A romantic pause resister propelled by the 60-year secret that has shaped two families, four lovers, and one seaside resort community.
Set against dramatic Mediterranean Sea views and lush olive groves, The Rocks opens with a confrontation and a secret: What was the mysterious, catastrophic event that drove two honeymooners apart so suddenly and absolutely in 1948 that they never spoke again despite living on the same island for 60 more years? And how did their history shape the Romeo and Juliet-like romance of their (unrelated) children decades later? Centered around a popular seaside resort club and its community, The Rocks is a double love story that begins with a mystery, then moves backward in time, era by era, to unravel what really happened decades earlier.
Peter Nichols writes with a pervading, soulful wisdom and self-knowing humor and captures perfectly this world of glamorous, complicated, misbehaving types with all their sophisticated flaws and genuine longing. The result is a bittersweet, intelligent, and romantic novel about how powerful the perceived truth can be - as a bond and as a barrier - even if it's not really the whole story and how one misunderstanding can echo irreparably through decades.
©2015 Peter Nichols (P)2015 Penguin Audio
"A wondrous novel. The Rocks is clearly the odyssey Peter Nichols was born to undertake." (Richard Russo)
"A Mediterranean idyll, a family saga, a mystery. A love story that's as weird as real life, as rich and surprising and tender and affecting. The Rocks is all these things. Like Beautiful Ruins, it reminds me of all the reasons I read novels." (Jennifer Haigh, Pen/Hemingway Award-winning author of Faith)
I live in Scottsdale, Arizona. I have 5 grown children, play ukuele exercise, and read.
Probably not. I ignored previous reviewers who said that it was hard to tell what timeframe the story was in. I would find myself spending 5 minutes going "what-what just happened?" because it's now 1946 instead of 2005. So I would lose track of some of the happenings.
Haven't read any others.
I think he did a good job.
Yes, because I think it would have been easier to follow the time-frames.
Now that I'm finished, I think it was a good book. But I really don't know how it could have been presented so that it was easier to know what year the story was covering.
A wonderful literary summer read! My only complaint is the reader's female voices all sounded the same and were a tad annoying. However don't let that keep you from an otherwise wonderful listen.
Out of the hundreds of books in my library, this is the only one I listened to twice back to back.
Steve West's performance was amazing. I enjoyed his interpretation of the different accents.
There were certain aspects of the story I didn't care for but the writing was so wonderfully descriptive I felt transported to exotic locales and because of this it was still a 5 star listen for me.
Persnickety, curmudgeonly, locked into a long daily commute which is mitigated somewhat by listening to great books.
Not sure, probably not because I generally believe that the author meant the reader to bring his own voice(s), meter, emphasis to the book.
Location, location, location. I wanted very much to read a book that was infused with Majorca and this one is. I was slightly put off by the face that the village names and road names are fictitious, but there is enough context that you can get a pretty clear sense of where the story takes place in Majorca.
I also very much liked the multi-generational aspect of the story. It was very well crafted.
One of the main characters is very complicated - attractive and friendly, but also strict, willful, and, frankly, mean. The development of this character is very well done.
Lulu for the reasons described above. Gerald is also memorable.
Disclaimer: I am embarrassed to say that I have not read the Odyssey. Clearly, this story is tied up in the Odyssey in ways I will never know, but people who are better read than I will enjoy. There is no doubt in my mind that a reader will enjoy this book more if they know the Odyssey.
The Book Snob for Paris Life Magazine.
One of the best new books I've read this year. A literary tour de force of a modern day Odyssey, this story also takes on a life of its own. And made me want to sail to Ithaca and Majorca.
It's a Homeric journey that Peter Nichols knows and delivers with adept punches, beginning with this, so beautiful:
"As you set out for Ithaka hope the voyage is a long one, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops, Angry Poseidon -- don't be afraid of them . . .
Keep Ithaca always in your mind. Arriving there is what you were destined for.
But do not hurry the journey at all. Better if it lasts for years,
so you are old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.
Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you would not have set out . . . "
If this means nothing to you, you can still enjoy the book, although you will know you are missing out on something. But if it does mean something, ah, sit back and enjoy and watchi it all unfold before your eyes, even as you get pulled into the stories.
Love, history, rich characters, excellent narrative--A clear winner
Sometimes I find stories that don't always refer to the year they are switching to, that I can lose my place in the story and consequently need to rewind.
The scenery was just the place you want to escape to.
I really liked Agena (not sure how it's spelled) because she started out seeming really flat and improbable but turned out to be someone who had been through some hard things and was able to hold her ground.
I also liked Luke for the same reason. We saw him first as a flawed person and he ended up being a strong character.
Otherwise I really liked listening to the pieces from Gerald's point of view. His story was interesting and he has a lot of integrity.
The "honeymoon voyage"
The women were portrayed very oddly sexually. Not that women never rape, but it was extremely common in this book and the sex scenes seemed pretty improbable.
Also the narrator was good overall, but his impression of the German character was hilariously bad.
The characters voices were so overdone that I had to turn it off!
Probably better to read this book!
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