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Publisher's Summary

That Old Cape Magic is a novel of deep introspection and every family feeling imaginable, with a middle-aged man confronting his parents and their failed marriage, his own troubled one, his daughter's new life and, finally, what it was he thought he wanted and what in fact he has.

The storytelling is flawless throughout, moments of great comedy and even hilarity alternating with others of rueful understanding and heart-stopping sadness, and its ending is at once surprising, uplifting and unlike anything this Pulitzer Prize winner has ever written.

©2009 Richard Russo; (P)2009 Random House

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.6 out of 5.0
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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Stephen
  • Westminster, MD, United States
  • 10-06-09

What you buy Russo books for....

Richard Russo fans think about his books like Yogi Berra thinks about pizza. You don't buy Russo for the drama, the sex & violence, or the crisp pace. You get them for the character development, the subtlety, and the insight into life. All of those are abundantly present in "Cape Magic". The characters aren't quite as colorful as those in "Nobody's Fool", but they are consistent with the setting of the novel. This book is probably more like "Straight Man", but there is certainly nothing wrong with that. Although the characters weren't as fully developed as in his earlier novels, I found the fast forward time skips interesting. By explaining the death of the protagonist's mother in retrospect following the hiatus, Russo leaves room for the reader to sort out the impact. Overall, it was somewhat different from Russo's earlier works, but still excellent.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Instantly-recognizable Richard Russo book

I really like Richard Russo and, while this book is not as good as "Nobody's Fool" or "Empire Falls", it's recognizably Russo and very satisfying.
Russo takes a long time to develop his characters - that's part of his style and charm. If you're not willing to be patient and let the story unfold, then you probably won't like this book (or any of his other ones).
That said, this book struck me almost like "Russo Abridged". There were some time and character jumps that, in previous books, would have been explored in much more detail. The other books were all at least twice as long, and the difference shows.
Even without the normal depth of character development, I liked these characters, cared what happened to them, and didn't want the book to end.
While it's not the best Russo book ever, I found it enjoyable and extremely easy to slip back into Russo's world and way of writing. Also, it's narrated well, which always helps. I recommend it, particularly if you've read and enjoyed any of his other books.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Entertaining

Perhaps not one of Richard Russo's best, but fun to read nonetheless. If you know and love Cape Cod, you may experience an added layer of enjoyment.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Patti
  • Chittenango, NY, United States
  • 04-14-13

In The Middle

I absolutely loved Nobody's Fool and was very dissappointed with The Straight Man. This was in the middle of those two. I appreciate Russo's tales for his male perspective. The story is still interesting to me, as a woman, as I can relate to many (not all) of the family, growing up quirks he describes. Families and marriages are never very simple and neither is this story.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Donna
  • South Haven, MI, USA
  • 03-17-10

Guess ya gotta be a Russo fan...

How anyone, who is a fan, does not like this book makes my eyes cross. This book has more humor than I found in any of the other books. And I "read" them all. If you are considering this and are a fan, my money is on the fact that you will enjoy it! I sure did!!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Chriss
  • Aurora, IL, USA
  • 09-24-09

I stuck with it till the end...

This book was horrible. Sorry to be so blunt, but really wish someone warned me. The man character is a man in his 50's...I never figured out what he was so unhappy about. The whole story goes on and on and on about his unhappy childhood and his dissatisfaction with his life. Yet no major trauma or infliction is revealed.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Andrew
  • portland, ME, USA
  • 09-21-09

a bit of a disappointment

Not a terrible book, but a bit shallow and without the wit the author usually displays. I'll finish it, but it doesn't keep me sitting in the parking lot waiting for a good stopping place before I turn it off.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Eh, kind of predictable with a fairy tale ending.

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

well i was driving so it was mildly entertaining

Would you be willing to try another book from Richard Russo? Why or why not?

it's all about the words and describing characters which is fine, but the story line is basic suburbia.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

no

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Very well performed, but disappointing book.

Is there anything you would change about this book?

I was just expecting something wittier and less heavy. I was depressed after listening.

Has That Old Cape Magic turned you off from other books in this genre?

Maybe a little.

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  • Susan
  • Downingtown, PA, United States
  • 03-24-11

Sticks with you

I wasn't sure how I felt about it as I was "reading" it. But as time passes I find myself thinking of plot points and scenes again and again. It definitely grew on me.

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