While Maureen fights to regain her sanity, Caelum discovers five generations' worth of diaries, letters, and newspaper clippings in his family's house. As unimaginable secrets emerge, Caelum grapples with the past and struggles to fashion a future from the ashes of tragedy. His quest for meaning is at once mythic and contemporary, personal and quintessentially American.
©2008 Wally Lamb; (P)2008 HarperCollins Publishers
By the time the second file started, I was bored with the story. Yes, it is about a terrible tragedy, but this is a fictional book and was doggone depressing. I wanted to like Caelem but he was pretty much an insensitive bastard. I wanted to like the book but it was just one thing after another and too much altogether.
This certainly lacks the greatness of Wally Lambs other novels. If he wrote an outline or had a concept in mind, he sure got distracted. This book tells several stories at once and becomes tedious and unmercifully boring. By the latter part of the book, well into the civil war bore, I found myself skipping chapters. Oddly enough, one would want to feel sorry for the wife who was a victim at Columbine, but even she becomes a cliche. The main character is not terribly likable either, but that could be due to the narration which was the worst I had ever heard. The narrator sounds like a booze laden, smarmy old man who has a voice that would be better off narrating a book about a guy who lures children into his windowless van with the promise of candy. Thrown uncomfortably into the book is "humorous" banter between the main character and his long time friend. Though some of the comments are mildly amusing, they are mostly cringe worthy and seem pushed into the novel in odd places because the author felt funny that night or had a few drinks.
Overall....this is not a horrible read. It just drones on and requires someone who is easily entertained and has a lot of patience......and....has never read another Lamb novel to have to make the sad comparison.
I listened to this book on my commute to and from work. I found myself on more than a few days, sitting in my garage at home or the company parking garage not wanting to stop listening. The narrator was very easy to listen to and the story was excellent. Highly recommend.
I have listened to both this book and "I Know This Much Is True" and I'm not sure which I like the most. The writing is so clear and beautiful. The stories are fascinating. Some might complain that the novel contains 3 or 4 separate stories and that each could have been a novella itself. But I enjoyed every minute and did not lose track of what was happening. The narration was so good I kept forgetting that this was not Wally Lamb telling his own story.
It was long at times, but I love long books. By the time it was over, I was a blubbering idiot, and not in a super sad way, but in a great way.
I love Wally Lamb!
I really enjoyed this book - it was one of the best I've ever listened to! Even though it is on the longer side, it is captivating beginning to end. I cannot recommend this book strongly enough.
This is a good book. It was not one that I couldn't put down but overall I enjoyed it. I was not expecting the language to be so vulgar in parts. It is definitely not for younger listeners.
I stuck with this book all the way through, but it really was a 1950s Queen-for-a-Day sobfest. Oddly, it didn't succeed in getting me to sob along with his characters, even though I'm a pretty light touch, probably because the characters weren't very well drawn. We know he CAN create good characters, because he has in other books and because there were several secondary characters in this book that were compelling. But the main characters either never jelled, or maybe I just never liked them. By the end, I was happy to see them suffer because I was tired of them and wanted them to go away.
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