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5 Local Warehouse Literature- A to Z

Songs without Words: A Novel

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Songs without Words: A Novel Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Ann Packer's debut novel, The Dive from Clausen's Pier, was a nationwide bestseller that established her as one of our most gifted chroniclers of the interior lives of women. Now, in her long-awaited second novel, she takes us on a journey into a lifelong friendship pushed to the breaking point. Expertly, with the keen introspection and psychological nuance that are her hallmarks, she explores what happens when there are inequities between friends and when the hard-won balances of a long relationship are disturbed, perhaps irreparably, by a harrowing crisis.

Liz and Sarabeth were childhood neighbors in the suburbs of northern California, brought as close as sisters by the suicide of Sarabeth's mother when the girls were just sixteen. In the decades that followed — through Liz's marriage and the birth of her children, through Sarabeth's attempts to make a happy life for herself despite the shadow cast by her mother's act — their relationship remained a source of continuity and strength. But when Liz's adolescent daughter enters dangerous waters that threaten to engulf the family, the fault lines in the women's friendship are revealed, and both Liz and Sarabeth are forced to reexamine their most deeply held beliefs about their connection. Songs without Words is about the sometimes confining roles we take on in our closest relationships, about the familial myths that shape us both as children and as parents, and about the limits — and the power — of the friendships we create when we are young.

Once again, Ann Packer has written a novel of singular force and complexity: thoughtful, moving, and absolutely gripping, it more than confirms her prodigious literary gifts.

Review:

"Packer follows her well-received first novel, The Dive from Clausen's Pier, with a richly nuanced meditation on the place of friendship in women's lives. Liz and Sarabeth's childhood friendship deepened following Sarabeth's mother's suicide when the girls were 16; now the two women are in their 40s and living in the Bay Area. Responsible mother-of-two Liz has come to see eccentric, bohemian Sarabeth, with her tendency to enter into inappropriate relationships with men, as more like another child than as a sister or mutually supportive friend. When Liz's teenage daughter, Lauren, perpetuates a crisis, Liz doubts her parenting abilities; Sarabeth is plunged into uncomfortable memories; and the hidden fragilities of what seemed a steadfast relationship come to the fore. Packer adroitly navigates Lauren's teen despair, Sarabeth's lonely longings and Liz's feelings of guilt and inadequacy. Although Liz's husband, Brody, and other men in the book are less than compelling, Packer gets deep into the perspectives of Liz, Sarabeth and Lauren, and follows out their conflicts with an unsentimental sympathy. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Ann Packer has been looking in our windows.

The majority of readers of contemporary literary fiction in America — especially fiction written by women — are women themselves, and in her new novel, 'Songs Without Words,' Packer has tapped into the things that worry many of these readers: love and satisfaction in their relationships, the emotional and psychological health of their... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"A quiet narrative whose emotions, we come to realize, run deep and true....Commendably ambitious and ultimately rewarding." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"As in The Dive From Clausen's Pier, Packer makes the ripples from one act so involving, you can't pull away." Good Housekeeping

Review:

"What's most impressive...is Packer's ability to set a story in the wealthy and beautiful suburbs of San Francisco and make her characters' suffering authentic." USA Today

Review:

"A novel has the potential not simply to hold up a mirror to our known experience but also to reflect the seemingly indecipherable tangle of our inner worlds." Los Angeles Times

Review:

"[A] close and careful look at the bonds of friendship, and the painful aftermath when a loved one follows the sad compulsion to end her own life." Cleveland Plain Dealer

Review:

"[R]eaders will be pleased to find Packer's remarkable talent for characterization in the pages of her second novel." Charlotte Observer

About the Author

Ann Packer received a Great Lakes Book Award and the Kate Chopin Literary Award for The Dive from Clausen's Pier, a national bestseller that has been translated into ten languages. Also the author of Mendocino and Other Stories, she lives in northern California with her family.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Snarlyreader, January 2, 2008 (view all comments by Snarlyreader)
I really wanted to like this. The truth is, it's pretty boring. The only interesting character in the book is Liz's daughter. Nothing happens with any of the other characters, literally nothing. Her son goes to school, her husband goes to work. Liz is a typical mother and Sarabeth, her best friend, is annoying and whiny.

I like Ann Packer and had high hopes for this book. It starts out with promise, but it doesn't really go anywhere.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(5 of 11 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

ISBN:
9780375412813
Author:
Packer, Ann
Publisher:
Knopf
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Self-perception
Subject:
Female friendship
Copyright:
Edition Number:
1st
Publication Date:
September 4, 2007
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
9.32x6.64x1.19 in. 1.32 lbs.

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Related Subjects


Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Songs without Words: A Novel Used Hardcover
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$1.95 In Stock
Product details 352 pages Random House - English 9780375412813 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Packer follows her well-received first novel, The Dive from Clausen's Pier, with a richly nuanced meditation on the place of friendship in women's lives. Liz and Sarabeth's childhood friendship deepened following Sarabeth's mother's suicide when the girls were 16; now the two women are in their 40s and living in the Bay Area. Responsible mother-of-two Liz has come to see eccentric, bohemian Sarabeth, with her tendency to enter into inappropriate relationships with men, as more like another child than as a sister or mutually supportive friend. When Liz's teenage daughter, Lauren, perpetuates a crisis, Liz doubts her parenting abilities; Sarabeth is plunged into uncomfortable memories; and the hidden fragilities of what seemed a steadfast relationship come to the fore. Packer adroitly navigates Lauren's teen despair, Sarabeth's lonely longings and Liz's feelings of guilt and inadequacy. Although Liz's husband, Brody, and other men in the book are less than compelling, Packer gets deep into the perspectives of Liz, Sarabeth and Lauren, and follows out their conflicts with an unsentimental sympathy. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "A quiet narrative whose emotions, we come to realize, run deep and true....Commendably ambitious and ultimately rewarding."
"Review" by , "As in The Dive From Clausen's Pier, Packer makes the ripples from one act so involving, you can't pull away."
"Review" by , "What's most impressive...is Packer's ability to set a story in the wealthy and beautiful suburbs of San Francisco and make her characters' suffering authentic."
"Review" by , "A novel has the potential not simply to hold up a mirror to our known experience but also to reflect the seemingly indecipherable tangle of our inner worlds."
"Review" by , "[A] close and careful look at the bonds of friendship, and the painful aftermath when a loved one follows the sad compulsion to end her own life."
"Review" by , "[R]eaders will be pleased to find Packer's remarkable talent for characterization in the pages of her second novel."
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