The Personal History, Adventures, Experiences & Observations of Peter Leroy

Herb íní Lorna (A Love Story)
by Eric Kraft, as Peter Leroy
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A Brief Description from the Publisher

On the surface, Herb and Lorna Piper are typically sunny 1950s American adults. Herb sells Studebakers to the citizens of Babbington, 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, wondrous discovery, made by their grandson Peter Leroy after their death, ďthat my maternal grandparents were involved inóvirtually the creators ofóthe animated erotic jewelry industry.Ē And from that moment the story of Herb and Lorna takes on a tone of mingled awe and delight, propelled by a pair of secrets that dovetail, at the end, into a luscious and bawdy revelation. 

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Very Brief Excerpts from Reviews

A high-spirited romp.
     R. D. Pohl, The Buffalo News
Graceful, complicated, and exhilarating.
     Cathleen Schine, The New York Times Book Review
You have to love it.
     Roberta J. Wahlers, The Milwaukee Journal
Should delight many readers.
     ALA Booklist
A charmer.
     Library Journal
A beautiful book.
     Marc Munroe Dion, The Kansas City Star
A wonderful love story.
     Lisa Jensen, San Francisco Chronicle
Funny, raunchy, and clever.
     Justin Kaplan 
Bawdy, raunchy, and warm. Great fun.
     Susan Sprague, The Trenton Times
Nothing short of brilliant.
     Armistead Maupin 
Wonderfully odd, comically rich.
     Anne Bernays 
A funny, sexy story told with consummate skill.
     Malcolm Jones, Jr., The St. Petersburg Times
Rejoice!
     Walter Kendrick, The Village Voice
The happiest of books--not to mention the sexiest.
     Charles Trueheart, The Washington Post
It restores the blush of youth.
     Barbara Holliday, The Detroit Free Press
You may rediscover giggling.
     Doris Reidy, The Atlanta Journal and Constitution
An exuberant, quirky and charming love story.
     Linda Snow, The Boston Sunday Herald
Wise and humorous, affectionate and witty.
     Publishers Weekly
A classic. Savor it.
     Andrei Codrescu, National Public Radio
You will be chuckling in next to no time.
     Emma Dally, Cosmopolitan (England)
Will charm and enchant its readers.
     Sunderland Echo (England) 
Kraft es, en mi opinion, un maestro.
     Robert Saladrigas, La Vanguardia (Barcelona)

RECOMMENDED BY THE READERíS CATALOG 

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Not-So-Brief Excerpts from Reviews

"A high-spirited romp through four generations of recent American history that may well prove to be the most pleasant surprise of the current literary season. It's hard to recall a more auspicious mainstream debut in recent American fiction. A comedic celebration of human inadvertence and ineptitude, or more properly the triumph of love and art over human folly. A remarkable romance . . . without contemporary parallel . . . an unconditional success on its own terms." 
R. D. Pohl, The Buffalo News

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"A historical farce, a comedy of four generations of happy errors. This very funny novel--as graceful, complicated, and exhilarating as a quadrille--is an appreciation of folly . . . a work of lovely formal artifice. Mr. Kraft has the gift of generosity of vision, and he detects passion, satisfaction and joy in the most mundane activities. Tiny, eccentric gestures of affection, like that of Herb's mechanical man, are something Mr. Kraft himself has perfected, and the book hums and spins and sings with them. Satirical novelists like to poke holes in things; Mr. Kraft sees the holes that are already there and thinks they form intricate designs. He writes about the formal beauty of having fun. The novel is all about sex, and sex, in Herb 'n' Lorna, means everything in life that is good--craft and art and imagination and hard work and humor and friendship and skill and curiosity and loyalty and love. Eric Kraft is an exacting comic novelist whose work is happy and expansive." 
Cathleen Schine, The New York Times Book Review (front page review)

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"This isn't really a biography but a novel in biographical form. But whatever you call it, you have to love it. The charm of Kraft's delightful novel is that despite the strangeness of coarse goods or cork furniture, the reader comes to really like and care about these people. Erotic art or not, you begin to wish that Peter's grandparents were your own." 
Roberta J. Wahlers, The Milwaukee Journal

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"A warm, inventive novel whose quirky humor and typically American optimism should delight many readers." 
ALA Booklist

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"A warm, gently humorous, leisurely story, quite proper throughout; a charmer."
Library Journal

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"A beautiful book that shines with affection and crackles with good writing."
Marc Munroe Dion, The Kansas City Star

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"A whimsical investigation into the past. An exhilarating comic novel that is both marvelously sly and enormously good-natured. A wonderful love story . . . but there is much more to it than that. Loony and beguiling." 
Lisa Jensen, San Francisco Chronicle

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"I loved Eric Kraft's Herb 'n' Lorna. It's funny, raunchy, and clever, a charming story that's also a slice of Americana." 
Justin Kaplan

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"The unlikely premise of this book is a real grabber, and once Kraft gets hold of his audience, he doesn't let go. Bawdy, raunchy, and warm. Great fun.
Susan Sprague, The Trenton Times

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"One all-American joyride of a novel, celebrating the carnal and the corny with equal exuberance. It held me in its thrall from the moment the first box was opened. Eric Kraft is nothing short of brilliant."
Armistead Maupin

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"I was ravished by this wonderfully odd, comically rich story of love through thin times and thick in America." 
Anne Bernays

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"A funny, sexy story told with consummate skill. However high its sexual content, it is always about love, and the twists and turns, logical and illogical, that love takes between two lives bound together down the years. Reality gets stood on its head. Everything works out. Love is a charm. Herb 'n' Lorna is funny, readable, carefully plotted and cleverly told. You don't get this lucky that often."
Malcolm Jones, The St. Petersburg Times

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"Rejoice! Peter's back, with a self-contained novel this time: the story of his maternal grandparents. Joyful sex suffuses Herb 'n' Lorna, making it an oddity in these just-say-no days . . . sex indeed, but love and friendship, too, every sort of pleasure offered and taken. Kraft says yes to it all. Peter Leroy couldn't have staged a more delightful comeback." 
Walter Kendrick, The Village Voice

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"The kind of sweetness and passion and laughter Kraft draws from these ordinary lives is rare and endearing. Herb 'n' Lorna is the happiest of books--not to mention the sexiest.
Charles Trueheart, The Washington Post

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"This is such an amusing, affectionate, and artfully whimsical novel that it restores the blush of youth even as it humorously caroms through a carnival of American culture." 
Barbara Holliday, The Detroit Free Press

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"Herb and Lorna are characters to root for. . . . You may rediscover giggling . . . as well as a consciousness-raising realization that there is no expiration date on human sexuality. Even for grandmas and grandpas." 
Doris Reidy, The Atlanta Journal and Constitution

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"An exuberant, quirky and charming love story about Peter Leroy's grandparents, two of the most endearing characters to somersault onto the contemporary literary scene. Readers of Kraft's books are likely to think of John Cheever. Kraft, like Cheever, treats contemporary suburbia with humor and irreverence, although Kraft is more generous in his portrayal of his characters." 
Linda Snow, The Boston Sunday Herald

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"Kraft keeps Herb 'n' Lorna at the heart of his wise and humorous, affectionate and witty novel. He weaves their unusual and startling avocation so seamlessly into their love story that readers will wonder what the fuss was all about, even as they weep to bid the pair goodbye." 
Publishers Weekly

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"There aren't enough adjectives to praise this delightfully generous storyteller. Herb 'n' Lorna is a classic. Savor it.
Andrei Codrescu, National Public Radio

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"A warm and endearing tale told with such irony and humour that you will be chuckling in next to no time." 
Emma Dally, Cosmopolitan (England)

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"This happy, funny, but above all, gentle novel will charm and enchant its readers as much as the frankly startling ingenuity of Herb 'n' Lorna's creations delight its characters." 
Sunderland Echo (England)

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"Si la gran ficción sólo lo es cuando logra aniquilar y transfigurar la realidad, no reproduciéndola fielmente, Herb y Lorna conquista precisamente su soberanía al emanciparse de lo real por la vía del elemento extravagente, que incide no en la forma y síen la anécdota y los personajes. Emplazado en ese territorio ambiguo de las mudanzas, iluminado todo el relato por un haz de ironía amarga, Kraft es, en mi opinión, un maestro. En qué consiste su maestría? En la sutileza del equilibrio entre la huella de cruda realidad que cruza el libro y su paulatino avance hacia la resolución disparatada, con lo que resalta en tonos morales el contenido absurdo, casi siempre desconocido, de toda existencia anodina. Incluida, por supuesto, la de Peter Leroy." 
Robert Saladrigas, La Vanguardia (Barcelona)

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"One of the undiscovered gems of recent American fiction: a romance of uncommon tenderness and complexity, a work of prodigious comic invention--and a dman sexy book. Some two decades ago, a boy named Peter leroy appeared in a daydream to novelist Eric Kraft. Around him Kraft invented the fictitious Long Island town of Babbington ("Clam Capital of the World"), a world of seafood obsessions, amorous twins, rascally childhood pals, and brilliant pop-culture pastiches that cross from Americana into erotica. 
"Part Booth Tarkington, part Philip Roth, equal parts Proust and Scientific American, Kraft's greatest novel concerns Peter's grandparents, a seemingly bland suburban couple who led a secret life as the nation's premier artisans of 'animated erotic jewelry.' Enjoy the book for its kaleidoscopic detail and its laugh-out-loud parodies of historical writing, old radio shows, and science magazines--or simply enjoy the rare love story that affirms the pleasures of married life and a healthy sexual curiosity." 
Jim Ridley, Nashville Scene, May 22, 1997

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Comments from readers:

It seems to me to be the best-hearted book that I've ever read. 
Chris Grimm

I think it's one of the funniest and most heart-warming books ever written.

Goran Jartin, Varberg, Sweden 

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DO YOU HAVE YOUR COPY?

Herb íníLorna is published in paperback by Picador, a division of St. Martin's Press, at $13.00.

You should be able to find Herb 'n' Lornaat your local bookstore, but you can also order it by phone from:

Bookbound at 1-800-959-7323 
Book Call at 1-800-255-2665 (worldwide 1-203-966-5470)
You can order it on the Web from Amazon.com Books.

Libros en Español: Herb íníLorna is also available in Spanish from Ediciones Destino

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Copyright © 1994 by Eric Kraft

Herb íníLorna  is a work of fiction. The characters, incidents, dialogues, settings, and businesses portrayed in it are products of the author's imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. 

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. 

First published by Crown Publishers, Inc., 201 East 50th Street, New York, New York 10022. Member of the Crown Publishing Group. 

Now available in paperback from Picador USA, a division of St. Martin's Press. 

THE PERSONAL HISTORY
LITTLE FOLLIES
HERB íNíLORNA
RESERVATIONS RECOMMENDED
WHERE DO YOU STOP?
WHAT A PIECE OF WORK I AM
AT HOME WITH THE GLYNNS
LEAVING SMALLíS HOTEL
PASSIONATE SPECTATOR
MAKING MY SELF
A TOPICAL GUIDE

CLASSIFIEDS