The Face of A Naked Lady

The Face of A Naked Lady

An Omaha Family Mystery

Book - 2005
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Houghton
Nick Rips’s son had always known him 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 exquisitely humane second work of memoir, a gloriously funny yet deeply serious gem of a book that offers more than a little redemption in our cynical times.
Rips is a magical storyteller, with a keen eye for the absurd, even in a place like Omaha, which, like his father, is not what it ?rst appears to be. His solid Republican father, he discovers, had been raised in one of Omaha’s most famous brothels, had insisted on hiring a collection of social mis?ts to work in his eyeglass factory, and had once showed up in his son’s high school principal’s of?ce 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 ?ve million dollars in the bank, an underwear auctioneer, and a ?ying trapeze artist on her last sublime ride. Ultimately, Rips ?nds the woman, a father he never knew, and a profound sense that all around us the miraculous permeates the everyday.


Baker & Taylor
Following the death of his father, the author explores the origins of a well-kept family secret--the hidden collection of paintings of a naked black woman--a journey that will take him into the oddball heart of the American Midwest.

Blackwell North Amer
Nic 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.

Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin Co., 2005
ISBN: 9780618273522
0618273522
Characteristics: 192 p. ; 22 cm

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TheresaAJ
Apr 27, 2020

This slim volume is a combination Omaha history/father search/philosophical discourse. Nick Rips knew his father as a conservative Republican Midwesterner who was so bland he was almost invisible. Only after his death, does Nick's journey into his family's past reveal that his father was not the portrait he portrayed to the outside world. Raised in a brothel, NIck's father used his eyeglass factory to provide employment to Omaha's outsiders and social misfits. He also once showed up at Nick's high school in his pajamas to meet with the principal and painted the same subject over and over -- an African American woman. This book will never appear on the best seller lists but it does present a look at Omaha and the Midwest that you'll never forget.

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TheresaAJ
Apr 27, 2020

"Norman Zevetz, who worked in the factory for over four decades, said that "what was important was not that blacks and women were hired but that your father listened to them. He was curious about their lives. He talked to them and they talked to him."

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