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This title in other editions

The Summer Guest


The Summer Guest Cover



Reading Group Guide

From award-winning author Justin Cronin, The Summer Guest takes readers to an idyllic Maine hideaway where for decades vacationers have found solitude, tranquility, and of course superior fishing. For one of those travelers, the journey to this camp has taken on special significance; nearing the end of his life, financier Harry Wainwright has booked one last trip to this special place, whose history and gorgeous scenery are intricately woven with his own story. He has also decided to make an astonishing bequest, one that will open new chapters and close some that are decades old, transforming the lives of those who have loved this rustic fishing lodge as much as he has.

Tracing the stories of three generations, from the frontlines of war to the private battlefields of home, The Summer Guest poignantly depicts they ways in which families redefine themselves in the face lifes greatest tests. Written in the gentle, perceptive prose that earned Justin Cronin unanimous praise for his debut Mary and ONeil, this is a book to treasure—and to share with your most treasured friends.

The questions, discussion topics, and author biography that follow are intended to enhance your reading of Justin Cronins The Summer Guest. We hope they will enrich your experience of this tender, transporting novel.

The Summer Guest

A Novel

Justin Cronin

ISBN 0-385-33581-4

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Marilyn Simpson, January 1, 2011 (view all comments by Marilyn Simpson)
One of the best books I have ever read! Strong on character but balanced with a good plot. Too bad there aren't more offerings from this author.
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Product Details

Cronin, Justin
Dial Press
Psychological fiction
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
May 31, 2005
Grade Level:
8.32x5.28x.84 in. .65 lbs.

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Related Subjects

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

The Summer Guest Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$6.95 In Stock
Product details 384 pages Delta - English 9780385335829 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

This wonderful story follows three generations of a family who run a fishing camp in Maine. From the horrors of war, from the loneliness of exile, from the devastation of terminal illness, the camp offers the consolations of beauty, of love, of home. Cronin is a very fine writer.

"Review A Day" by , "[D]espite the fundamental, sometimes sickening decency of the is hard not to care about how (not whether) arrangements will fall into place....And it's the twists that make this novel worth finishing: a surprise bequest, a child's death, a brush with mortality on a fishing trip. With a plot so well-executed and eventful, you won't even notice when the surprises turn out to be, well, no big surprise." (read the entire Esquire review)
"Review" by , "A lyric chronicle ably spanning the distance between the gravitas of domestic heavyweights like Updike and Cheever and the studied, interwoven plotting of most book-club picks, without falling into the traps of either."
"Review" by , "Cronin's graceful well executed but uncompelling....Pleasant people in a pleasant setting, but without the credibility and edge to engage."
"Review" by , "[L]uminous....Cronin's novel reveals the rugged beauty of his native New England and the tender terrain of the human heart."
"Review" by , "Only when the characters begin delving into the past does the novel begin for real, getting at the heart of the mystery that Cronin loves best: the mystery of what shapes the human character."
"Review" by , "Every piece of happiness feels infused with sorrow. And that doesn't even take into account the physical pain the characters endure....The Summer Guest is a haunting story about the way time changes us and about what endures."
"Review" by , "Justin Cronin succeeds, touchingly and tenderly, in portraying life itself as a triumph of hope over experience."
"Review" by , "The novel has its share of irritating moments and cliche philosophical commentary....Still, everything clicks quite nicely. The novel's successes lie in the rendering of characters other than Harry."
"Review" by , "This will probably be one of this reviewer's favorite books of 2004....Cronin paints a beautiful picture of this out-of-the-way part of the country, creating a wonderfully magical place where the past mingles with the future."
"Synopsis" by , With a rare combination of emotional insight, narrative power, and lyrical grace, Cronin transforms the simple story of a dying man's last wish into a rich tapestry of family love.
"Synopsis" by , Winner of the PEN/Hemingway Award for his radiant novel in stories, Mary and ONeil, Justin Cronin has already been hailed as a writer of astonishing gifts. Now Cronins new novel, The Summer Guest, fulfills that promise—and more. With a rare combination of emotional insight, narrative power, and lyrical grace, Cronin transforms the simple story of a dying mans last wish into a rich tapestry of family love.

On an evening in late summer, the great financier Harry Wainwright, nearing the end of his life, arrives at a rustic fishing camp in a remote area of Maine. He comes bearing two things: his wish for a day of fishing in a place that has brought him solace for thirty years, and an astonishing bequest that will forever change the lives of those around him.

From the battlefields of Italy to the turbulence of the Vietnam era, to the private battles of love and family, The Summer Guest reveals the full history of this final pilgrimage and its meaning for four people: Jordan Patterson, the haunted young man who will guide Harry on his last voyage out; the camps owner Joe Crosby, a Vietnam draft evader who has spent a lifetime “trying to learn what it means to be brave”; Joes wife, Lucy, the woman Harry has loved for three decades; and Joe and Lucys daughter Kate—the spirited young woman who holds the key to the last unopened door to the past.

As their stories unfold, secrets are revealed, courage is tested, and the bonds of love are strengthened. And always center stage is the place itself—a magical, forgotten corner of New England where the longings of the human heart are mirrored in the wild beauty of the landscape.

Intimate, powerful, and profound, The Summer Guest reveals Justin Cronin as a storyteller of unique and marvelous talent. It is a book to treasure.

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