On the night of her 13th birthday, Jane Howard made a vow to her warring parents – she would never get married and she would never have children. But life, as Jane comes to discover, is a profoundly random business.
Many years and many lives later, she is a professor in Boston, in love with a brilliant, erratic man named Theo. And then Jane falls pregnant. Motherhood turns out to be a great welcome surprise – but when a devastating turn of events tears her existence apart she has no choice but to flee all she knows and leave the world.
Just when she has renounced life itself, the disappearance of a young girl pulls her back from the edge and into an obsessive search for some sort of personal redemption. Convinced that she knows more about the case than the police do, she is forced to make a decision – stay hidden or bring to light a shattering truth.
Douglas Kennedy’s exceptional new novel is a portrait of the way we live now, of the many routes we follow in the course of a single life, and of the arbitrary nature of destiny. Like his previous highly acclaimed novels it is also a compulsive read – and one which speaks volumes about the dilemmas we face in trying to navigate our way through all that fate throws in our path.
©2009 Douglas Kennedy (P)2010 Random House Audio
A genuinely bad story with an equally bad narrator.
To use Douglas Kennedy’s repetitive reference to the word “narrative”, this one is exceptionally weak. It’s basically just two different stories lumped together. It’s as though he desperately needed to get a book out so he blabbered on and on through one meaningless story, trying to find a path for it. Then completely out of the blue, he had a bright idea for a better storyline, so to avoid having to re-write the entire thing, he just shoved the two stories together so that it might sound interesting and not be kicked clean out the door by the publishers. He didn’t even have the decency to bother to try and find a link between the two stories. And then to add insult to injury, he ended the book with an unfinished plot and a lame cliché.
The first three quarters of the book are so pointless that I would suggest to any listener that they completely skip past both Parts 1 and 2, and start listening from one hour into Part 3. This is the only section of the entire book that contains any semblance of a real plot and has some guts to it. Everything else prior to this point makes the main protagonist look weak, directionless and pathetically gullible. Part 1 and Part 2 are simply there to pass the time.
Then there’s the false notion that Douglas Kennedy has about his ability to convincingly pull off a lead female protagonist. How many women do you know who repeatedly use phrases like “dropping money” on buying a sports car or renting a flat, or “chasing down” pills with Vodka? Seriously? He really imagines women talk like this?
And finally we get to the narrator. Kate Harper’s manly voice is so gruff, it sounds like she’s smoked way too many boxes of Marlboro’s in her time. On top of this, she is not adept at changing her voice for different characters, so it becomes a task to distinguish between which character is speaking and whether it’s a male or a female.
There are way too many good books in the world to waste your time reading this one.
The best use of langiage and tension I've read in a long time, It staggers me that a man could so understand the female mind.
Maybe less change of location.
Enthralling and beautifully clear.
This novel really surprised me. It is a character novel exploring the deep inner workings of the main character, but the events in her life continue to take the reader on an unexpected journey of twists and turns...so I did not find that her inner musing ever became redundant as she was always dealing with a new set of life circumstances. The reader's voice was different from how I imagined the character, so that gave me a little trouble, but other than that, I really enjoyed this book and was looking for more titles from this author.
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