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Original Essays | September 15, 2014

Lois Leveen: IMG Forsooth Me Not: Shakespeare, Juliet, Her Nurse, and a Novel



There's this writer, William Shakespeare. Perhaps you've heard of him. He wrote this play, Romeo and Juliet. Maybe you've heard of it as well. It's... Continue »
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    Juliet's Nurse

    Lois Leveen 9781476757445

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The Hour I First Believed (P.S.)

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The Hour I First Believed (P.S.) Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Wally Lamb's two previous novels, She's Come Undone and I Know This Much Is True, struck a chord with readers. They responded to the intensely introspective nature of the books, and to their lively narrative styles and biting humor. One critic called Wally Lamb a modern-day Dostoevsky, whose characters struggle not only with their respective pasts, but with a mocking, sadistic God in whom they don't believe but to whom they turn, nevertheless, in times of trouble (New York Times).

In his new novel, The Hour I First Believed, Lamb travels well beyond his earlier work and embodies in his fiction myth, psychology, family history stretching back many generations, and the questions of faith that lie at the heart of everyday life. The result is an extraordinary tour de force, at once a meditation on the human condition and an unflinching yet compassionate evocation of character.

When forty-seven-year-old high school teacher Caelum Quirk and his younger wife, Maureen, a school nurse, move to Littleton, Colorado, they both get jobs at Columbine High School. In April 1999, Caelum returns home to Three Rivers, Connecticut, to be with his aunt who has just had a stroke. But Maureen finds herself in the school library at Columbine, cowering in a cabinet and expecting to be killed, as two vengeful students go on a carefully premeditated, murderous rampage. Miraculously she survives, but at a cost: she is unable to recover from the trauma. Caelum and Maureen flee Colorado and return to an illusion of safety at the Quirk family farm in Three Rivers. But the effects of chaos are not so easily put right, and further tragedy ensues.

While Maureen fights to regain her sanity, Caelum discovers a cache of old diaries, letters, and newspaper clippings in an upstairs bedroom of his family's house. The colorful and intriguing story they recount spans five generations of Quirk family ancestors, from the Civil War era to Caelum's own troubled childhood. Piece by piece, Caelum reconstructs the lives of the women and men whose legacy he bears. Unimaginable secrets emerge; long-buried fear, anger, guilt, and grief rise to the surface.

As Caelum grapples with unexpected and confounding revelations from the past, he also struggles to fashion a future out of the ashes of tragedy. His personal quest for meaning and faith becomes a mythic journey that is at the same time quintessentially contemporary — and American.

The Hour I First Believed is a profound and heart-rending work of fiction. Wally Lamb proves himself a virtuoso storyteller, assembling a variety of voices and an ensemble of characters rich enough to evoke all of humanity.

Review:

"[A] tour de force. The Hour I First Believed is his best yet. (Grade: A)" Entertainment Weekly

Review:

"Lamb at his best, wholly sympathetic, deeply moving." Washington Post

Review:

"Of interest...as an entry in the body of literature that has emerged from real tragedy." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"A soaring novel as amazingly graceful as the classic hymn that provides the title" Miami Herald

Synopsis:

The #1 New York Times-bestselling author and two-time Oprah's Book Club pick delivers his first novel in over a decade — an extraordinary work of prodigious scope and ambition that explores the consequences of violent events, and the chaos that ensues.

Synopsis:

When high school teacher Caelum Quirk and his wife, Maureen, a school nurse, move to Littleton, Colorado, they both get jobs at Columbine High School. In April 1999, while Caelum is away, Maureen finds herself in the library at Columbine, cowering in a cabinet and expecting to be killed. Miraculously, she survives, but at a cost: she is unable to recover from the trauma. When Caelum and Maureen flee to an illusion of safety on the Quirk family's Connecticut farm, they discover that the effects of chaos are not easily put right, and further tragedy ensues.

About the Author

Wally Lamb is a Connecticut native who holds Bachelors and Masters Degrees in teaching from the University of Connecticut and a Master of Fine Arts in Writing from Vermont College. Lamb was in the ninth year of his twenty-five-year career as a high school English teacher at his alma mater, the Norwich Free Academy, when he began to write fiction in 1981. He has also taught writing at the University of Connecticut, where he directed the English Department’s creative writing program.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 5 comments:

Rayna, January 30, 2013 (view all comments by Rayna)
This book was a page turner, just like every other Wally Lamb book I have read.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Annelle, January 1, 2011 (view all comments by Annelle)
wow! yes, there was a lot going on in this book; however it all came together in the end. loved it!!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(0 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
KELLY WILLIAMS, September 24, 2009 (view all comments by KELLY WILLIAMS)
This wasn't as good as She's Come Undone. The author tries to tie in too many stories; you're not sure what the main storyline is.
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(5 of 10 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 5 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780060988432
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Lamb, Wally
Publisher:
Harper Perennial
Subject:
General
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
Psychological
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade PB
Series:
P.S.
Publication Date:
20090804
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
A.”
Language:
English
Pages:
768
Dimensions:
7.88x5.36x1.32 in. 1.33 lbs.

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Related Subjects


Featured Titles » Literature
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
History and Social Science » American Studies » Popular Culture

The Hour I First Believed (P.S.) New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$15.99 In Stock
Product details 768 pages Harper Perennial - English 9780060988432 Reviews:
"Review" by , "[A] tour de force. The Hour I First Believed is his best yet. (Grade: A)"
"Review" by , "Lamb at his best, wholly sympathetic, deeply moving."
"Review" by , "Of interest...as an entry in the body of literature that has emerged from real tragedy."
"Review" by , "A soaring novel as amazingly graceful as the classic hymn that provides the title"
"Synopsis" by , The #1 New York Times-bestselling author and two-time Oprah's Book Club pick delivers his first novel in over a decade — an extraordinary work of prodigious scope and ambition that explores the consequences of violent events, and the chaos that ensues.
"Synopsis" by , When high school teacher Caelum Quirk and his wife, Maureen, a school nurse, move to Littleton, Colorado, they both get jobs at Columbine High School. In April 1999, while Caelum is away, Maureen finds herself in the library at Columbine, cowering in a cabinet and expecting to be killed. Miraculously, she survives, but at a cost: she is unable to recover from the trauma. When Caelum and Maureen flee to an illusion of safety on the Quirk family's Connecticut farm, they discover that the effects of chaos are not easily put right, and further tragedy ensues.
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