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Herb 'N' Lorna: A Novel
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Herb 'N' Lorna: A Novel

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3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  163 ratings  ·  29 reviews
On the surface Herb and Lorna Piper are typically sunny 1950s American adults. Herbs sells Sudebakers to the citizens of Bebbington, a Long Island seaside town, and Lorna is his cheerfully coy and clever wife. Their story seems like an American myth: small-town origins, Jazz Age romance, Depression trials, postwar prosperity. But this book begins with the shocking, wondrou ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published September 15th 1995 by Picador (first published 1988)
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Michelle Rae Anderson
I found Peter Kraft's book Herb 'n' Lorna under my feet on my way to my Grandmother's funeral when I was 14. I was in the back seat of her white Honda Accord, sitting behind my mother who was driving us to the Mormon church where my mother's mother's service was being held later that day. The front of the dust jacket was torn a little on the top, right of center. Kind of like my Grandmother. I carried Herb 'n' Lorna around that day, and took it home with me that night. It gave me something to st ...more
Bill
This was a pretty enjoyable novel, but I didn't like it as much as Kraft's prior work (a series of short novellas collected under the name "Little Follies"). Maybe I didn't like it so much because it was his first full-length novel; perhaps this isn't the best form for this author. Parts of it were sort of infuriating to me, like his spoof of the Marx Brothers (since I'm a Marx Brothers fan, I didn't find it very amusing). There were too many moments/characters in the story that were just too ha ...more
Monica
This is at least the third, or perhaps the fourth time I have read this sweet, wonderfully funny, idiosyncratic book. And it is as much of a pleasure as it was the first time. Peter Leroy tells the story of his grandparents, whose secret he does not discover until after their death. They were the inventers and masters of the art of creating animated erotic jewelry - Lorna the sculptor, Herb the fabricator, each working separately,keeping the other from knowing about it for years for fear of emba ...more
Elizabeth
a hilarious and sexy story about the creators of the erotic art jewelry industry. Herb and Lorna are wonderful characters, I wish I could meet them. this was a great airplane read, i couldn't put it down. except that it's a pretty sexy book and airplane bathrooms are small and just not all that sexy.
Rachel Groves
I read a review that said this book is basically a love story. A guy tells the story of his grandparents and I liked not only the idea what seemed like a great love story with a couple for whom it wasn't always smooth sailing but to see an elderly couple as the young people they once were. Although the odd ingredient here is that the Herb and Lorna both made erotic jewellery I was assured this wasn't an erotic book.

True it's not erotic but there is sex. Sex which doesn't seem to add much to the
...more
Kathleen Maher
I think Eric Kraft wrote this novel before "Flying." Herb and Lorna are the maternal grandparents of "Flying's" hero, Peter Leroy.
Again, the voice was quick and witty; the story often very funny, romantic and strange.
It begins with the Lorna's death, which prompts Peter to tell about his grandparents' life together starting from their births early in the 20th century. The country and climate feel faraway but the characters and their activities are so enduring and inescapably true to USA culture,
...more
David Wrubel
It is difficult to describe Eric Kraft's novels, wherein he explores the life and times of his alter ego, Peter LeRoy, who grew up in Babbington, Long Island, the self proclaimed clam capital of America. But that's not the point.

Often, in fact usually, the episodes in Peter's life - whether in novel or short story form - are told out of sequence. Sometimes way out of sequence. Herb 'n Lorna is the story of how his grandparents met, married, and lived life together. They also have a MOST interest
...more
Tim Roast
This is the first Eric Kraft book I have read. I was intrigued to find out what it would be like after finding out that all his books form part of the Peter Leroy saga - this book being about Peter's maternal grandparents.

The book is written as if it were a historical essay. It delves into family trees and sources evidence from books, films etc. (all fictional evidence I believe) and also includes quotes of a good friend of the title characters too. This made it different in style to any other f
...more
Julia Reed
Don't read this book. I know, it's going to draw you in by promising to be a quirky tale about two people who love each other and don't realize that they're both secretly involved in an illicit folk craft: producing buttons, snuff boxes, and other gentlemen's accessories that depict sexual acts. Lorna is the skilled carver that can bring things to life, Herb is the mechanician who engineers the tiny moving pieces. But outside of this pretty small part of the book, this is your standard, boring, ...more
Colleen
Presented as the biography of the grandparents of a fictional character, this lovely novel is a strangely engaging read. Though the book starts off slow and is a little difficult to really sink into, once the story takes off, it is difficult to put down. Well-written, sweet, funny, and a little naughty, this novel was an unexpectedly enjoyable offering. Herb and Lorna are wonderful characters that I found myself totally invested in- the grandparents any of us would love to have. This story of an ...more
Judy King
Funny how few really different ideas there are for current novels...here's a topic I'd never heard before. On the day of his "Gamma's" funeral, a 30-something grandson is given a packet she'd left for him.

As he looks at the documents and enclosed items, he discovers that both his beloved grandparents have been creating coarse goods (tiny hand-crafted erotic figures -- most mechanically worked to be moveable. Some are arranged to be moved by winding the stem of a pocket watch case.

How these tot
...more
HeavyReader
I like this book very much.

Liz recommended it to me, handed me her copy, in fact, and said I should read it.

It's a love story, written as if it were a work of nonfiction, a biography of the narrator's maternal grandparents. It's a story of love and sex and aging and love and sex and secrets and love.

The writing style is a perfect balance of challenging and accessible. There were even some words I would have looked up, had there been a dictionary at my side.

Some bits were funny, and some bits wer
...more
Stephen Kimber
Loved this book when I read it over 10 years ago but it does not pass my five star test: I have not been able to re-read it. So I really give it 4.5 stars.
Shelley Ettinger
A real pleasure. Very funny, quirky, sweet and charming.
Wayne S.
Since reading this book in maybe 1987 (??) I have never walked out of a used bookstore without taking every copy to be had.

These I have given to many a friend over the years. Some have been puzzled by it, but most have gotten it, and a few have completely fallen like me. I can't recommend it highly enough.

Who it's not for: if you tend to read mostly for plot, definitely skip it.

If, like me, you read for style, for nuanced, multi-dimensional characters and passing details that fascinate and ring
...more
Kate
I found this tongue in cheek story charming. It has a fanciful quality about it, but at the same time nails the way that real couples interact (a code word for sex, or using an inside joke so much that it accidently slips out with other people who are very confused.) I love reading about sex and this story doesn't disappoint; confronting American prudishness head on.
Luci
This was a cute, funny story in the vein of John Updike. This story deal with the secret of the married couple but is also the story of a marriage. A cute fun read.
Ann M.
I didn't hate this, but it wasn't compelling, and I almost quit @ 86%. I rarely abandon books, certainly not that far into them, but I almost did.
Joann Eaton
A young man delves into the life of his grandparents and discovers the secrets they kept from one another for many years. Great book.
Amy
A wonderfully quirky take on America during and in between the war years! I love the portrayal of Herb and Lorna's marriage.
Laura June
Couldn't put this one down! Be warned: while it is about a couple who creates and sells erotic goods, it is NOT an erotic novel.
Ann
Not my favorite Eric Kraft, but definitely worth reading. A young man learns that his grandparents have scandalous pasts.
Mark
The best thing about the book was the continuous will-they, won't-they throughout the book which kept me reading.
Christina
more like 3.75. good, but i kept wondering about the plausibility

Beth
One of my favorite books. A wonderful, funny, quirky love story.
Amy Song
Delightful! Thanks for the recommendation, Nora!
Pam Gross kovitz
Couldn't finish this book.... lost interest
Bernadette
A fun and entertaining read!
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Eric Kraft grew up in Babylon, New York, on the South Shore of Long Island, where he was for a time co-owner and co-captain of a clam boat, which sank. He met or invented the character Peter Leroy while dozing over a German lesson during his first year at Harvard. The following year, he married his muse, Madeline Canning; they have two sons. After earning a Master’s Degree from the Harvard Graduat ...more
More about Eric Kraft...
Little Follies: The Personal History, Adventure, Experiences and Observations of Peter Leroy (So Far) Where Do You Stop?: The Personal History, Adventures, Experiences, and Observations of Peter Leroy The Static Of The Spheres (The Personal History, Adventures, Experiences & Observations Of Peter Leroy) Reservations Recommended Inflating a Dog: The Story of Ella's Lunch Launch

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“Something told her to hide the feeling from Herb. That something, that damned something, was the sense of civilized dignity that is one of our most civilized attributes, the source of so many missed opportunities.” 2 likes
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