Waller, James Robert: Slow Waltz at Cedar Bend
(researched by Martha Wilson)

Assignment 1: Bibliographical Description
1 First edition publication information (publisher, place, date, etc.)
The book was first published in New York, New York in 1993 by Warner Books. Copyright 1993 by Robert James Waller Source: inspection of First Edition RLIN: http://eureka.rlg.org/cgi-bin/zgate
2 First edition published in cloth, paper, or both? If both, simultaneous or staggered?
The First Edition is published in cloth binding. Source: inspection of First Edition Help documentation for Assignment 1
3 JPEG image of cover art from first edition, if available
4 Pagination
104 leaves [9]2-11(1)13-19(1)21-33(1)35-56(1) 58-64(1)66-75(1)77-116(1)118-126 (1)128-140(1)142-153(1)155-167(1) 169-178(1)180-197(3) Source: inspection of First Edition
5 Edited or Introduced? If so, by whom?
The book is not edited or introduced. Source: inspection of First Edition
6 Illustrated? If so, by whom?
The book contains no illustrations. Source: inspection of First Edition
7 JPEG image of sample illustration, if available
8 General physical appearance of book (Is the physical presentation of the text attractive? Is the typography readable? Is the book well printed?)
The physical presentation of the text is very attractive. The size of the print is very pleasant, making the text appealing to read. The book is in almost perfect condition, as there are no stains or tears on the pages of the book. Each of the pages is numbered, with the exception of the pages where a new chapter begins. Page numbers are italicized and located on the upper right-hand side of the page, about 12 mm in from the top of the page. The book contains no illustrations. The first letter of the first word in chapters is in upper case letters with a bold, cursive font. It is clear by the fine condition of the book that is has not been read extensively by its former owners. Book size: 195mm x 130mm Text size: 150mm x 86mm Size of type: 90R Type Style: Serif Margins: more than Ω in. sized margins There is no type description noted on verso of title page or colophon. Source: inspection of First Edition Gaskell, A New Introduction to Bibliography (1972, p.9)
9 JPEG image of sample chapter page, if available
10 Paper (Assess the original quality of the paper used for the book. Is the paper in the copy or copies you examined holding up physically over time?)
The paper used for this first edition novel is relatively thick, great quality paper. It is beige in color. There is no yellowing of the pages due to aging, and there are no tears on the pages. The condition of the paper is excellent, and the same paper stock is used throughout. Source: inspection of First Edition
11 Description of binding(s)
Trade cloth binding. The front and back covers of the book are olive green cloth. The front cover is void of any writing or illustrations. The spine of the book is dark brown cloth. The spine contains the author's name and title name stamped in gold as they appear on the dust jacket of the book. The publisher's name and crest appear at the bottom of the spine. There are endpapers that are the same olive green color as the front cover of the book. Source: inspection of First Edition Gaskell, A New Introduction to Bibliography (1972, p.238, 241-244)
12 Transcription of title page
Recto: SLOW WALTZ IN CEDAR BEND | ROBERT JAMES WALLER | WARNER BOOKS | A Time Warner Company Verso: Publisher's note: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the pro- duct of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental | Copyright1993 by Robert James Waller | All rights reserved. | Warner Books, Inc., 1271 Avenue of the Americas, | New York, NY 10020 | A Time Warner Company | Printed in the United States of America | First Printing: November 1993 | 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 | LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOGING-IN-PUBLICATION DATA | Waller, Robert James, 1939- | Slow Waltz in Cedar Bend / Robert James Waller. | p. cm. | ISBN 0-446-51653-8 | I. Title | PS3573.A4347S57 1993 | 813' .54-dc20 93-15246 | CIP | Book design by Giorgetta Bell McRee Source: inspection of First Edition Gaskell, A New Introduction to Bibliography (1972, p. 324-328)
13 JPEG image of title page, if available
14 Manuscript Holdings
I was unable to locate the manuscript holdings for this novel. Source: RLIN http://eureka.rlg.org/cgi-bin/zgate
15 Other (typograpical information from title page, etc.)
There are seven quotes from different newspapers and magazines across the country on the back cover of the dust jacket. Each highly praises the book. The front cover of the dust jacket says basically the same things as the title page: author's name, "bestselling author of The Bridges of Madsion County," and the title of the book. There is an illustration of an abstract painting that resembles trees, a road, and the blurred image of two people walking in the distance.
Assignment 2: Publication and Performance History
1 Did the original publisher issue the book in more than one edition? If so, briefly describe distinguishing features of each (illustrations, cover art, typography, etc.); if not, enter N/A
Warner Books issued a paperback edition of the book in 1994. The first edition and the 1994 edition differ in both pagination and size. The first contains 197 pages and is 20 centimeters long. The 1994 edition contains 227 pages and is only 18 centimeters long. Sources: WorldCat(VIRGO), WorldCat(WEB), Whitaker's Books in Print--UK (WEB)
2 JPEG image of cover art from one subsequent edition, if available
3 JPEG image of sample illustration from one subsequent edition, if available
4 How many printings or impressions of the first edition?
The first printing took place in November of 1993, producing 1.5 million copies of the book. I was unable to find the exact numbers of the second and third printings, but by the fourth printing in April of 1994, there were 2,031,000 copies of the book in print. Source: Publisher's Weekly (8/9/93, 9/13/93, 4/11/94)
5 Editions from other publishers? If so, list their dates and publishers; if not, enter N/A
Slow Waltz in Cedar Bend was published by a number of other pubishers: Bath: Chivers Press, 1993 1995 (243p. 25cm) London: Mandarin, 1993 1994 (208p.) London: Heinemann, 1993 1994 (197p.) Thorndike, Me: Thorndike Press, 1993 (243p. 23cm) Source: WorldCat(VIRGO) and (WEB),Whitaker's Books in Print--UK (WEB)
6 Last date in print?
As of 1999, there were 2 editions still in print: 2 Warner Editions Source: WorldCat, Books in Print
7 Total copies sold? (source and date of information?)
By 11/93, 1,978,342 copies of the book had been sold. Source: Publisher's Weekly (3/7/94), Bowker Annual, 1994--39th Edition (p.597)
8 Sales figures by year? (source and date of information?)
unavailable
9 Advertising copy (transcribe significant excerpts, briefly identify where ads were placed)
There was a full-page advertisement in the New York Times Book Review in October of 1993 which read "Where do you go after Madison County? Cedar Bend," in bold print at the top of the page. Under that, there is an image of the book (the same front page as the first edition). Under that, in a much smaller print, is typed, " A Warner Hardcover Available Wherever Books Are Sold." There was another full page advertisement in a June '93 issue of Publisher's Weekly, which showed the image of the book (looking exactly like the front page of the first edition) with a small description of Waller's past success with his first bestseller, The Bridges of Madison County. The advertisement fills a full page, which is attached to another page with further ads for upcoming books published by Warner Books. Sources: New York Times Book Review (10/93), Publisher's Weekly (6/93)
10 JPEG image of sample advertisement, if available
A21019991012165657.jpg
11 Other promotion
In early May of 1993, Warner Books announced Slow Waltz in Cedar Bend as a new title to be featured in early November, and in late May, Waller appeared on "The Oprah Winfrey Show." Source: Publisher's Weekly (5/3/93, 5/31/93), New York Times Book Review
12 Performances in other media? If so, list media, date, title, production information; if not, enter N/A
Audio: Berverly Hills, Ca: Dove Audio, 1993. (Four sound cassettes--5 hours) unabridged, read by Robert James Waller Newport Beach, Ca: Books on Tape, 1994 (Five sound cassettes--5 hours) read by Alexander Adams Slow Waltz was placed at #5 on Publisher's Weekly's Audio Bestsellers List on 1/3/94 and was #6 on the list on 2/7/94 Eric Roth adopted the book for the screen and, in 1999, he was working on an original screenplay with Francis Coppola. Source: WorldCat, Publisher's Weekly (1/3/94, 2/7/94), http://screenwriter.com/insider/erothbio.html
13 Translations? If translated, give standard bibliographic information for each translation. If none, enter N/A
T'ai-pei shih: Huang kuan wen hsueh ch'u pan yu hsien kung ssu, 1995 [Chinese] 205p, 21cm. Soul T'ukpyolsi: Singonsa, 1994 [Korean] 271p, 20cm. Buenos Aires: Atlantida, 1996 [Spanish] 213p, 18cm. Tokyo: Bungei Shunju, 1994 [Japanese] 242p, 20cm. 1997 [Japanese] 264p, 16cm. Frassinelli, 1994 [Italian] 208p, 20cm. Oslo: Gyldenal Norsk Forlag, 1994 [Norweigian] 174p, 22cm. Budapest: Uj Esely Kiado, 1995 [Hungarian] 224p, 21cm. Barcelona: Biblioteca de Bosillo, 1995 [Spanish] 258p, 19cm. Paris: A. Michel, 1996 1995 [French] 253p, 23cm. Bratislava: Slovensky spisovatel', 1996 1993 [Slovak] 174p, 21cm. Rio de Janeiro: Relume Sumara, 1994 [Portuguese] 229p. Stockholm: ManPocket, 1995 1993 [Swedish] 273p, 18cm. Porto: Edicoes A.S.A. 1996 1993 [Portuguese] 216p, 20cm. Denmark: Schonberg, 1994 1993 [Danish] 214p, 21cm. Munchen: Goldmann, 1995 [German] 249p, 19cm. Munchun: Goldmann Verlag, 1995 [German] 249p, 20cm. Utrecht: Het Spectrum, 1994 1993 [Dutch] 240p, 20cm. Reykjavik: Vaka-Helgafell, 1995 [Icelandic] 230p, 21 cm. Porvoo: Werner Sderdtrom Osakeyhtio, 1994 1993 [Finnish] 210p, 21cm. Praha: Argo, 1996 [Cesky] 137p, 20cm. Hsiang-Kang: Huang kuan ch'u pan she, 1995 [Chinese] 205p, 19cm. Barcelona: Ediciones B, 1994 [Spanish] 215p, 24cm. Warszawa: Proszynki i s-ka, 1995 1993 [Polish] 174p, 21cm. Buenos Aires: Editorial Atlantida, 1994 [Spanish] 242p, 23cm. Source: WorldCat (WEB)
14 Serialization? If serialized, give standard bibliographic information for serial publication. If none, enter N/A
An excerpt of Waller's novel appeared in a January '93 issue of "Cosmopolitan"
15 Sequels/Prequels? Give standard bibliographic information for each. If none, enter N/A
There was no prequel to the book, and as of 1999, there is no sequel.
Assignment 3: Biographical Sketch of the Author
1 Paste your biographical sketch here (maximum 500 words)
[For biographical overview, see Carey Karpick's entry on The Bridges of Madison County] After Robert James Waller's publication of The Bridges of Madison County in 1992, and before his publication of Slow Waltz in Cedar Bend in 1993, Waller received much public attention. He was interviewed on National Public Radio in January of 1993, he appeared on the "Oprah Winfrey Show," and he published an excerpt of his novel in the January '93 issue of "Cosmopolitan." In the midst of this time of widespread popular attention, Waller took a ten-day break from his busy schedule to write his 1993 bestseller, Slow Waltz in Cedar Bend. After only one week on the shelves, this novel stole number two on "Publisher's Weekly's" best-seller list. His novel tells the story of an unsatisfied and free-spirited university professor named Michael Tillman, who lusts over and eventually falls in love with Jellie Braden, the wife of one of his colleagues. After researching Waller's life before his writing the novel, one finds that there are obvious similarities between Waller's life experience as a professor and that of Michael Tillman. Waller began teaching at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls as a professor of management, but was promoted to dean of the business school there in 1979. He was known to both his students and associates as "a hippie stuck in the sixties?who wore blue jeans and cowboy boots." This is the exact image that a reader has of Michael Tillman while reading Slow Waltz. Ultimately, Waller's teaching experience at The University of Northern Iowa did not work out. In 1985, he experienced an extreme anxiety attack, causing him to step down from his position as dean and recover his position as a regular professor. Unfortunately, Waller was unsatisfied with his job as professor, as he found himself frustrated with the lack of enthusiasm marked by his students. In 1991, he left the university. Slow Waltz in Cedar Bend was Waller's sixth published work, but only his second novel. It was also his second book published by Warner Books. Warner has also published each of Waller's subsequent publications, including a book of photography, a book of essays, and two novels. Robert James Waller is a small-town man who writes with ease about small-town life. He knows the way that these towns work, which has allowed him to write successfully about the idea of the small town that so many Americans dream about. He grew up in Rockford, Iowa, a town home to less than one thousand people. He wears Stetson hats, drives his own pickup truck, has four border collies, loves the silence of the country, wears flannel shirts, and loves drinking beers and shooting pool. Walller married his long-time wife Georgia in 1962, after she stole his heart at a dance in Iowa City, Iowa. They were married for 35 years, and suddenly in 1997, Robert James Waller revealed to his wife that he had been having an affair and had fallen in love with the Waller's landscaper, Linda Bow. The divorce with Georgia Waller was finalized in August of 1997 and was first revealed in September of 1997 in Texas Monthly magazine.
Assignment 4: Reception History
1 Paste contemporary reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
Most reviews of this novel comment on the similarity between Slow Waltz in Cedar Bend and Waller's previous best-seller, The Bridges of Madison County. The reviews commonly claim that there seems to be a systematic formula used in the writing of these two novels, a method to success incorporating romantic language, adulterous sex, and a promoted persona of the author himself. Although many of the reviewers find this formula contrived, dishonest, and sappy, many applaud and praise Waller's immaculate skill in making passionate and true love transform a fantasty to a reality for the reader. At close inspection of the reviews, it seems there is a correlation between the type of review written about the novel and the publication in which the review is published. Most of the reviews praising the book were from journals dedicated to literature, like Library Journal, Bookmark, Book of the Month CLub News, and Bookmark Review, which is a publication by Warner Books, Slow Waltz' publisher. On the other hand, the more critical and derisive reviews appear in publications that generally publish more about world events than literature. Publications like Time, Newsweek, and quickly draw attention to Waller's alleged formula and the dishonest language in the novel. Important Reviews: Applauding review: "A story that speaks to our own dreams and a saga that awakens our sense of untapped possibilities, Slow Waltz in Cedar Bend tells us the feelings that we long for are genuine and better still, the chance we will find them is real." Bookmark Review Negative Review: "This is boohoo literature, standard bodice-ripper mush, and the only interesting question in such cases is, How much is cynical calculation and how much does the author believe? The guess here is that at least some belief is required, or successful trash would be easier to manufacture." Time 11/1/93 Representative Reviews: "This book and Bridges of Madison County are out of the same mold. But the self-conscious preachiness and gaseous prose of the first book have been toned down. Some. What's more, by cutting back and forth from Iowa to India, the story moves along well. As befits an author whose first novel has millions of copies in print and is still going strong, Mr. Waller may be said to have lightened up. Some. To say after two novels that Mr. Waller has developed a formula might be unfair,?what can be said for the time being, Mr. Waller is sticking with a winning combination." New York Times Book Review 10/31/93 "He [Waller] has left his formula for success as intact as humanly possible without actually resorting to carbon paper. What Slow Waltz in Cedar Bend makes clear is that Robert James Waller is not an accident but a crafty and clever writer who has touched a nerve of wistful romantic longing in his audience and is not about to take his hand away." Los Angeles Times 10/24/93 Cumulative Reviews: BOOKLIST 11/15/93 p.581 BOOKS MAGAZINE 1/95 p.12 BOOKWORLD 10/24/93 p.2 BOOK-OF-THE-MONTH CLUB NEWS DES MOINES SUNDAY REGISTER ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY 10/15/93 p.62 GRAND RAPIDS PRESS KIRKUS REVIEWS 8/1/93 p.965 LOS ANGELES TIMES BOOK REVIEW 10/24/93 p.15 LIBRARY JOURNAL 9/1/93 p.224 NEWSWEEK 9/20/93 p. 65 NEWSWEEK 11/1/93 p. 73 NEW YORK TIMES 11/25/93 p. C20 NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW 10/31/93 p. 12 OBSERVER (London) 12/12/93 p.21 PUBLISHERS WEEKLY 8/30/93 p.73 SPECTATOR 11/27/93 p. 51 TIME 11/1/93 p.95 TIME WARNER BOOKMARK (http://www.tbookmark.com) THE TIMESLITERARY SUPPLEMENT 12/24/93 p.17 TRIBUNE BOOKS (Chicago Tribune) 11/7/93 p.7 WORLD AND I 3/94 p.322 WOMANS JOURNAL 9/95 p.30 Successful Sources: Readers Guide to Periodical Literature 1994 Book Review Digest (VIRGO) Book Review Digest (WEB) Book Review Index Unsuccessful Sources: Twentieth Century Literature Criticism Contemporary Literary Criticism
2 Paste subsequent reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
Most reviews of this novel comment on the similarity between Slow Waltz in Cedar Bend and Waller's previous best-seller, The Bridges of Madison County. The reviews commonly claim that there seems to be a systematic formula used in the writing of these two novels, a method to success incorporating romantic language, adulterous sex, and a promoted persona of the author himself. Although many of the reviewers find this formula contrived, dishonest, and sappy, many applaud and praise Waller's immaculate skill in making passionate and true love transform a fantasty to a reality for the reader. At close inspection of the reviews, it seems there is a correlation between the type of review written about the novel and the publication in which the review is published. Most of the reviews praising the book were from journals dedicated to literature, like Library Journal, Bookmark, Book of the Month CLub News, and Bookmark Review, which is a publication by Warner Books, Slow Waltz' publisher. On the other hand, the more critical and derisive reviews appear in publications that generally publish more about world events than literature. Publications like Time, Newsweek, and quickly draw attention to Waller's alleged formula and the dishonest language in the novel. Important Reviews: Applauding review: "A story that speaks to our own dreams and a saga that awakens our sense of untapped possibilities, Slow Waltz in Cedar Bend tells us the feelings that we long for are genuine and better still, the chance we will find them is real." Bookmark Review Negative Review: "This is boohoo literature, standard bodice-ripper mush, and the only interesting question in such cases is, How much is cynical calculation and how much does the author believe? The guess here is that at least some belief is required, or successful trash would be easier to manufacture." Time 11/1/93 Representative Reviews: "This book and Bridges of Madison County are out of the same mold. But the self-conscious preachiness and gaseous prose of the first book have been toned down. Some. What's more, by cutting back and forth from Iowa to India, the story moves along well. As befits an author whose first novel has millions of copies in print and is still going strong, Mr. Waller may be said to have lightened up. Some. To say after two novels that Mr. Waller has developed a formula might be unfair,?what can be said for the time being, Mr. Waller is sticking with a winning combination." New York Times Book Review 10/31/93 "He [Waller] has left his formula for success as intact as humanly possible without actually resorting to carbon paper. What Slow Waltz in Cedar Bend makes clear is that Robert James Waller is not an accident but a crafty and clever writer who has touched a nerve of wistful romantic longing in his audience and is not about to take his hand away." Los Angeles Times 10/24/93 Cumulative Reviews: BOOKLIST 11/15/93 p.581 BOOKS MAGAZINE 1/95 p.12 BOOKWORLD 10/24/93 p.2 BOOK-OF-THE-MONTH CLUB NEWS DES MOINES SUNDAY REGISTER ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY 10/15/93 p.62 GRAND RAPIDS PRESS KIRKUS REVIEWS 8/1/93 p.965 LOS ANGELES TIMES BOOK REVIEW 10/24/93 p.15 LIBRARY JOURNAL 9/1/93 p.224 NEWSWEEK 9/20/93 p. 65 NEWSWEEK 11/1/93 p. 73 NEW YORK TIMES 11/25/93 p. C20 NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW 10/31/93 p. 12 OBSERVER (London) 12/12/93 p.21 PUBLISHERS WEEKLY 8/30/93 p.73 SPECTATOR 11/27/93 p. 51 TIME 11/1/93 p.95 TIME WARNER BOOKMARK (http://www.tbookmark.com) THE TIMESLITERARY SUPPLEMENT 12/24/93 p.17 TRIBUNE BOOKS (Chicago Tribune) 11/7/93 p.7 WORLD AND I 3/94 p.322 WOMANS JOURNAL 9/95 p.30 Successful Sources: Readers Guide to Periodical Literature 1994 Book Review Digest (VIRGO) Book Review Digest (WEB) Book Review Index Unsuccessful Sources: Twentieth Century Literature Criticism Contemporary Literary Criticism
Assignment 5: Critical Analysis
1 Paste your critical analysis in here (maximum 2500 words)
Judging from the success of Robert James Waller's Bridges of Madison County and Slow Waltz in Cedar Bend, middle-aged women in America are willing to be lied to and deceived if an author tells them that they are desirable. Waller first realized the power of this assertion after the publication of Bridges of Madison County, his first novel. It was a huge success, remaining on the Publisher's Weekly bestseller list for three full years, spending 13 weeks in the number one spot on the list . Not only did it flourish in the book business, but it also became a widely acclaimed movie equipped with well-known actors and actresses. Much of the support for Bridges was given by smaller independent booksellers as opposed to larger wholesale booksellers, giving the novel the quality of an almost underground success . After experiencing success with his first novel, Waller realized that there is a strict formula for success that was created in his first novel, and he recapitulates this formula in the creation of his subsequent novel, Slow Waltz in Cedar Bend, published in November of 1993. There is a rigid set of ingredients necessary for this recipe to create success. In order to fulfill the wishes of his audience, Waller uses a dishonest and overstated language and an element of adulterous sex. In addition, Waller also promotes a persona of himself as the main male character in both novels. Although details may differ, the method used in writing these novels is fundamentally the same. The first main component of the formula is the language Waller uses. Many of his words are void of reality and overly melodramatic. Meretricious lines such as, "He [Michael Tillman] just didn't see how he could go on living his life without Jellie Braden next to him all the time," (Waller 79) are unrealistic. Taken logically, this line is a lie. Of course Michael Tillman can go on with his life without Jellie Braden. Even when he finally does commit to a relationship with Jellie, he never spends every moment with her; she actually leaves to go to India directly after they have made a serious commitment to each other. Another example of the contrived language is found in the text when Michael says to Jellie, "?Give me all of you, and I'll give you back yourself when we have finished." The exaggeration and overstatement here are self-evident. The author uses this fabricated language to please his audience and allow them a fantasy indulgence. It is mendacious; many women who read this novel have most likely never been talked to like this before, and this is their chance to luxuriate in a dream of romance, however deceitful the language may be. Another essential ingredient in the formula is the component of adultery. Waller makes no attempt to hide or scorn sex outside of the marriage bond. There seems to be no sign of remorse in either Jellie or Michael's mind indicating a feeling of contrition or guilt about their secretive affair behind the back of Jellie's husband. For example, when trying to set up a time to meet in order to be alone and intimate, Jellie nonchalantly says to Michael, "Would eleven push you too hard? I'd like to be gone when Jimmy [Jellie's husband] wakes up so that I don't have to think up some reason for going out" (Waller 82). She is clearly cheating on her husband with Michael Tillman, but displays no real concern about her actions. The adultery in this novel is the only way the characters break the rules of society. Otherwise, they are seemingly good citizens who do not kill, steal, or commit crimes. Although they may not be robbing any banks in this novel, Jellie and Michael are certainly breaking a universally acknowledged rule of society. And even though a principal moral rule is broken, there are absolutely no consequences with which Jellie and Michael are forced to deal. The characters can behave as negligently and carelessly as they please outside of their marriages, but they will face no trouble. While thieves must go to jail for doing wrong, these characters are free of any punishment, and this makes the affair justifiable and admissible to the audience. Jimmy Braden's reaction to the news of the affair between his wife and Michael Tillman is unbelievable. After being told about the ongoing affair between the two main characters, "Jimmy said that he understood how Jellie and Michael would be attracted to each other. His primary concern was, in his words, ?how we all carry on from here.' He seemed almost relieved, more worried about style than substance" (Waller 180). There is no chastisement from Jellie's husband or from the surrounding society. Such apathy from a husband seems incredulous. Michael's secretary even applauds the relationship when Michael is about to depart for India in search of Jellie. As Michael is leaving his office, she says, "I'll be here cheering for you. Go find her" (Waller 123). It seems ludicrous that an outsider of the situation would be applauding and supporting the affair, but in Waller's formula, an affair is an indulgence, not something warranting a punishment. A further example of the leniency of cheating on a commitment is seen only months after Michael and Jellie have finally gotten into a legitimate relationship and Jellie retreats back to India. She meets "a handsome Frenchman who was smooth and attentive, who seemed to understand and appreciate the feelings of women," (Waller 193) and almost sleeps with him, but holds herself back for a reason that she does not understand. This promiscuous relationship never comes up between Michael and Jellie and she never feels a pang of guilt or regret regarding the issue. Once again, Jellie's breach of commitment slides away from the condescending punishment of society into an unrealistic world of fabricated sexual freedom. Clearly, Jellie Braden is able to do as she pleases. She can have affairs with no consequences and the undeniable moral rules of society do not seem to apply to her actions as they would in reality. Michael Tillman narrates the novel so it may seem that his desires to obtain Jellie as a lover are fulfilled, but at closer inspection, one sees that it is ultimately Jellie's desires which are actualized. Almost all men she comes across in the novel want her, and she has the opportunity to pick and choose among these men as she likes with no impending rules or threatening consequences. India itself serves as a location for the fulfillment of desires and pleasures. India becomes the marker of the exotic and sensual, and has no prospects of ominous punishments looming ahead. The essence of India in this novel is first revealed in one of Michael's initial comments after arriving in India. Directly after landing, Michael remarks, "The women. He's temporarily forgotten how beautiful were the Indian women, even the poorest ones. It was easy to fall in transient love every few seconds in India" (Waller 133). Clearly, India immediately becomes a symbol of untamed beauty and mysterious passion. Such a generalized and narrow view of India is reflective of British-colonial racism because instead of regarding India as the contemporary country it is, Waller instead disguises India as a sexual playground for free-spirited white tourists. The generalization lacks any unadulterated or honest vision of India or its culture. Instead, it represents a sort of perfected haven for wish fulfillment. The language and adultery in this novel provide a fulfillment of the reader's desires. We assume from the popularity of this novel that it somehow satiates the romantic hungers lingering in the obviously unquenchable imaginations of middle-aged women in America. Assuming these women are lonely in unhappy marriages, a literary plot filled with romantic language and free-spirited affairs could possibly provide them with an emotional satisfaction used as a retreat from the reality of their lives. Readers are invited and encouraged to envision themselves as the sexy and untamed Jellie Braden. She is a woman desired by all and given a choice of a wide array of exciting and seductive males from which to choose. These American women are absolutely free to picture themselves in India, a foreign fantasy land in which to yield to all they feel they may lack in their lives: passion, exotic sex, and erotic and intense love language. The final element critical to Waller's formula for best-seller success is a promoted persona of Waller himself. In both Bridges and Slow Waltz in Cedar Bend, Waller produces obvious similarities between himself and the main male character of the novel. In Bridges, Waller's main character is Robert Kincaid, a free-spirited photographer for National Geographic. He is pensive and thoughtful, and often depicted as lonely. "Robert Kincaid was as alone as it's possible to be?he knew scarcely anyone well, nor they him. Gypsies make difficult friends for ordinary people, and he was something of a gypsy" (Waller 3-4). Michael Tillman in Slow Waltz is similarly a reclusive and seductive outdoorsman. Both characters are sexy to most women in the novel and seem unbound by all societal rules, living on the edge of life. Describing Tillman, Waller says, "People saw him as distant, and he was. People saw him as arrogant, but he wasn't, quite the opposite. He simply decided to go off by himself, go his own way" (W aller 23). This description could almost perfectly describe the image the reader sees of Robert Kincaid. It is as if a carbon copy of the same man is created and placed into the two different novels. Michael Tillman's experience is strikingly similar to that of Waller in that Tillman is a professor in a job that does not completely satisfy him. Describing Tillman as a professor, Waller writes, "As a teacher, he was different, but effective. Good students liked him, the middling ones were afraid of him. The poorer students avoided his classes. He wasn't a kindly Mr. Chips, and never would be, yet he respected grit and determination?and he reserved a special disdain for the talented ones who lazed through their student years" (Waller 23). His frustration with the students and faculty at the University is very similar to Robert James Waller's own experience as a professor. He taught management at the University of Northern Iowa, in Cedar Falls and was promoted to dean of the business school for the University in 1979. As a professor, Waller was perceived as different and somewhat distant, very similar to the visual image of Michael Tillman. People saw Waller as "a hippie stuck in the sixties?who wor e blue jeans and cowboy boots" (1994 Current Biography Yearbook 605). The similarities between Robert James Waller, Robert Kincaid, and Michael Tillman are significant, and it is interesting that in 1985, Waller resigned as the dean of the business school of the University of Northern Iowa because he suffered from a massive anxiety attack. He continued teaching classes on a more lenient schedule, but he became frustrated quickly with the alleged narrow-mindedness of the students there. He left the school in 1991 with an unpaid leave of absence. Although Tillman never experiences any stress or anxiety attacks, there is no doubt in the readers mind that he sometimes feels dissatisfied in his profession with his students and colleagues, just as Waller felt. The similarities between Tillman and Waller go oven further than their common teaching careers. Waller was an avid basketball player growing up, shooting 200 to 300 baskets a day. He recieved a four-year scholarship to the University of Iowa for basketball in 1957, but lost interest in the sport after only a year and transferred to the University of Northern Iowa. Almost identically, Micheal Tillman is the high school and college basketball star until he injures his ankle playing in college. Both men have a history of a passionate and ubruptly ended love for basketball. (People Weekly: 11/8/93) Lastly, and almost too ironic to be true, four years after publishing this novel, Waller took his family to India, the sexual playground that Slow Waltz uses as its free-of-consequence location. It is on this trip to India that Robert James Waller finally tells his wife Georgia about his affair with the Waller's landscaper, Linda Bow. Unlike the fantasy of his novel, India now has real-world consequences. His wife quickly returned home to Alpine, Texas from India and filed for a divorce, which was finalized in August of 1997. (People Weekly: 10/13/97) This wish-fulfilling formula has sold amazingly well to the American public, as Slow Waltz remained on the Publisher's Weekly best-seller list for twenty-nine weeks from November of 1993 until May of 1994. A close inspection of American demographics for the 1990s indicate that the contemporary family structure reveals many women are inclined to crave the fantasy indulgence available in Slow Waltz in Cedar Bend. It is clear that marriage in out society is seen as an ideal, not a reality. "We are a very marriage-happy society. There's a basic ideology that building a family means stability," and this supposition could potentially lead many women into marriages for which they are not ready, but merely getting into because they feel they must conform to the assumed ideal. Given this assumption, there are presumably many women in America finding themselves in marriages that are utterly unhappy. The age-old ideal of marriage is crashing, and these women are searching for solace in the midst of the confusion caused by the wreckage of a marriage. Waller creates a comfort and alleviation from the loneliness in his formula in this novel, which allows women readers to feel that it is possible to be desirable and sexy like Jellie Braden. The high sales for this novel, almost 2 million copies already sold in November of 1993, are evidence that this formula is selling...and selling successfully. Demographics for contemporary marriage indicate that, due to the erroneous ideals associated with marriage, there is a large amount of women in America that are in unhappy marriages. Judging from the popularity of fictional romance novels among women and the feminine marketing of the novel, it is assumed that these women are the majority of the population reading this novel and being affected by the formula. Waller targets this audience and convinces them, through a structured formula, that they are desirable. He showers his audience with meretricious language that holds no thread of truth or honesty. He sprinkles them with unpunished and passionate love affairs outside of marriage. He allows them to indulge in this language and adultery without concern for reality or logic, because reality is unimportant for Waller. He then promotes an image of himself through the main male character, making the role more personal to himself, thus presumably easier for him to write. Waller's audience finishes this novel and feels the possibility of becoming a Jellie Braden: passionate, sexy, and dangerously wanted by wholly every man.
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