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The Hour I First Believed: A Novel

The Hour I First Believed: A Novel

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The Hour I First Believed: A Novel

valutazioni:
4/5 (200 valutazioni)
Lunghezza:
930 pagine
15 ore
Pubblicato:
Oct 6, 2009
ISBN:
9780061980312
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

New York Times Bestseller

The profound and compelling story of a personal quest for meaning and faith from Wally Lamb, #1 New York Times bestselling author of She’s Come Undone and I Know This Much Is True

“The beauty of The Hour I First Believed, a soaring novel as amazingly graceful as the classic hymn that provides the title, is that Lamb never loses sight of the spark of human resilience. . . . Lamb’s wonderful novel offers us the promise and power of hope.”
Miami Herald

When 47-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 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 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 back east. But the effects of chaos are not so easily put right, and further tragedy ensues.

In The Hour I First Believed, Wally 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.

 

Pubblicato:
Oct 6, 2009
ISBN:
9780061980312
Formato:
Libro

Informazioni sull'autore

Wally Lamb is the author of five New York Times bestselling novels: She’s Come Undone, I Know This Much Is True, The Hour I First Believed, Wishin’ and Hopin’, and We Are Water. His first two works of fiction, She’s Come Undone and I Know This Much Is True, were both #1 New York Times bestsellers and selections of Oprah’s Book Club. Lamb edited Couldn’t Keep It to Myself, I’ll Fly Away, and You Don’t Know Me, three volumes of essays from students in his writing workshop at York Correctional Institution, a women’s prison in Connecticut, where he has been a volunteer facilitator for two decades. He lives in Connecticut and New York.


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3.9
200 valutazioni / 109 Recensioni
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Recensioni dei lettori

  • (4/5)
    Slightly long-winded, which I've come to expect from Wally Lamb.... yet there's not a bit that could be left out! Lamb does not disappoint! Great story!!!
  • (4/5)
    An unabridged audiobook.
  • (3/5)
    very difficult to get through...I had a difficult time trying to keep the different stories straight. I was unable to finish it...I'll try again later
  • (3/5)
    A very american novel spanning many generations, a little confusing. A married couple, told from the husbands point of view. His third wife is a nurse at Columbine and suffers ptsd after the shootings. Caelum has his own ghosts to chase and figure out. I liked this story, the incorporation of the phd thesis towards the end of the novel was a little out of whack and tedious... but the story is still resonating with me a few days later. There are themes of god, who/what is god, how do you cope in life with problems, what do you believe in.....
  • (3/5)
    This book has received wonderful reviews from the critics and has been enthusiastically recommended by friends, but I was loathe to read a novel which used the Columbine Massacre as its raison d’être. I was wrong and everyone else was right: Caelum Quirk and his wife Maureen worked at Columbine High School in Colorado but on the day of the massacre he was in Connecticut, burying his aunt. In the aftermath, while Maureen is struggling with the trauma, Caelum takes her to the family farm where he uses old documents to discover past secrets. It might sound drear and depressing but, trust me, it’s an excellent read.
  • (2/5)
    Ugh. I loved Lamb's previous two books, but this one dragged on and on and on and then on some more. I was glad to have finished it.
  • (4/5)
    Despite the criticisms I have of the book - and I am surprised to find myself at the end of it with so many, Lamb's style is so compelling to me, so rich and full and perfectly paced, that I stayed up well past my bedtime for four days because I couldn't put it down. To me, that's an incredible marker of talent - while half my brain was engaging in criticisms, the half that controlled my fingers kept turning the pages. All of Lamb's work is excellent. His characters are human. As the reader, you often can know much more than they do - can see much more than they do, can watch them walk into some stupid call they've made and screw up and want to yell at them about it. The experience is really like being able to see through someone else's eyes - you can't change them, you can't make them learn more or know better, but you can experience everything with them as they learn, themselves. His subjects are often ordinary people to whom really difficult, and sometimes extraordinary things happen - he's like Donna Tartt meets Michael Chabon. If you like to read books that demonstrate internal struggles and growth, if you like to become deeply enmeshed in a character's "head" and if you like to read about people who themselves are fairly ordinary, with routine responses and feelings and failings - this book (and all of Lamb's work) should make you very happy.That being said, there are parts of the book I was unhappy with. I didn't realize, before I started reading, that this story would be connected, slightly but consistently to I Know This Much Is True, Lamb's previous book about the Birdsey twins. I felt that Lamb got a little heavy with his reliance on the images and theory of twinning - which the previous book had grappled with beautifully, and I myself didn't feel that these themes added that much to the story. They felt too contrived to me, unnecessary and distracting. Additionally, the last 20% or so of the book contains a large quantity of recited historical narrative about an ancestor of the main character, presented in the form of a presented paper or doctoral thesis. I found this rough slogging - I don't care for historical listings of facts, much, myself - and the often-dry recitations there "so and so did this, which was unusual for people like so and so at this time. Then so and so did that." were a striking and unwelcome contrast to Lamb's usual style. It felt to me that he had given up on writing the story and wanted us to know this biography - but it wasn't clear to me why that was. I didn't care much about the character mentioned - we didn't know that much about who she was. And while it was an important plot point for the narrator to have that information, there were other ways to accomplish this. But I think this will really depend on what you want from a book - a previous commenter says exactly the opposite, preferring historical recitation to interiority and character development, that reviewer says s/he preferred the last pages to the rest. Lamb does a workable job of weaving larger themes into the personal struggles of the narrator - he manages, with varying degrees of subtlety, to work in some meditations on the unforseeable effects of traumatic events, both large and small, on how little one person can know another, on feelings of helplessness to change much in the worlds in which we live. I find his characters not only compelling, but likeable. And Lamb's name on a cover will still be enough to convince me to buy whatever he comes out with next. But if you're going to start somewhere, I'd read I Know This Much Is True first - and if you'd like to read about a Columbine type situation, I think that We Need to Talk About Kevin is a much more solid, even, and less-contrived feeling book.
  • (5/5)
    When I heard that this book was coming out, I was already in love with it, and not for one second was I disappointed while reading it. I am a big Wally Lamb fan and was quite saddened that it took so long for Lamb to publish another book; however, it was long worth the wait. This book is about everything. Quite a story, well worth your time.
  • (5/5)
    I loved this book!!! I laughed, I cried, I was shocked, and I was rocked. I didn't find this book long or meandering. It was big and meaty and flavorful!!! I hope he doesn't wait 9 mores years for another.
  • (5/5)
    This book is magnificent. I could not put it down. The story follows a public tragedy with thoughtful and gut-wrenching prose. This is storytelling at the top of it's game.
  • (4/5)
    Wally Lamb is a master storyteller and can make 700 pages fly by. I enjoyed this almost as much as "I know This Much Is True". I look forward to reading "She's Come Undone" and Mr Lamb's newest book, "Wishin and Hopin". I don't know why I waited so long to try this author. Mr Lamb writes books that are meant to be read and enjoyed. Read the first page and you are lost, no turning back.Highly recommended.
  • (5/5)
    The story is about Caelum Quirk and his wife Maureen. Caelum is a teacher at Columbine and is home burying is aunt when the April 1999 shooting occurs. His wife Maureen, a school nurse, however is at the school when the shooting occurs. Once this happens I spent a week or more investigating the shooting, its victims and the boys who were responsible, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. I spent a lot of time researching what really happened not just what the media let us in on 10 years ago. While it doesn't change the tragic events of that day it was enlightening. The books goes into the post-traumatic stress Maureen experiences and how it effects she and Caelum's marriage. In hopes of reducing Maureen's stress they move to the farm owed by Caelum's aunt who recently passed. Many more people get involved in the story at this point and things do get a little confusing even if you are paying close attention. Maureen commits a crime that lands her in a women's prison. This prison is on the farmland she and Caelum live on as the prison was originally started by one of his ancestor's. Caelum comes across paperwork chronicling the history of his family and the family member who started the women's prison. Though the book is long it is a quick read, but pay attention or you will get lost. While sometimes I thought Wally Lamb was trying to do to much with this one book at the end I felt like it was all good. You needed it all to make it feel like a complete read and unlike other books you don't have to wonder what happened to the character's or the storyline when the book was over. It was all there.
  • (4/5)
    To me, this is a masterpiece. It was recommended by my father, who said at the time 'It's a wonderful book, and a terrible book'. While I was reading it, I was completely absorbed and didn't want it to ever end. But because the subject matter revolves around post-traumatic stress in the wake of Columbine, it was so harrowing in places that once I put it down it was daunting to pick up again. So it took me weeks to read. Everything in it is beautifully depicted, and the way he builds ideas up gradually without ever spoon-feeding the reader is something I enjoyed enormously. I can't think of when I've read a more impressive novel, and the central character, Caellum, will be with me for life now, much like William Boyd's Logan Mountstuart. When it's on form, this is a 10/10, but I personally felt it was 200 pages too long, and for this reason I've given it 4 stars.
  • (4/5)
    This is one awesome book. It is a novel about Caelum Quirk and his wife Maureen who are an English teacher and school nurse respectively at Columbine High School in Colorado. Caelum is in Connecticut attending to a deceased aunt's affairs when Maureen is trapped in a cabinet during the Columbine murders. Maureen survives but is badly traumatized and her life slowly spins out of control as the years go by.There is a a parallel story concerning the Caelum's ancestors and how their lives were messed up by the Civil War.Through all this Caelum slowly finds out secrets about himself and his forbears. He also finds out love, steadfastness, and honor. And why he is so messed up.I'm not really doing this book justice. This may be one of the best books I have
  • (3/5)
    I keep going back and forth as to whether I liked this one. I think Lamb does a good job in illuminating his themes (and maybe to the point of hitting you over the head with them) and I thought it was an interesting story.However, I really dislike the use of actual people in his fictional account. It appears to be really well researched, granted -- appears because I haven't the inclination to do an in depth research project and check said sources. But it seems to me to be in really poor taste for him to put his words in other people's mouths.I also think he may have tried to do too much with this. It feels like it has the oomph of a sweeping epic, but at some of the later "reveals" seemed either out of place, or a part of the theme thumping.
  • (3/5)
    Interesting perspective about the boys who did the shooting, with a look into their lives and psychological backgroundy. The problem was the husband was just too whiny.
  • (4/5)
    I have very mixed feelings about this book. I think that is mainly because it felt like it was a book within a book and there were so many different strands of the overall story that it felt like almost too much and a little overwhelming. I thought this was going to be a book about the after effects of Columbine on a couple of the characters, but it ended up being so much more than that. That is not necessarily a bad thing and Wally Lamb is clearly a very able writer who is able to hold a story together well so that it pieces all together.I think the main thing I didn't like about the book was the voice of the narrator. I found him irritating, slightly misogynistic and overall, not very likeable. I THINK that was supposed to be on purpose, but it felt very obvious (like, glaring in your face obvious) from the start, that the main character would be going through a big emotional crisis that would make him talk about his feelings and he would hopefully, by the end of the book, be a bit less of a jerk. It all felt a little bit cliched.That said, this was still a good, engrossing read. The characters from the narrator's ancestry came to life so well that I had to Google them for myself to make sure they weren't real! The story was full of surprises and despite my complaints, I would not dismiss any future books from Wally Lamb.
  • (4/5)
    Tragic tale of lives suddenly altered by the horrific events of Columbine HS. Most accounts previously written regarding PTSD seem to involve military members returning from combat, but this one focuses primarily on civilians--mainly women and children--using one of the worst cases of school violence in American history as a backdrop. Intertwined with the tragedy of the homicides and shattered lives there are numerous complex subplots involving the family of one teacher Caelum Quirk. If you are up to digesting approx 700 pages of man's-inhumanity-to-man type material, this book is a good one for that genre. If you're hoping for something lighter or inspirational, you might want to keep browsing.
  • (5/5)
    This book was amazing....I couldn't put it down! There were so many twists and turns....most I didn't even see coming!! It's worth all 700 plus pages. I highly recommend it. If you have read other books by Wally Lamb you will love The Hour I First Believed!
  • (5/5)
    I read this before, but decided to read it again. Not the best book by this author, but still good. His stories are fairly complex and he develops his characters well. They seem to ring true which I appreciate.
  • (2/5)
    I read through page 130 and decided to stop because it was, in a word, boring.
  • (3/5)
    A VERRRRY long book. Goes off on too many tangents. Would have been a more cohesive read if streamlined a LOT. Definitely made me think less of Lamb as an author.

    Imagine that you're reading an enjoyable book then BAM in the middle of it you are forced to read pages of a master's thesis of the history of a women's prison. BORING!!! Thats what is in this book . . .
  • (4/5)
    It's loooonnngggg. But I'm enjoying the story (or stories). It starts with the shooting at Columbine High School, but ties in history of the main character's family from the Civil War, and his wife's drug addiction, and, and, and,.
  • (3/5)
    Wow. I don't know what to say. It took me nearly 2 weeks to read this huge book and i am glad I bought it.

    I did not know beforehand what it was about so I started to wonder after reading 1/3rd of this book, where is he going with this? And I have been wondering ever since lol. I don't know. It go's all over the place. In one way nothing really happens but in the other everything happens. it is hard to explain and to be honest, I still don't know if I liked this book that much.
  • (4/5)
    It was a very good and interesting read, but my favorite Wally Lamb book is still I Know This Much is True. This one was about the same caliber, but a bit repetitive and bungled at some parts. It could have been shorter.
  • (3/5)
    It took me a while to get truly immersed into this book, but the wait was worth it. It sucked me in after a while, and I grew to really enjoy the writing and story. Wally Lamb may be a tad too raunchy and perverse for no reason at times for my liking, but if you can ignore, or don't mind, that bit, he really does create an engaging novel. I plan on checking out some of his other novels after this one, so if you are reading this and aren't sure whether to keep with it, I recommend that you do, it's worth it.
  • (5/5)
    An amazing story about a couple who survive the Columbine shootings and its effects on their lives. One of the best books I've read this year. I hope Lamb doesn't make us so long for his next novel!
  • (3/5)
    Lamb apparently spent almost a decade working on this, and I think that may be the fundamental problem. A guy this creative is bound to have scores of good ideas in that time, too many to shove into one book, but get the feeling that that's exactly what happened here. This is really enough content for four books, which he's tried to tie together by highlighting common themes. (Did I say "highlighting"? I meant, "hitting us over the head with them until we're dazed" - there is not much subtlety to it.) The net result is a story that incorporates over 150 years of events, a bewildering cast of characters with complicated backstories that don't end up mattering, distracting & unnecessary subplots, major symbol/metaphor overload, and so many themes that the interwoven plotlines end up feeling contrived and unreal. Poor Caelum, Lamb's central character (think one of Philip Roth's doleful males in full mid-life crisis mode) - is there a disaster or hot-button issue in the 20th century that DOESN'T touch his life? The Iraq War, Columbine, Korea, Katrina, PTSD, tort abuse, penal reform, drunk driving, suicide, drug abuse, sexual abuse, abortion, women's rights ... after a while I started thinking of him as the anti-Forrest Gump, a man whose life improbably intersects with great events but who, rather than find ways to rise above the chaos, just keeps getting crushed anew, like Sisyphus rolling his boulder up that hill. (Which, by the way, is just one of the 20 or so sustained metaphors in the book - too many, too much!) After 750 pages you *finally* get to the "hour I first believed", by which time you may well be thinking, as I did, "did it really have to take this long?" Wish Lamb had been brave enough to break this into 3-4 shorter works, each with a much smaller scope, fewer characters, and the time to explore in depth just a few metaphors and themes each. I'll take 3-4 tasty, meticulously crafted dinners over this big, overwhelming, rather sloppily prepared buffet of a book any day.
  • (3/5)
    I started this book thinking that it was "about Columbine." But it meanders far outside the contrived boundaries of April 1999 into so many rivulets that it is more than that, and less. The novel fails, ultimately, as it tries to do too much. The main character, as Lamb notes in the afterword, is in a complicated labyrinth made up of family history, social inequity, genetics, fabrications, and universal chaos. In the end, the narrative offers up the platitude of "hope" and boils down to the secret of life being able to cope with whatever it hands you. I'm not sorry I read it, but I couldn't say it will stick with me for long.
  • (4/5)
    This book was fairly interesting in the beginning, then got so boring to me near the middle that I almost stopped listening to it. I was cleaning house and it was the only recorded book that I had at the time, so I kept listening long enough to get interested in the story again. After the main character started finding out about his family's history in the second half of the book, it became much more interesting to me. I like that the characters interacted with real people and events from history. The author compares the problems that victims of tragedies such as 911, school shootings, etc. and the problems that they have as a result of these tragedies. Overall, I enjoyed the story, but a lot of the little stories within the story could have been left out and it would have been much better.