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That Old Cape Magic | [Richard Russo]

That Old Cape Magic

That Old Cape Magic is a novel of deep introspection and every family feeling imaginable, with a middle-aged man confronting his parents and their failed marriage, his own troubled one, his daughter's new life and, finally, what it was he thought he wanted and what in fact he has.
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Publisher's Summary

That Old Cape Magic is a novel of deep introspection and every family feeling imaginable, with a middle-aged man confronting his parents and their failed marriage, his own troubled one, his daughter's new life and, finally, what it was he thought he wanted and what in fact he has.

The storytelling is flawless throughout, moments of great comedy and even hilarity alternating with others of rueful understanding and heart-stopping sadness, and its ending is at once surprising, uplifting and unlike anything this Pulitzer Prize winner has ever written.

©2009 Richard Russo; (P)2009 Random House

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.6 (252 )
5 star
 (59)
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 (82)
3 star
 (65)
2 star
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 (12)
Overall
3.7 (62 )
5 star
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Story
4.0 (61 )
5 star
 (27)
4 star
 (17)
3 star
 (8)
2 star
 (8)
1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Stephen Westminster, MD, United States 10-06-09
    Stephen Westminster, MD, United States 10-06-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    12
    6
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    "What you buy Russo books for...."

    Richard Russo fans think about his books like Yogi Berra thinks about pizza. You don't buy Russo for the drama, the sex & violence, or the crisp pace. You get them for the character development, the subtlety, and the insight into life. All of those are abundantly present in "Cape Magic". The characters aren't quite as colorful as those in "Nobody's Fool", but they are consistent with the setting of the novel. This book is probably more like "Straight Man", but there is certainly nothing wrong with that. Although the characters weren't as fully developed as in his earlier novels, I found the fast forward time skips interesting. By explaining the death of the protagonist's mother in retrospect following the hiatus, Russo leaves room for the reader to sort out the impact. Overall, it was somewhat different from Russo's earlier works, but still excellent.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Fred Pike Milwaukee, WI 10-04-09
    Fred Pike Milwaukee, WI 10-04-09 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
    ratings
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    32
    5
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    Overall
    "Instantly-recognizable Richard Russo book"

    I really like Richard Russo and, while this book is not as good as "Nobody's Fool" or "Empire Falls", it's recognizably Russo and very satisfying.
    Russo takes a long time to develop his characters - that's part of his style and charm. If you're not willing to be patient and let the story unfold, then you probably won't like this book (or any of his other ones).
    That said, this book struck me almost like "Russo Abridged". There were some time and character jumps that, in previous books, would have been explored in much more detail. The other books were all at least twice as long, and the difference shows.
    Even without the normal depth of character development, I liked these characters, cared what happened to them, and didn't want the book to end.
    While it's not the best Russo book ever, I found it enjoyable and extremely easy to slip back into Russo's world and way of writing. Also, it's narrated well, which always helps. I recommend it, particularly if you've read and enjoyed any of his other books.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Everett Leiter New York, NY 03-22-10
    Everett Leiter New York, NY 03-22-10 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    308
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    118
    49
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    "Entertaining"

    Perhaps not one of Richard Russo's best, but fun to read nonetheless. If you know and love Cape Cod, you may experience an added layer of enjoyment.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Donna South Haven, MI, USA 03-17-10
    Donna South Haven, MI, USA 03-17-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    23
    1
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    "Guess ya gotta be a Russo fan..."

    How anyone, who is a fan, does not like this book makes my eyes cross. This book has more humor than I found in any of the other books. And I "read" them all. If you are considering this and are a fan, my money is on the fact that you will enjoy it! I sure did!!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patti Chittenango, NY, United States 04-14-13
    Patti Chittenango, NY, United States 04-14-13 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    584
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    499
    282
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    Performance
    Story
    "In The Middle"

    I absolutely loved Nobody's Fool and was very dissappointed with The Straight Man. This was in the middle of those two. I appreciate Russo's tales for his male perspective. The story is still interesting to me, as a woman, as I can relate to many (not all) of the family, growing up quirks he describes. Families and marriages are never very simple and neither is this story.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chriss Aurora, IL, USA 09-24-09
    Chriss Aurora, IL, USA 09-24-09 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    3
    1
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    0
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    "I stuck with it till the end..."

    This book was horrible. Sorry to be so blunt, but really wish someone warned me. The man character is a man in his 50's...I never figured out what he was so unhappy about. The whole story goes on and on and on about his unhappy childhood and his dissatisfaction with his life. Yet no major trauma or infliction is revealed.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew portland, ME, USA 09-21-09
    Andrew portland, ME, USA 09-21-09 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
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    12
    2
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    "a bit of a disappointment"

    Not a terrible book, but a bit shallow and without the wit the author usually displays. I'll finish it, but it doesn't keep me sitting in the parking lot waiting for a good stopping place before I turn it off.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Quinlan Hanamaki, Japan 11-05-12
    Quinlan Hanamaki, Japan 11-05-12 Member Since 2012
    ratings
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    3
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    Story
    "Very well performed, but disappointing book."
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    I was just expecting something wittier and less heavy. I was depressed after listening.


    Has That Old Cape Magic turned you off from other books in this genre?

    Maybe a little.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Downingtown, PA, United States 03-24-11
    Susan Downingtown, PA, United States 03-24-11
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    49
    6
    Overall
    "Sticks with you"

    I wasn't sure how I felt about it as I was "reading" it. But as time passes I find myself thinking of plot points and scenes again and again. It definitely grew on me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daniel Ossining, NY, United States 03-21-11
    Daniel Ossining, NY, United States 03-21-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
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    8
    4
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    0
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    Overall
    "Great easy listen"

    A fun and easy listen when you are looking for something to relax to. I would also say that it seemed to go by much more quickly than the allotted time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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