When purchasing this, I considered that I watched the movie with Bill Murray in what I recall as his first real foray into serious acting. I was impacted by that movie, though I have few memories of it. So I decided to purchase both the book and the audiobook.
In the novel, the narrator tells the story of Larry Darrell, who was severely affected by the death of his friend, another soldier in WWII. He comes to several self-realizations through time and travels over continents and religions. The book has a brief emotional pull from his lost love, his fiancee Isabel, who turns out to be deficient in character, and from his engagement to Sophie, a wayward girl from Chicago who Larry and the group of the characters meet one night at a bar in Paris. She'd lost her husband and her way through various chemicals and bedfellows.
One thing I will always recall from this novel was the keen observation of man or woman's desire to save someone through sacrifice of self, when referring to the grip of passion over Larry who by becoming engaged to marry Sophie is trying to "save the soul of a wanton woman whom he'd known as an innocent child."
"... self-sacrifice is a passion so overwhelming that beside it even lust and hunger are trifling. It whirls its victim to destruction in the highest affirmation of his personality. The object doesn't matter; it may be worthwhile or it may be worthless. No wine is so intoxicating, no love so shattering, no vice so compelling. When he sacrifices himself man for a moment is [or believes himself to be] greater than God, for how can God, infinite and omnipotent, sacrifice himself? At best he can only sacrifice his only begotten son."
If you've known someone who's fallen for someone else to save him or her, it's quite likely you will likely agree with this statement. The person was sucked into a whirlwind leading, more often than not, to tragedy.
I recommend this book with 4.5 stars, with the proviso that it does get slow in places. I thought the narrator was good, but his narration gets taxing in parts.
If you think *AWESOME* when you hear the names Brad Thor and Scot Harvath, you should enjoy this book.
I was so unconcerned about the characters, I finished this book a week ago and only know the protagonist's name because it's on the title to this page. I have no recall of the name of the female. While there was good plotting, there was no spark, no true-to-life people, no dramatic suspense. I no longer trust certain Kirkus' reviews.
But hey, if you're among the group who's still p'd off about *The Expendables* getting snubbed by the Oscars, this book is all you.
I wanted to read this novel for two reasons: it won the Pulitzer the year of my birth, and it's set in a fictional county in the deep American South during a time of racial hatred and violence. I'm sure THE KEEPERS OF THE HOUSE had quite an impact back then and the nation's posture at the time screamed for the Pulitzer to give an award to Ms. Grau for this book.
I was rather disappointed nonetheless. The novel is righteous at achieving the revenge which is its ultimate destination. Yet the revenge only occurs in the last 17 minutes, after taking 9 hours to get there; a long, long 9 hours in which I kept reaching for the stop button and had to force myself to continue listening. The characters are rather shallow, and it seems to me that Ms. Grau could have condensed the 9 hours to 4 or 5, by cutting out fluff that did nothing to further the protagonist or her story.
This book is as significant and Illuminative as it is disheartening to any father with teen daughters.
MISSOULA is a thorough, enlightening examination of the paramount, though publicly opaque, problem of rape on college campuses nationwide (mainly by acquaintances) through a narrative look at the specifics (many times graphic) of several uncharged rape cases in Missoula, Montana, caused by the willful disregard of victims and their allegations by local law enforcement and public prosecutors and, at times, through the fault of the University of Montana's administration.
The name "Kirsten Pabst," the former public prosecutor who made decision after decision not to bring rape charges against a number of male students, after giving these alleged perpetrators every benefit of the doubt and refusing to even interview the victims, should hereafter be accompanied by the hashtag, #boyswillbeboys. - KirstenDunst #boyswillbeboys
I highly recommend this book, made all the more disheartening by proof that the University of Montana is not an anomaly.
I was so moved by this novel. It left me to ponder: How many moral quandaries can a medium-sized novel hold?
I would have to place Chris Cander alongside Flannery O'Connor. Since Ms. O’Connor, I haven’t yet read another author who has fully captured Evil lurking beneath the Zealot’s cloak in religion as Ms. Cander did in WHISPER HOLLOW. The setting is Whisper Hollow, West Virginia, a coal mining town, from prior to WWI until the late 1960s.
It is a story exploring the bonds of the different kinds of love, amorous v. familial, true love v. the vows of a marriage arranged young. In the ruins of a coal mine disaster, Chris Cander paints a scene so strong and mired in moral dilemma it suffocates the soul. And cues a later scene that is at once devastating and redeeming. Not just because of the coal mining locale was I reminded of D. H. Lawrence in "Sons and Lovers."
Myself, I wish the publisher would change the cover which makes the novel appear to be something of a romance or romantic historical fiction. It’s neither.
"Whisper Hollow" is a masterful literary novel, as good as any I’ve read by modern authors.
This is it...the last time I fall for a decent review of a book by Harlan Coben, I promise myself.
I dunno, maybe it's my fault that I cannot overlook dialogue that's apparently important to the story, in which one character cries out to The Stranger, "Well, Mr. SECRET REVEALER!!" It reminded me of comic lines by the buffoonish Ben Stiller character to straight-faced Vince Vaughan, in the film, Dodgeball. Here, I also laughed, so hard i swallowed drink down the windpipe. And choked.... Then gave up on another self-inflicted stomach punch in reading a silly Coben book.
"Rock Springs" reminds me why I love realist short stories of unique people in faraway settings to experience .
In picturesque prose precisely crafting unique situations, Richard Ford explores turbulence in relationships and the human's restive consciousness, made all the more evident against Ford's halcyon landscapes, from the wide ranges of Wyoming to the highlands of Montana. Each story one of resolution or revelation, eliciting intumescent empathy.
The best set of short stories I've heard or read in a long time. Maybe ever.
The narrator did a really good job.
This especially praiseworthy for a first novel, particularly when I compare to some of the early works of other authors of the Southern lit (noir) ilk, like Daniel Woodrell, whose praise graces the novel's cover. I keep wanting to compare it to a Ron Rash short story (like those in the stellar and sulphurous "Chemistry and Other Stories") expanded and developed further into a rather short novel, which is in no way intended as a criticism.
Written as a first person narrative of Jacob McNeely, apparently 18, around the time of his former classmates' HS graduation. He dropped out of school to help out in the family business, a West Carolina mountain meth mob of which his daddy, Charlie McNeely, is the don. The book revolves primarily around the relationship between Jacob and daddy, their ties to the community (vel non) and particularly to "bulls" (law enforcement officers). The themes include whether one can escape blood and environment ("blood is thicker than water, and I'm drowning in it"), and the irrefutable difference between what's right and what's wrong and how this distinction sometimes gets muddled by a life full of "broken windows."
Jacob's love interest Maggie (his old girlfriend he grew up beside) and their possibly rekindled romance are a driving force in the story and she is symbolic of "a way out of here." And yet, I never could relate to it so much because I felt she was not fully developed and thus their relationship not realized in a way that made me feel despair at the threat of losing it. Perhaps that's what Mr. Joy intended. I did get a sense of the emptiness of a life lived with a daddy don and a momma meth head, with a little dark and *addled* spice of Flannery O'Connor thrown in.
The novel is intriguing and kept me hanging until the end. Mr. Joy employs clear and conversational prose to convey a funereal context. I can't help but believe that if he'd had a little more experience under his belt, he might have more fully explored the story of Jacob + Maggie and have hit a homerun.
I look forward to reading more from this gifted writer. He can tell a hell of a story, with profundity and clarity, set in a stark and cursed world few see aside from on nightly newscasts.
The accent seemed too strong at first, but the narrator quickly recovered and did a really good job.
This synopsis/collection of philosophy (from the Greeks to the leaders of today) and inspiring personal stories of someone who has persevered on each topic should be required reading before being awarded a college diploma to help the bright-eyed, the bubbly, the go-getters, et al. I am not being coy when I say this. I think someone should help those entering the real world to realize that everything will not go their way, that there will be obstacles on the path that, depending on your perspective, can be turned into the new path toward even greater goals. These coming obstacles of life will surely come his/her way, and some will, at first glance, appear so devastating that it seems to shatter the personal myth most of us hold dearly upon exiting high school or college. You know, the myth about you having big house, a perfect marriage, 2 straight A kids, and a well-planned career you love and that makes you tons of money.
This is a new perspective coming from many different angles on turning obstacles over and around and about, into positives that may well be a better way than that shattered personal myth. I often go back to this book often and find a treasure I really need and that I'd forgotten from my first reading.
This is not a feel-good, power of positive thinking, Dr. Phil hogwashing or Eckhart Tolle powder puffery.
It's real and it's practical.
A poignant memoir of author's search for the sense of his brother's suicide. If there's a better description of the grief suffered, of the need to understand, of the empty place in the soul that one tries to, but can never, fill after the loss of a family member to suicide, I'm not sure I want to read it.
Mr. Connors provides a vivid and moving account of how he could not move past his younger brother's suicide until he had followed all traces of the moments and days leading up to the gunshot wound to the temple, until he spoke to others who had talked to his brother, before he could track down photos and an autopsy report. In short, the author had to satisfy himself that there were some things he would not know, could not know. When he came to grips with this fact and to a peace within, he was finally (but not fully) freed of the constant thoughts, guilt and the feelings of emptiness within himself.
The things Connors did, the places he worked and the people he met, all on his journey to peace and self-revelation, add up to make this a memoir a rewarding read/listen.
The narrator did an admirable job.
I didn't fully appreciate this when I read it 25 years ago, at least as I can recall. This new translation is refreshing and easily comprehensible without watering down the tale's mysticism or sacrificing its bite.
Very good performance by the narrator.
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