Summer 1964: Beatlemania hits the States, and the world mourns the loss of JFK. For 11-year-old Gus LeGarde, the powerful events that rocked the nation serve as a backdrop for the most challenging summer of his life.
Gus is spending another glorious summer at his grandparents' lakeside camp with his best friends, Elsbeth and Siegfried Marggrander. When their boat capsizes, Gus and the twins witness a drunk chasing a girl through the foggy Maine woods. She's scared. She's hurt. And she disappears.
On horseback and on foot, Gus, Elsbeth, and Siegfried search for Sharon Adamski, worried her brutal father will find her before they do. During the hunt, Gus is faced with a number of personal dilemmas. He must keep secret his new friendship with "Mrs. Jones" (Rose Kennedy), a woman in mourning who resides incognito. Gus also glimpses a slice of the twins' life through their mother,who lost her family in a Nazi concentration camp. In a cruel coincidence, Gus faces the imminent loss of his own mother.
The camp is thrown into turmoil as the frantic search for Sharon continues. Reports of stolen religious relics arise. New England churches are ransacked, and missing is the church bell cast by Paul Revere, stolen from St. Stephen's church in Boston's North End. When Gus stumbles on a scepter that may be part of the spoils, he becomes a target for the evil lurking around the lake. Will he find Sharon before the villain does? And how can Gus - armed only with a big heart, a motorboat, and a nosy beagle - survive the menacing attacks on his life?
©2006 Aaron Paul Lazar (P)2011 Aaron Paul Lazar
"Beautifully written, with the perfect touch of nostalgia and suspense, the pages of this book tremble with a strong emotional appeal. Set in Maine, during the summer of 1964, there is a vivid sense of traveling back in time, as memorable moments of this era provide the framework for the story. The author has captured both the coziness as well as the craziness of the sixties, thereby making the plot realistic and riveting." (In the Library Reviews)
I loved this book so much I gifted it to some friends! It is a great comming of age story that is told through the eyes of a 12 year old, in the 50's. The mystery within the story is gripping and has many twists and turns.It also examins issues of race and acceptance. I loved this book and the naration was perfect for this story.
There were three distinct story lines in this book, each one enough to keep you listening non stop - multiply by 3 and it is unbeatable.
Erik Synnstvedt managed different voices for all of the characters that were distinct and believeable.
I enjoyed the excitment of the 12 year olds over simple things juxtaposed to the very complex issues of their time and the situation of the missing girl.
I did not want this book to be over, just wanted to go on listening forever.
This was my second Lazar book, and I enjoyed it even more than the first. I previously read Double Forte, which featured Gus LeGarde as a grandfather. Reading about Gus's antics as a kid in Tremolo, knowing how life was going to treat him and his family and friends in years to come, gave a special depth to the characters, even in the tiny details like Gus's grandfather calling him "sport" as Gus later calls his own grandson.
Obviously, Tremolo is set several decades before Double Forte, in 1964 to be exact. Lazar's rich array of details of the time and place obviously calls upon personal experiences, not mere research into the Maine lakes in the 1960's. In fact, a good share of my enjoyment of this book was in those "Oh, yeah!" moments from my own youth in Maine. I cut my feet on lake mussels, and tripped over protruding roots on pine needle-padded paths, and worked at a small family-run resort, and a million other things Lazar weaves into his tale.
As with Double Forte, there are broad gaps between action sequences and developments of the mystery plot, which are filled with Gus's narrative about the life going on around and inside him. In Tremolo, Lazar adds cultural references (e.g., JFK's assassination, To Kill a Mockingbird) that provide social commentary as Gus is educated in the summer school of hard knocks. It all adds up to a very good read.
Erik Synnestvedt was perfectly cast to narrate Tremolo. I'd listen to this guy read the phone book aloud. He portrayed young Gus's first person narrative brilliantly and switched from one character's voice to another flawlessly.
Using a deceptively simple presentation, Aaron Paul Lazar serves this story of a young Gus LeGarde 11, like a refreshing savory meal. He brings us back to the 60's, a time before the prevalence of electronics and fast food and crazy schedules. The children in this story play and explore and feel their power. They are free in ways our culture has since forgotten.
The plot centers around Gus' coming of age, his crush on a 15 year old girl, watching "To Kill a Mockingbird" with his parents and his subsequent emotions and questions (he asks his parents what rape is), his friendship with German-raised 10 year old twins, the children's adventures in trying to find a terrified young girl they had seen fleeing from a drunken man, mysteries around valuable missing religious artifacts and life at his grandfather's camp.
Aaron's gentle spirit comes through in his writing even with the complex subject matter. It's like he's serving a good meal on a tray and wants to be sure that we will like it.
I read the other reviews and wonder if some of the more critical ones don't miss the point a bit. Can't it be okay to enjoy ourselves wandering through the summer with these children, coming of age with them? I am fairly new to Aaron's writing style and am enjoying the pace with it's richness of sensation and weaving of characters and scenes both those he creates on his own and those he brings in from his past. Who hasn't had a situation, if not exactly the same at least in the same genre, in which he remembers his dad chasing bats around the house in his boxers and then recaptures so delightfully in Tremolo?
Aaron generously gives of himself while he creates a world for us to wander in and around, enjoying adventures with his characters.
Erik Synnestvedt's narration in the audio version of Tremelo is in my opinion, perfect. This is true you see, because it draws attention to the story being narrated and not to Erik himself. Thank you Asron and Erik for this little trip down memory lane. It's like I got, for a moment, to be a child again albeit with some nearly harrowing adventures!
Aaron Paul Lazar is a fine writer, and his richly detailed story easily takes the reader back to the summer of 1964. Most of the historical details are familiar, and the songs bring back memories.
Gus LeGarde takes a big step toward becoming the man he is in later books, a character I love. He and his best friends, Sigfried and Elspeth, are spending the summer at Gus’s grandparents’ cabins in Maine, along with a mystery visitor traveling under the name “Mrs. Jones,” whom Gus befriends. Mrs. Jones has suffered a tragedy, and Gus’s ready sympathy and understanding help her through a bad time. The scenes with Mrs. Jones are among my favorites.
A girl Gus glimpses in the woods captures the young trio’s attention and sets them on the path to risky adventures and a mystery. As the summer progresses, tragedy mixes with simple pleasures, and Gus becomes aware of some unexpected adult experiences. The tolerant, realistic way the adults around him handle things, and Gus's own reactions help shape the man he'll become.
Narrator Erik Synnestvedt handles the different voices well, making it easy to distinguish them. He conveys emotions believably and without overdoing them. I really enjoyed his reading of some of the same characters in Don’t Let the Wind Catch You and was pleased to find him narrating this book. I highly recommend Tremolo: Cry of the Loon for reading or listening.
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