The Splendid Things We Planned: A Family Portrait by Blake BaileyThe Splendid Things We Planned: A Family Portrait by Blake Bailey

The Splendid Things We Planned: A Family Portrait

byBlake Bailey

Paperback | February 24, 2015

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Meet the Baileys: Burck, a prosperous lawyer once voted the American Legion’s “Citizen of the Year” in his tiny hometown of Vinita, Oklahoma; his wife Marlies, who longs to recapture her festive life in Greenwich Village as a fetching young German immigrant, fresh off the boat; their addled son Scott, who repeatedly crashes the family Porsche; and Blake, the younger son, trying to find a way through the storm. “You’re gonna be just like me,” a drunken Scott taunts him. “You’re gonna be worse.”

Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, Blake Bailey has been hailed as “addictively readable” (New York Times) and praised for his ability to capture lives “compellingly and in harrowing detail” (Time). The Splendid Things We Planned is his darkly funny account of growing up in the shadow of an erratic and increasingly dangerous brother, an exhilarating and sometimes harrowing story that culminates in one unforgettable Christmas.

Blake Bailey is the author of biographies of John Cheever, Richard Yates, and Charles Jackson, and he is at work on the authorized biography of Philip Roth. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; the winner of a National Book Critics Circle Award and the ...
Title:The Splendid Things We Planned: A Family PortraitFormat:PaperbackDimensions:272 pages, 8.23 × 5.51 × 0.67 inPublished:February 24, 2015Publisher:WW NortonLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0393350568

ISBN - 13:9780393350562


Editorial Reviews

Enthralling… Achingly honest… A fearless, deeply felt and often frightening book…[The Splendid Things We Planned] arrives at a certain undeniable truth about how we are capable of feeling love for people we would never choose to be around. — Dave Itzkoff (New York Times Book Review)[A] vivid, tender book [written with] humor and frankness…[and] a novelist's flair… A sleek, dramatic, authentically lurid story fueled by a candid fraternal rivalry. — Janet Maslin (New York Times)Bailey maintains an almost impossible balance between stringent assessment…and a kind of unflappable empathy… The book is as clear-eyed and heartbreaking as any of his acclaimed biographies…yet every bit as compelling. — Kate Tuttle (Boston Globe)In SPQR, her wonderful concise history, Mary Beard unpacks the secrets of the city’s success with a crisp and merciless clarity that I have not seen equaled anywhere else…. We tend to think of the Romans as coarser successors to the Greeks. Yet Beard, who doubles as a Cambridge professor and a television lecturer of irresistible salty charm, shows us how the Roman Republic got underway at almost the same time as the Athenian democracy. And it evolved into just the kind of mixed system that sophisticated commentators like Aristotle and Polybius approved of. — Clark Collis (Entertainment Weekly)Manages to do justice to the tedium of chronic dysfunction without becoming tedious itself…Compelling because of Bailey's emotional acuity as well as his wit, which emerges as an adaptive coping mechanism—a way to survive despair by streaking it with light. — Leslie Jamison (San Francisco Chronicle)Captivating… Bailey maintains a lacerating tone, and examines with the coolness of a detective the staggering things that we can do to the people we love. — The New YorkerA masterful new chronicle…. Beard is a sure-footed guide through arcane material that, in other hands, would grow tedious. Sifting myth from fact in dealing with the early history of the city, she enlivens—and deepens—scholarly debates by demonstrating how the Romans themselves shaped their legendary beginnings to short-term political ends…. Exemplary popular history, engaging but never dumbed down, providing both the grand sweep and the intimate details that bring the distant past vividly to life. — Brendan Driscoll (Booklist (starred))Where SPQR differs most from the standard history is in its clear-sighted honesty…. Beard tells this story precisely and clearly, with passion and without technical jargon…. SPQR is a grim success story, but one told with wonderful flair. — Trisha Ping (BookPage)[Beard] is no myth builder; she is a scholar who reaches down-to-earth conclusions based on her years of dedication to her subject…. She is able to step back to see the entire Roman world…. She shows us how to engage with the history, culture, and controversies that made Rome—and why it still matters. Beard's enthusiasm for her subject is infectious…. Lovers of Roman history will revel in this work, and new students will quickly become devotees. — Elyse Moody (Elle)Beard does precisely what few popularizers dare to try and plenty of dons can’t pull off: She conveys the thrill of puzzling over texts and events that are bound to be ambiguous, and she complicates received wisdom in the process. Her magisterial new history of Rome, SPQR…is no exception…. The ancient Romans, Beard shows, are relevant to people many centuries later who struggle with questions of power, citizenship, empire, and identity. — Publishers Weekly[Fun] helps define what sets Beard apart as commentator and what sets SPQR apart from other histories of Rome. Though she here claims that 50 years of training and study have led up to SPQR, Beard wears her learning lightly. As she takes us through the brothels, bars, and back alleys where the populus Romanus left their imprint, one senses, above all, that she is having fun. — David SedarisMonumental…. A triumphant Roman read that is sure to appear on school curricula and holiday wishlists alike. — Dani ShapiroAn extraordinary memoir, written with the love and rage of a brother and son, and controlled with the skill of a master biographer. — Geoff DyerOne of the most sensitive, intelligent and affecting books I’ve read in a long time. The Splendid Things We Planned is the story of an American family, and of two sons whose lives went in very different directions. Though a memoir, it is, perhaps unsurprisingly, reminiscent of the fiction of Bailey’s former subjects Richard Yates and John Cheever in its compassion, its lack of sentimentality and the rich, detailed prose in which it is written. — Adelle WaldmanBlake Bailey’s remarkable memoir…is a reminder that the best books (fiction or otherwise) impart a sense of shared experience, and to read them is to participate in humanity, not retreat from it. … He has also done for [his brother] what he did for John Cheever: He has written a person to life so that others might know him, too. — Gregg LaGambina (The Onion A.V. Club)Splendid … often laugh-out-loud hilarious … [Bailey has] discovered an accessible and smart tragicomic tone for his family’s tale. — Debra Gwartney (The Oregonian)