“”At first, Oh! seems a satire, a sitcom stripped of its sentiment and foolishness. But it is far more. Mary Robison is trying to show us how the the incredibly complicated dance of family life works.”” —The New Yorker
Those who know Mary Robison’s work will not be surprised that her first novel leaps from one prodigal moment to the next, for as Kenneth Burke has said of this startling writer, “”Robison outguesses the shrewdest reader—even several times on a single page.””
In Oh!, these marvels have their source in a summer’s romp with a madcap Midwestern family flourishing under the eccentric protection of a father like no other. He is the wifeless Mr. Cleveland, now an enthusiast at gardening and insobriety since passing from active service as ruler of his soda–pop and miniature golf domain.
Cleveland’s is the contented life of the man who knows who he is. The same might be said for his motherless children, Mo and Howdy, though they are scarcely children still. The loutish, loafing Mo is, in fact, a young single mother to little Violet.
Like the rest of the Clevelands, Violet is nobody’s fool. For in all their seeming misadventures, the Clevelands are guided by the reliable intelligence of the heart. Beneath the pastel frames of their lives, the Clevelands have modeled a design for living with the unlucky nature of things, a way of being happy in the world.