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The Laments | [George Hagen]

The Laments

Constantly moving, from South Africa to the Persian Gulf, to Rhodesia, to England, and ultimately to suburban New Jersey, the Laments are a quirky and lovable family who live by the motto "anywhere but here." The main character, Will Lament, whom the Laments take home from the hospital as a result of a bizarre mix-up, grows up feeling that he doesn't belong.
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Publisher's Summary

Constantly moving, from South Africa to the Persian Gulf, to Rhodesia, to England, and ultimately to suburban New Jersey, the Laments are a quirky and lovable family who live by the motto "anywhere but here." The main character, Will Lament, whom the Laments take home from the hospital as a result of a bizarre mix-up, grows up feeling that he doesn't belong. For after all, there is his father, an idealistic engineer; his mother, a woman of indomitable spirit with a passion for Shakespeare; and his brothers, twins Marcus and Julius, who are nothing but trouble. What makes this quirky family so universal is Will's search for identity and the Laments' unwieldy love for one another, even in the most difficult of times.

©2004 George Hagen; (P)2004 Books on Tape

What the Critics Say

"A family story on speed, with a jolt of black comedy that makes it a close relative to that greatest of all American family stories, The Simpsons." (The New York Times Book Review)
"A funny, touching novel about the meaning of family." (Publishers Weekly)
"Mr. Hagen has shaped an affectionate family portrait in which the characters come vividly to life, no matter how adrift they may be." (The New York Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (18 )
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  •  
    Everett Leiter New York, NY 03-13-05
    Everett Leiter New York, NY 03-13-05 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    301
    ratings
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    118
    49
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    Overall
    "Highly original"

    This was one of the most enjoyable novels I have read in a while. I can't exactly say why I enjoyed this book so immensely. Perhaps, the story of this family that picks up and moves to different parts of the world every few years strikes a chord for how we all sometimes experience the feeling of being an outsider. Who but an outsider can appreciate the dysfunctionality that everyone else inside a culture takes for granted? Who but an outsider can feel the loss of not belonging? This is a quick-paced, very entertaining book. While it has its share of tragic moments, it is also full of "laugh out loud" humor, intelligent asides, and dialogue that rings true. The characters of all ages - from the young children to the grandmother - vividly drawn. The narrator did an excellent job. He not only gave each character a voice, but changed accents (South African, British, American) adroitly.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Doggy Bird Glen Ridge, NJ USA 11-16-04
    Doggy Bird Glen Ridge, NJ USA 11-16-04 Member Since 2001

    doggybird

    HELPFUL VOTES
    474
    ratings
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    132
    93
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    70
    6
    Overall
    "Reminded me of a John Irving novel"

    I tremendously enjoyed this audiobook and was constantly thinking of how very John Irving-like the story seemed....it's a bit weird, with tragic moments presented in a very unsentimental way. Seems contemporary and realistic even in its portrayal of the past, very appealing, drew me in immediately. The reader does a good job and I would be very eager to read another book by this author or to hear this narrator again.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nancy McKinney, TX, United States 10-22-10
    Nancy McKinney, TX, United States 10-22-10
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    1
    Overall
    "I loved this book."

    I read this book in hardcover and then listened to it again. It was even better the second time around. George Hagen has an engaging style and kept my interest from start to finish. I hope that he will write more in the future.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alice Carmel, NY, USA 02-15-07
    Alice Carmel, NY, USA 02-15-07
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
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    Overall
    "Surprisingly engaging"

    My book group really liked this book. The characters were interesting, and the Laments' saga made for engaging discussion.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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