In 1948, a mysterious and charismatic man arrives in a small Virginia town carrying two suitcases - one contains his worldly possessions, the other is full of money. He soon inserts himself into the town's daily life, taking a job in the local butcher shop and befriending the owner and his wife and their son. But the passion that develops between the man and the wife of the town's wealthiest citizen sets in motion a series of events that not only upset the quiet town but threaten to destroy both him and the woman.
©2012 Robert Goolrick. Published by arrangement with Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, a division of Workman Publishing Company, Inc. (P)2012 HighBridge Company.
"Goolrick effortlessly creates a timeless, erotically charged tale of illicit passion and peoples it with a unique cast of characters, ranging from a gifted black seamstress to a country girl besotted with Hollywood movie stars and fashion. Finely crafted fiction from a captivating writer." (Booklist)
Robert Goolrick is a great writer he knows how to turn a phrase and his descriptions are always lush. I read the Reliable Wife when it first came out it was an odd story but well written and a book that stuck with me much longer than I expected it to and I actually liked The Reliable Wife the longer I was away from it and I think this one may end up the same way. So, I had high hopes for this book expecting and getting Goolricks fantastic writing but the story was a much slower simmer than I expected it to be, it made me sit on the edge of my seat not from the story really, but in the waiting for the other shoe to drop, you just know something bad is coming.
I am not sure how I felt about Charlie dragging this little boy along with him on his trysts, I don’t understand why he took him along it’s not like it was his child. I think what he put the little boy through was worse than anything else Charlie did. Another story from this author that I think will stick with me awhile and probably will end up liking more the farther away I am from it. But I think that is the genius of Goolrick he is an amazing writer but his books are never easy but they will touch you and stay with you even if you didn’t totally love the book.
Norman Dietz is the narrator of this one and I’m just not sure what I thought of him; all of his voices sounded like old men, including the little boy and the women. But he fit the book well, so I am not saying he was awful it was just his variations on voices weren’t that different. I hope that makes sense.
If you haven’t read Goolrick’s biography – “The End of the World as we Know It” you won’t see how biographical Goolrick’s work is. I think to really “get” his fiction you should read his biography.
3 ½ Stars
All business but contemporary fun!
Norman's throaty wet voice completely ruined this for me. It was unbearable to listen to.
Comments for the book- excluding narration:
What a beautiful, understated prose style that was! The words brought every scene into focus, like a movie progressing right in front of my eyes. Many of the book's characters were extremely likable, like sweet Alma that is always right (!), the boy that loved Charlie so much, the old twin ladies and of course Charlie. So what give the book only 3.5 stars? Because of a couple of things. There were many pages of introspection from the narrator, who you dont know who it is until the very end. Those passages made no sense and would have been better off cut. The book left loose ends, like where did Charlie and his money came from? Why did he run away? We never find out. As for the climax of the story... I felt very unprepared for it. Surprise is one thing. But there were no indications that would have lead us to believe what Charlie did. Especially in front of Sam, traumatizing him for life. The one thing to take away is the beautiful prose that transported to you seamlessly into that era, that town, that life... even for a little while.
The storyline was horrible, disturbing, sick and twisted. It left me wondering why the author, who can definitely write, would choose to tell a story that was so dark and then name it Heading Out to Wonderful. None of the characters, with the possible exception of the little boy, were likable nor were they fully developed. The ending was graphic and gruesome and I don't think I will ever look at a Meat Butcher the same again.
Involving a little boy in the sick and twisted tale of the main characters' affair with a dim-witted married woman. None of the characters in the story were likable and therefore why read about them?
The narration was fine, it was the story that was awful.
Maybe a therapist to figure out why someone would write something like this
Left out the kid viewing the sex, and the bloody murder scene
Amazement that I listened to the whole thing. I kept thinking that it would get better, instead it got worse.
I think I have probably said too much already
Silicon Valley User
Not sure that I would. I was left wanting to know more about the characters and what impact their history made on their life decisions. There was no impact in this story so it was a bit dry for me.
I think the narrator was fine.
It is not a book that I would listen to again and I have sadly almost forgotten all of it.
Overly descriptive of things not relevant to the story. Very slow and boring.
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