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God Of Nightmares

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  107 ratings  ·  14 reviews
In 1941, twenty-three-year-old Helen Bynum leaves home for the first time and sets out from rural New York to find her Aunt Lulu, an aging actress in New Orleans. There she finds a life of passion and adventure, possibilities and choices. Falling in with a bohemian group of intellectuals, she discovers romance and sex, friendship and risk, her world mirrored by the steamy ...more
Published June 1st 1991 by Warner Books (NY) (first published 1990)
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There are certain things in books that seem to irrationally turn me off of them. Books that take place on ships is one of them (with some recent exceptions). New Orleans as a setting seems to be another. I don't know if it is the setting itself, or maybe it is an alien mindset to my own that holds sway in writers who either live there or place their novels there. I don't really know. I suspect I personally wouldn't enjoy visiting New Orleans, and that is fine. It is one less place I will never g ...more
An easy, enjoyable read, BUT I have no idea what the novel is actually about. I kept waiting for something to happen, for the characters to realize something or to make me feel or realize something. That never happened. In the end I don't know what to feel about it. In many ways the characters and situations were artificial; there was simply no depth, no aim. Still I can't say I hated the book. Maybe it's because there was a sense of possibility or somehing like that. The ending was really rushe ...more
Barbara Rhine
This book, the tale of a girl once she leaves home and gets to New Orleans, with its debauchery and sexual secrets, is full of both insight and a sly humor. Here is just one example, as she describes her mother's penchant for being full of easy slogans about how to live:

(Describing the narrator's father) "'He simply didn't know how to grin and bear it as we all must.' By the time she spoke those words, I had begun to believe grinning was a way of not bearing it."

Then read the mother's final let
The God of Nightmares (1990) is the sixth and last novel by Paula Fox. I’ve read three in a row, all great writing: one outstanding (The Widow’s Children, see review), the other middling (Desperate Characters, see review), and this outstanding novel. Fox’s ultra-realist take on the human condition isn’t for everyone, but her writing is. I’m a fan!

It is 1941 and we meet twenty-two year old Helen Bynum, who lives with her mother, Beth, near Poughkeepsie, NY. They still live on the old horse farm w
Laura J. W.
I fell in love with this book — I love all of Paula Fox’s books that I’ve found so far — each one is special in its own way — they are treasures to be found; they are treasures to be shared.

“Don’t pay much attention to what people say. Then, someday, you’ll find out what you think yourself. Try to go to what is new as innocently as you can — let the surprise of it take you first.” – from Page 37

Everyone should approach a book they’ve never read before with this innocence — I made myself at home
Cecil Paddywagon
Much to my disappointment, only remnants of Paula Fox's genius can be found in God of Nightmares, a straightforward example of New Orleans kitsch with a high-school-reading-list quality to it.

Just to be clear: Fox's genius is not, and could never be, under suspicion. Desperate Characters will forever be a great novel. This one, however, seems to have been written in the hopes of cornering a certain regional bookstore market.
Peinture psycho sociologique attachante, même si le personnage principal brille par son manque de caractère !
Plutôt lisible pour un roman psychologique. Des personnages prisonniers de leur histoire familiale (le père disparu, la mère traumatisée et névrosée), de leur époque(le début de la deuxième guerre mondiale), de leur milieu social (l'amérique petite bourgeoise). Une certaine acuité néanmoins dans la vision des personnages, l'atmosphère de la Nouvelle Orléans, moins étouffante que le milieu d'origine de l'héroïne. Il manque au roman ce qui manque aux personnages : de la légèreté, de la distance, u ...more
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I think of Fox as a Young Adult author. I believe this may have been her first adult novel. It's a wonderful story about a young just-out-of-college woman in New Orleans trying to get her journalism career started. she shares a flat with a gay man who drinks a nightly cocktail which may contain absinthe and which causes major nightmares--his theory is that if you get all the bad stuff out while you sleep, your waking life will be better.
Paula Fox writes beautifully, & I liked the book, partly because I like New Orleans. But I felt abused by the author because of the way she manipulates the end.
I want to read more Fox adult novels.

"Showing herself her own virtues” 107
“She must have known, with the utterly indifferent knowledge of a drunk…” 109
“… that grisly fascination medical stuff has – the inside of the body, that has no self.” 121
Neat concept, very enjoyable
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Paula Fox is an American author of novels for adults and children and two memoirs. Her novel The Slave Dancer (1973) received the Newbery Medal in 1974; and in 1978, she was awarded the Hans Christian Andersen Medal. More recently, A Portrait of Ivan won the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis in 2008.

A teenage marriage produced a daughter, Linda, in 1944. However, given the tumultuous relationship wit
More about Paula Fox...

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“She'd been noticing the feet of colored people ever since she'd come south. "They've been pressed down to the earth so hard," she said. "And the weight of what they carry tortures their feet.” 3 likes
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