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Three Junes

A Novel
Narrated by: John Keating
Length: 13 hrs and 59 mins
Categories: Fiction, Contemporary
3.5 out of 5 stars (1,528 ratings)

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This Story Is Sweet

Editorial Reviews

Why we think it's Essential: I listened to Three Junes after a trip to Scotland, and found myself transported back to that country by John Keating's lilting narration of this engrossing family saga. But Keating's storytelling prowess extends beyond Scotland's borders; he is just as skilled with American characterizations and crosses time zones and years seamlessly in recounting the three summers that make up this gorgeous National Book Award-winning story. — Diana Dapito

Publisher's Summary

National Book Award, Fiction, 2002

A Good Morning America "Read This" selection, Three Junes is a vividly textured symphonic novel set on both sides of the Atlantic during three fateful summers in the lives of a Scottish family. In June 1989, Paul McLeod, the recently widowed patriarch, becomes infatuated with a young American artist while traveling through Greece, and is compelled to relive the secret sorrows of his marriage. Six years later, Paul's death reunites his sons at Tealing, their idyllic childhood home, where Fenno, the eldest, faces a choice that puts him at the center of his family's future. A lovable, slightly repressed gay man, Fenno leads the life of an aloof expatriate in the West Village, running a shop filled with books and birdwatching gear. He believes himself safe from all emotional entanglements - until a worldly neighbor presents him with an extraordinary gift and a seductive photographer makes him an unwitting subject. Each man draws Fenno into territories of the heart he has never braved before, leading him toward an almost unbearable loss that will reveal to him the nature of love.

Love in its limitless forms - between husband and wife, between lovers, between people and animals, between parents and children - is the force that moves these characters' lives, which collide again, in yet another June, over a Long Island dinner table. This time it is Fenno who meets and captivates Fern, the same woman who captivated his father in Greece ten years before. Now pregnant with a son of her own, Fern, like Fenno and Paul before him, must make peace with her past to embrace her future. Elegantly detailed yet full of emotional suspense, often as comic as it is sad, Three Junes is a glorious triptych about how we learn to live, and live fully, beyond incurable grief and betrayals of the heart - how family ties, both those we're born into and those we make, can offer us redemption and joy.

Three Junes is available in print from Pantheon Books.

©2002 by Julia Glass
(P)2002 by Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Julia Glass' talent just sends chills up my spine; her novel is a marvel." (Richard Russo, author of Empire Falls)
"Has the rich pleasures of a 19th-century novel and the rush of New York life of the last ten years. I'm amazed it's a first novel - it is a mature, captivating work of fiction." (John Casey, author of The Half-life of Happiness)
"Almost threatens to burst with all the life it contains...extraordinary." (Michael Cunningham, author of The Hours)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Dagmar
  • Eudora, KS, USA
  • 01-09-03

Beautiful Narration of a Wonderful Story!

Delightfully written, true to life & completely believable characters make this the best "read" I've had in a long time. The narration with the brogue really completes it. My only complaint is that the book goes from past to present & back again very frequently & can be hard to follow (especially at first, till you figure out what's going on). It doubtlessly would have been easier to follow on paper.

Honestly, this has been my best find here, I highly recommend it!

54 of 59 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Three Junes

This is my first review after literally dozens and dozens of listens. I've been tempted to write reviews before - so, this doesn't mean this is the best I've listened to. But - it was a great listen. I didn't want to reach the end - I grew that much interested in these people's lives. If you're interested in a narrative about relationships between spouses, lovers, siblings, pet owners and pets, you will enjoy this book, The narration was excellent.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Lynn B
  • Wheatley,KY USA
  • 01-02-04

Disjointed

If I had not been trapped in a car on a 13 hour trip to Kentucky with no other Audible book available, I would never have finished this book.

It was so confusing that I listened to part 1 twice without realizing it until I was 20 minutes into it.

Some of Fenno's observations are delightful but they, sadly, do not make up for the rest of the book's lack of organization.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

The Search For Love

In the end I enjoyed the book. However, that said, I also agree with negative reviewers in that part 2, the longest of this three part novel, could have used an editor. The flashbacks and time frames got mixed up and at times were really hard to follow.

Further, while audible has this book listed in the genre of fiction with a subheading of contemporary most online book sites list it in the LGBT section. Be aware that the book focuses a great deal on gay men in 1980's NYC during the early AIDS crisis. At times, for me, this focus was too generalized, distanced and stereotypical.

Overall, I stuck with the story in spite of these reservations because I liked the author's writing style and I was caught up in how the tale would play out. I really like books that twist time and provide a variety of points of view on the same events. This was my first book written by Glass and I plan on continuing with her more recent novels. Not perfect, but worth a listen as much of the writing was beautifully done.

28 of 33 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A great book with many layers.

This book is teeming with its relationships and interconnected lives. The three interrelating, but separate stories are all wonderfully written. Some books lend themselves better to audio than others and this is defently one of them. I found myself relistening a few times and picking up more from the book each time.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Derek
  • Union, KY, United States
  • 04-09-09

What?!?

I have trudged through this entire volume spending much of the time trying to figure out if I was in the present or the past. There was often no pause at all when changing from time to time and I often found myself hitting the rewind button.
All of the narrator's 'American' voices sounded the same which made this further difficult to understand - especially when a character who had died had his voice resurrected in a new character. The worst part is that the story wasn't worth the time I spent trying to understand what was happening and to whom. Wish I had that credit back.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Very difficult to follow

I bought this title with high expectations. I was quite disappointed, and listened to the first CD five different times on my commute to work.
I agree with Kathy that it's very hard to follow. It jumps around from past to present unexpectedly and introduces too many characters at one time. I just could not keep up with the storyline or who was who.
The narrator reads with a heavy accent so perhaps this contributed to the audiobook being so hard to follow.
In any case, after listening to the first CD for the fifth time, I came to the conclusion that I really didn't care about the characters or the storyline and threw away the CD's and began listening to "The Cabinet of Curiosities", also available on Audible, and which I heartily recommend!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

I truly loved listening to this novel

The characters were wonderful, the writing witty and touching, the reader just beautiful. My only regret - I wished the third part of the book was about the french wife, I think she would have made a very compelling story. But all in all, I loved it.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Intriguing, Insightful, Rewarding!

A delightful story about engaging, imperfect and lovable people. Many beautiful turns of a phrase and fresh, believable metaphors sprinkled throughout. Also,Keating's reading made the book so much more delightful than it would have been to sight read. His native burr and command of accents and styles of speech is wonderful. Never difficult to hear the content, however. I found the jumps between past and present always incorporated a clue to the time period quiickly after the jump. It kept this reader alert and involved in each unfolding event or recollection.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Daniel
  • Chicago, IL, USA
  • 04-26-05

Better Read than Listen?

I'd have a hard time recommending this as an audio book. I believe it would be a better read than listen. In my case, while driving, I found the audio book a bit too difficult to listen to, found myself rewinding too often to re-listen to many things that I couldn't catch the first time, either due to the Scottish accent of the narrator, the fact the book jumps back and forth between scenes, or the elaborate language. It's funny, but after completing the whole book, I went back and re-listed to the first 2 hours, and it was as if I had never heard it before. Nonetheless, the second time around, it all made much more sense, however I still believe it is an awkward beginning.

As a whole, this book is about the McLeod family, and primarily about Fenno. Then, about 3/4 of the way through, the storyline just drops off and goes on to discuss Fern. I cannot understand how this did not get edited out. I did not care for this character at this point, and kept asking myself, "but what about Fenno?" This event made the book entirely unbalanced. Sure, Fenno's and Fern's lives intersect, but did Fern's entire history add value to understanding their relationship? - I do not think so. The publisher's summary that Fern "must make peace with her past to embrace her future" is simply putting varnish on the weak part of the book. In my opinion, it was simply a story that the writer could simply not throw out, and the overall story suffers for it.

Overall, the book contains volumes of beautifully written prose. Indeed, Julia Glass does paint wonderful pictures of "love in its limitless forms." Regarding the actual audio format, the narrator is both a blessing and barrier, his different accents and inflections help the listener distinguish between characters and often adds color and charm, but at the same time the Scottish accent can be difficult to understand. Additionally, the book would have greatly benefited from a distinct pause when jumping from one scene to another.

14 of 17 people found this review helpful