Nebraska Center for Writers

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About Michael Rips


The Face of a Naked Lady
Copyright © 2005
by Michael Rips
Houghton Mifflin
How to Buy

Nick Rips was a man his son had always known as a conservative midwesterner, dedicated, affable, bland to the point of invisibility. Upon his father's death, however, Michael Rips returned to his Omaha family home to discover a hidden portfolio of paintings — all done by his father, all of a naked black woman. So begins Michael Rips's second work of memoir, part detective story, part disquisition on the mysteries of identity, part journey into an America readers will scarcely recognize. Rips is a storyteller with a keen eye for the absurd, even in a place like Omaha, which, like his father, is not what it first appears. His solid Republican father, he discovers, was raised in one of Omaha's most famous brothels, insisted on hiring a collection of social misfits to work in his eyeglass factory, and once showed up in the principal's office of his son's high school in pajamas. As Rips searches for the woman of the paintings, he meets, among others, an African American detective who swears by the clairvoyant powers of a Mind Machine, a homeless man with five million dollars in the bank, an underwear auctioneer, and a flying trapeze artist on her last sublime ride. Ultimately, Rips finds the woman, a father he never knew, and a profound sense that all around us the miraculous permeates the everyday. — from the publisher

With its multiple discoveries, The Face of a Naked Lady is as enjoyable as it is offbeat. — The Washington Post

In fact, The Face of a Naked Lady is at its most powerful as a son's search for his father, a man, the author realizes, he never remotely knew. To the world, Nick Rips was "Republican, affluent, and content" — the well-to-do owner of an optical factory, an executive who wore bespoke suits and perfectly starched shirts, a habitué of Omaha's steakhouses, a weekend golfer, a man known for his imperturbable calm. Following his father's death, Mr Rips returned to his family home, where he discovered a hidden portfolio of paintings: each of the paintings depicted a naked black woman, and each bore the initials of his father. — Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

Intelligent and musical meshing of memoir and philosophy. ... Rips, bemused and appreciative, writes beautiful prose; his book's structure, too, is artful, a steadily surprising phantasmagorical bridge from mystery to mystery. This is a book readers won't forget. — Publishers Weekly

Written with skill and humor-and with a vulpine eye that sees much and winks often. — Kirkus Reviews

Pasquale's Nose
Copyright © 2002
by Michael Rips
Back Bay Books
How to Buy

Beloved of readers and critics everywhere for its quirkiness, its hilarity, its charm, Pasquale's Nose tells the story of a New York City lawyer who runs away to a small Etruscan village with his wife and new baby, and discovers a community of true eccentrics -- warring bean growers, vanishing philosophers, a blind boot maker, a porcupine hunter -- among whom he feels unexpectedly at home. — from the publisher

...part Federico Fellini and part Preston Sturges...these characters and their town are real and this bewitching tale is true. — Kurt Andersen's the spirit of the great fabulist Italo Calvino that one feels hovering over Pasquale's Nose.Vogue

...beguiling stories... — Insight

...[Rips] lovingly details his adventures in this remarkable village... — Boston Phoenix

...entertaining...Rips is a remarkably self-effacing memoirist... — Washington Post Book World entertaining story... — Atlanta Journal Constitution

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