©2002 Wallace Earle Stegner; (P)2009 Recorded Books, LLC
"This is a wonderfully rich, warm, and affecting book." (Library Journal)
"It's deceptively simple: two bright young couples meet during the Depression and form an instant and lifelong friendship. "How do you make a book that anyone will read out of lives as quiet as these?" Larry Morgan, a successful novelist and the narrator of the story, poses that question many years after he and his wife, Sally, have befriended the vibrant, wealthy, and often troubled Sid and Charity Lang. "Where is the high life, the conspicuous waste, the violence, the kinky sex, the death wish?" It's not here. What is here is just as fascinating, just as compelling, as touching, and as tragic." (Amazon.com review)
There is a certain nakedness to Stegner's storytelling, in the sense that it doesn't shy away from uncomfortable subjects like death and troubled marriages. His characters are not always likeable, but they are very real and may even remind you of people you know. This is a book about the life of a friendship between two couples over many years. Stegner explores the joy and excitement of the young friendship, but he recognizes that friendships can die away to almost nothing for long periods of time, only to be reignited by a major event. Stegner's appeal (for me anyway) is in his ability to develop his characters as they age and deal with life's challenges -- as well as to describe their surroundings lovingly and vividly. This story is not predictable, nor does it offer any particular shocks or surprises. However, it is gut-wrenching in its honesty about human beings and the institutions of marriage and friendship.
Say something about yourself!
Unusual characters that feel like old friends.. Adds much to thought & discussion of end-of-life issues in a very personal and creative way.
Lush and beautifully written, this story covers many years of two couples. If you like Richard Fords stuff, or Russo, then you will be very happy with this book.
Love to read, and Audible has made the two-hour daily commute enjoyable!
I adore Stegner. He develops characters and stories with depth better than anybody. This book is about two couples, Larry and Sally Morgan and Sid and Charity Lang. They meet as young couples in a college in Wisconsin, and the book follows their lives and relationships.
It is by twists and turns heart-warming and tragic. He shows the two sides of character that can be giving and demanding - so much like life. In this book, he digs into how life is complex, we get in our own way, but some people gloriously overcome illnesses or setbacks what would destroy others.
This was his last book, and makes me want to read much more that he has written.
I don't think I would listen to it again, although it was beautifully written and narrated. I particularly disliked Charity,and she was really the dominant character in the book, as she was in the relationship between the two couples.
For myself I would have changed the ending (although I don't want to have any spoilers here). I thought there was surprisinging cruelty shown to one of the main characters, although it actually seemd to be the culmination of the way he had been treated by his wife throughout their marriage. I wonder if others have this same reaction.
Definitely the narrator.
No particular moment - just the enduring depth of the friendship between the two couples, the way they nurtured each other over the years and became each family to one another. Perhaps their reunion after several years of not seeing each other at the end was the most moving. (again, I don't want to give anything away about the ending)
It is ironic how the relationship between the two couples was mutually beneficial and nurturing, despite the flaws within each individual and particularly despite the serious flaws in the relationship of one of the couples.
I love yoga. I love cooking healthy, organic, natural, delicious food. I love reading, writing, traveling. But more than anything, I love laughing and cuddling with my Michael and our pup.
Hmmm, how does one review a book like this? It’s the story of two couples: their friendship, marriages, lives, treasured memories and hardships. I found the story a bit slow at times and occasionally disjointed. No huge rising plot. No language frills. No magnificently crafted scenery. That said, there was a rawness to it—a deeply human face that held my attention and my focus, even when I wasn’t reading. I’m glad I read it, but I’m not sure I’d go around recommending it to everyone I know… except perhaps to my sister, to get her take on the family dynamics in the book. There were certainly some ponderous subtleties I could relate to.
I learned about this novel from the " The End of Your Life Book Club" book. When I checked it out, the reviews on it were amazing. Unfortunately I do not agree with the previous reviews. It is a very well written book but I think the story is average. There were times when I just wanted the chapter to end, the details of a certain situation would linger forever. I think the book could have been much shorter and still get the same message out.
Having said that, still, I think there were some concepts, towards the end of the book, that were worth discussing
Too monotone for me
I think I would prefer to see it in a movie setting rather than read it in a book and spend that much time on it
dull, dull, dull. I just couldn't care about these self-centered academics. The closest they got to lifting their eyes from their own navels was to gaze at those of their friends.
A writer writing a book about writing a book.
Poe made this poor book worth enduring to the end. Bless his heart for having to read it.
Just not an interesting storyline.
Love a great book that stays with you long after you've finished it.
Skip this one. Yes it is well written & considered a classic but that doesn't make it an interesting read. I usually finish a book in 4 days, this one took 2 weeks. Choose another.
"A Gem to be Savoured"
I bought this after hearing it recommended by all three participants in a recent edition of "A Good Read" and am very glad that I did. It's a simple enough story of two couples played out against the background of mid twentieth century America but cheering in its account of the pleasures and occasional difficulties of friendship and feels emotionally very true. Credit too to the narrator Richard Poe for adding significantly to the pleasures of the book.
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