaway
Author(s): Charles Baxter
ISBN: 1-60640-175-0 / 978-1-60640-175-0 (USA edition)
Publisher: Playaway
Availability: Amazon   


September 2007 : USA Audio CD
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Title: Saul and Patsy
Author(s): Charles Baxter
ISBN: 1-59777-149-X / 978-1-59777-149-8 (USA edition)
Publisher: Phoenix Audio
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


December 2003 : USA Audio edition
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Title: Saul and Patsy: A Novel
Author(s): Charles Baxter
Publisher: Phoenix Books
Availability: Amazon   


December 2003 : Canada Audio edition
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Title: Saul and Patsy: A Novel
Author(s): Charles Baxter
Publisher: Phoenix Books
Availability: Amazon CA   


September 2003 : USA Audio CD
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Title: Saul and Patsy
Author(s): Charles Baxter
ISBN: 1-59007-473-4 / 978-1-59007-473-2 (USA edition)
Publisher: New Millenium Audio
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA   


September 2003 : USA Audio Cassette
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Title: Saul and Patsy
Author(s): Charles Baxter
ISBN: 1-59007-472-6 / 978-1-59007-472-5 (USA edition)
Publisher: New Millenium Audio
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


Kindle Editions

December 2007 : USA, Canada Kindle edition
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Title: Saul and Patsy (Vintage Contemporaries)
Author(s): Charles Baxter
Publisher: Vintage
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA