Audie Award Finalist, Mystery, 2014
"What do you think happened to your husband, Mrs. Keller?"
The Sunday morning starts like any other, aside from the slight hangover. Dani Keller wakes up on her Seattle houseboat, a headache building behind her eyes from the wine she drank at a party the night before. But on this particular Sunday morning, she's surprised to see that her husband, Ian, is not home. As the hours pass, Dani fills her day with small things. But still, Ian does not return. Irritation shifts to worry, worry slides almost imperceptibly into panic. And then, like a relentless blackness, the terrible realization hits Dani: He's gone.
As the police work methodically through all the logical explanations - he's hurt, he's run off, he's been killed - Dani searches frantically for a clue as to whether Ian is in fact dead or alive. And, slowly, she unpacks their relationship, holding each moment up to the light: from its intense, adulterous beginning, to the grandeur of their new love, to the difficulties of forever. She examines all the sins she can - and cannot - remember.
As the days pass, Dani will plumb the depths of her conscience, turning over and revealing the darkest of her secrets in order to discover the hard truth - about herself, her husband, and their lives together.
©2013 Deb Caletti (P)2013 Tantor
Dani Keller wakes up to find her husband missing... Gone. As the story unravels, Dani goes through the history of their relationship from how it began with an affair to how it is no longer a story book romance. Her telling of their past corresponds to her emotions. She is frustrated and she tells of the small frustrations, she misses him and she tells about the good parts, she becomes afraid and she tells about the larger missing pieces of their relationship and eventually she comes to accept the reality. No matter how perfect their beginning, in the end, the Keller's became just like everyone else with the same fears and fights. All relationships are basically the same when you look at them closely.
I've listened to hundreds of audiobooks over the years, and I've enjoyed most of them--probably because I read reviews carefully, and I have a pretty clear idea of what I'm going to like. I was torn about purchasing He's Gone for a couple of reasons, including Caletti's reputation as an author of novels primarily aimed at a young adult audience and Pegeen's foregoing "chick lit" and "soap opera" comments.
Ironically, what clinched it for me was Pegeen's impassioned call for less "self-introspection." Character-driven books are the ones I most enjoy, and I consider self-reflection a positive rather than a negative. In the case of He's Gone, I couldn't disagree more regarding the chick lit and soap opera judgments; Caletti is a superb observer of human nature and behavior, and on nearly every page I encountered something that resonated for me in my own life. I am hugely impressed at how Caletti was able to capture universal (and even commonplace) thoughts and emotions in original ways. I love this book so much that I ordered a hard copy from Amazon so that I can go back and highlight particular passages for re-reading and journaling later. "Chacun à son goȗt," as the French say.
Cassandra Campbell understands Dani Keller absolutely, and her narration (which is always good) is spot on.
If you're single, you need to read this book. If you're thinking of getting married, then you really need to read it. In fact, if you ever think about getting divorced, you need to hear this story. And if you ever should consider marrying a previously-married spouse, then you really really need to read it. In fact, unless you're a nun, you really should read it -- and even if you are a nun, you'd probably still find it fascinating.
I had never heard of the book or the author, but wow -- I lucked out. This a blockbuster, un-put-down-able from the very first page. The premise is so exquisitely simple: Dani wakes up one morning after a party and finds that her husband is not in bed, not in the kitchen, not in the house. Where did he go? That's the whole issue, right there, but because life is so complicated, that's more than enough.
Both Dani and husband Ian had been married before, had cheated with each other, then finally broke away, married and moved to a houseboat in Seattle. There are children involved -- children old enough to know what was going on, but not old enough to be gone from the home. There is the lovable dog Pollux, quite a character by himself. But oy, the complications that arise when a spouse simply disappears...
One thing is for sure, Deb Caletti is not only a very wise woman but an awesomely sensitive observer of human nature. Time after time, I found myself smiling at some observation she made, some quirk of common conduct she mused over, some tidbit of wisdom she revealed. It's not just the story -- it's the writing, too. And the narration? Perfect.
Don't miss this one -- and don't compare it to "Gone Girl", either. I liked 'Gone Girl' -- but this books is ten times better than that one.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and was gripped from the first few minutes!
I felt like I was listening to the main character tell "her story".
I was moved into near-high blood pressure from the first chapter!
I loved this book. It is well written, well paced and the mystery aspect intriguing. Narration good. I highly recommend this book.
I really enjoyed this book, but sometimes felt I was being condescended to. Maybe it's because this is a YA fiction writer, and she feels the need to spell it out too much. Still, the atmosphere, with its combination of frustrated, historical longing, along with an undercurrent of "better off without him" was very compelling.
I felt that some characters were well-developed, and others were left without realizing their potential. The mother is good, the best friend is a face-less nonentity, for example.
Right up there with "A Prayer for Owen Meany" and "The Prince of Tides" for depth and complexity of an intriguing plot that grabbed me right away. The skillful weaving of past and present kept me guessing (and riveted) until the end. Along with Cassandra Campbell's inspired performance, I could not stop listening until I found out what happened. Then I did it again, slower, savoring the ingenious way this story was told. Such beautiful prose...
Professional woman, reading constantly
I was a bit dubious about purchasing this book since it sounded like the story line was going to be similar to "Gone Girl". I didn't like "Gone Girl" because of all the nutsy behaviour between the husband and wife and I had a difficult time finishing that book.
However, a friend had read "He's Gone" and recommended it highly, so I took the chance. Glad I did. A fast read and entertaining. Wonderful narration as well.
While it lacked the twists and turns of Gone Girl, it held my attention and was well done. I would definitely recommend it.
Also, well performed.
The ending really wasn't a surprise. I don't want to ruin it for others, but police usually follow procedures. They did not in this case. Otherwise, an enjoyable diversion.
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