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The Dependents

Narrated by: Robert Fass
Length: 8 hrs and 15 mins
3.5 out of 5 stars (33 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

A wise and lyrical debut novel about a new widower confronting the truth about his long marriage.

After the sudden death of his wife, Maida, Gene is haunted by the fear that their marriage was not all it appeared to be. Alongside Ed and Gayle Donnelly, friends since college days, he tries to resurrect happy memories of the times the two couples shared, raising their children in a small New Hampshire town and vacationing together at a lake house every summer. Meanwhile, his daughter, Dary, challenges not only his happy version of the past but also his view of Maida. As a long-standing rift between them deepens, Gene starts to understand how unknown his daughter is to him - and how enigmatic his wife was as well. And a lingering suspicion seizes his mind that could upend everything he thought he knew.  

Katharine Dion's assured debut moves seamlessly between Gene's present-day journey and the long history of a marriage and friendship. Rich and wonderfully alive, The Dependents is the most moving kind of drama, an intimate glance into the expanse of family life and the way we must all eventually bridge the chasm between what we want to believe and what we know to be true. 

©2018 Katharine Dion (P)2018 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"Death and unavoidable truth shatter the serene surface of a man's golden years in Dion's fine debut...The narrative travels back and forth through Gene's life as he tries to pick apart the performative from the heartfelt acts of love. The result is a beautiful story of communication and commitment." (Publishers Weekly)

"Dion's debut novel is a seamless exploration of Gene's past life, long marriage, deep friendships, and present-day struggles through loss and understanding. Her rich and nuanced characters combine with her exceptional writing to create a powerful and intimate look at the inner workings of one family. The Dependents is a deeply satisfying examination of the gulf between what we want to believe and the truth, and readers will be eager for more from Dion." (Booklist, starred review)

"Dion builds tension by revealing bits and pieces of the saga gently and cleverly, carefully propelling the action onward even when Gene is considering the past." (Oakland Magazine)

What members say

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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What a delicate, beautiful book

Absolutely lovely… A subtle, easy-reading meditation on grief, family, friends, and love. The characters are deeply real, and the story swept me along all the way to the satisfying ending. Definitely recommend it.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Boring

This was one of the most boring books I have ever read( or listened to).
Since I was driving, I felt like a captive audience .
I understand that the author was trying to make a point about a worthless life, but this guy was so boring and sad. There was nothing that made the story interesting.
Maybe the point was that there are a lot of people who have this type of life, but it was excruciating to have to listen to it minute by minute.
The review I read before I purchased this said there was some hidden past about his wife. That would have been interesting. This was painful.

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Depressing

This story never went anywhere; it just rambled on and on. It was easy to listen to, and the narrator was good. The story itself, though, was lacking much of a plot.

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Gene. Please Stop Ruminating

There is no doubt that Katherine Dion is a good writer. Her prose can be quite lovely. The problem, for me, was I could not connect with her main character....Gene Ash. This man was way beyond self reflection. Every moment of his life is scrutinized by him, to a fault. There were some passages I actually laughed out loud because he drilled down and over-explained his feelings and made me feel inpatient. It wasn't a sweet, awakening of insight. It was too much. I wanted to like this book because a lot of the writing and imagery are good.