By September 7, 2012 2 Comments Read More →

Serendipity in the Stacks #9: The Handyman

I can’t believe I haven’t written about this book sooner. It’s always been one of my favorites in numerous categories: good for book groups, surprising sure bet, deceptively literary.

The Handyman by Carolyn See is one of those hidden gems in the stacks. It’s the story of a painter’s journey to international acclaim, but before he gets there, he needs to find the will and inspiration to paint.

As The Handyman opens, readers learn that in 2027, Robert Hampton is an artist dubbed the visionary of the New Century. Flashback to the mid-’90s and readers learn that Bob Hampton is a Paris art school dropout returning to Los Angeles. Discouraged of ever being an artist, Bob hires himself out as a handyman. While he’s not very good at fixing broken things, he’s an exceptional listener; he’s patient, kind, and compassionate. Readers begin to see how Bob is gently fixing the lives of those who hire him and also where he will find inspiration for his early artistic works.

Fans of books that explore the artist life will appreciate this novel about one painter’s beginnings. They will also enjoy the fortunate ways people drift in and out of each others lives without completely understanding the influence everyone has on one another.

There’s a reading guide here, but discussion groups won’t need prompting to start talking about how life can inform the creation of art.



About the Author:

Kaite Mediatore Stover refuses to give up her day job as director of readers' services for The Kansas City Public Library to read tarot cards professionally or be the merch girl/roadie for her husband's numerous bands. Follow her on Twitter at @MarianLiberryan.

2 Comments on "Serendipity in the Stacks #9: The Handyman"

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  1.' Jeanne Sapir says:

    Wow, thank you for reminding me of this book! I read it years ago and loved it! I do remember a lot of the scenes, which is a sign that a book made an impression. I will now have to go back and re-read it. What a great re-discovery!

  2. Thanks for your sharing. “Serendipity in the Stacks #9: The Handyman” – interesting title Kaite. Another good post Kaite.

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