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Did You Ever Have a Family (2015)

af Bill Clegg

Andre forfattere: Se andre forfattere sektionen.

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
1,2419815,772 (3.95)151
"Alone and directionless after losing her entire family in a horrific tragedy, June drives across the country, away from her small Connecticut town. In her wake, a community emerges, weaving a beautiful and surprising web of connections through shared heartbreak"--
  1. 00
    The Shore af Sara Taylor (charl08)
    charl08: Similar style of linked narration by different members of a community, with convincing distinctive voices, dealing with theme of family.
  2. 11
    Stillidsen af Donna Tartt (vwinsloe)
    vwinsloe: A book about trauma, guilt and complicated grief. The effect of secrets and drugs on lives and families.
  3. 00
    The Untelling af Tayari Jones (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: The characters in these novels are haunted by the sudden accidental deaths of family members. Dealing with grief and survivor's guilt, they slowly learn to bear the pain and find new meaning in life. Both are bittersweet and haunting stories.… (mere)
Indlæser...

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» Se også 151 omtaler

Engelsk (95)  Piratisk (1)  Alle sprog (96)
Viser 1-5 af 96 (næste | vis alle)
You know those books that you enter with great expectations based on buzz or a friend's referral? Those books that don't grab you immediately, that challenge you to keep at them, that alternately disappoint and encourage you? Those books with final pages that redeem the hours you have spent reading them? This is one of those books. ( )
  jemisonreads | Jan 22, 2024 |
3.5/5 stars ( )
  elenamnls | Jun 27, 2023 |
Looking at other reviews, I see that many others struggled with how to rate this book. The struggle derives largely from the formula Clegg used to construct the book.
The book's many chapters are all headed with a name. Some of the names are of characters already introduced in the book, others are characters not previously mentioned. Sometimes the chapters are written in first person, other times in third. In every case, much of the information to be derived from the chapters comes from interpritting inplecations of statements made by the character whose name heads the chapter. Of course, there are more direct statements as well. Through the first few of these chapters, the reader has to do a lot of work just to figure out what is going on in this unusual structure and then to figure out who is who when character names are used within the chapters and as chapter headings.
In spite of the difficulty that I initially felt as I moved through the book, in the end I enjoyed both the format and the content of the novel.
Beyond the format issue are the plot, theme, setting, character development and other aspects of the novel. For these, this is an amazing novel for a first time author.
The story is skillfully crafted and kept me engaged. I'd almost all it "a page turner."
The novel works on two levels. On the first, it is a story of how people live through and handle enormous traedy, especially within the context and background of the life they have lived before the tragedy occurred. Clegg really does a good job of showing how a character's "present" is the product of his or her "past."
On the second level, the story is really a kind of detective story. And here, too, there are two things to sleuth. First, understanding the characters, and second, finding out what actually caused the tragedy upon which the story is based..
All told, this is a really good book. The difficulty of the format keeps me, and other reviewers, from giving it five stars, but it would have been pretty easy for me to rate it higher. It is a good book, a story well told, and a memorable reading experience.
( )
  PaulLoesch | Apr 2, 2022 |
Too many characters ( )
  bibliophileofalls | Sep 1, 2021 |
If you love great literature that totally brings you into the lives and stories of the characters then this is a book for you. Hell, if you are actually HUMAN then this is a book for you. I was blown away by how wonderfully complex this seemingly simple novel is. It is truly an onion that slowly reveals itself as you peel it. It is a great example of showing not telling. Nothing is shouted at you or explicitly stated, it all shows itself through the actions and interactions of the characters.

There are a number of important themes in the book, friendship, betrayal, love, pain, loss, and so much more. I will NOT say anything directly about the plot because if you want to read this book you should discover it as you read it (note to all reviewers...LESS PLOT!), but I will talk a little about one of the themes that really spoke to me, the pernicious and destructive effects of gossip. Here is one of the lines I highlighted in the book, "But his mother never backed down, never allowed for the possibility that she or any of the other gossips in town were wrong..." And as with almost all gossip, they were wrong. I hope that everyone who reads this book thinks twice about spreading rumors or gossip, which is obviously so easy in our interconnected age. It has power and that power is pretty much always negative. No one in this book is perfect, it is far too real to go down that ignorant path, but they are all HUMAN and yes, have made mistakes, but also mostly want to try and do what is right and what is best for themselves and those they love. Figuring out what those actions are is much harder than we often think.

I was totally absorbed in how each little choice, action, reaction, or inaction in this book created complications or problems that were totally unforeseen or even contemplated in a number of cases. It all felt very real and emotional. I will say that there was a scene late in the book, the end of Chapter 31 I think, the essentially left me crying as I finished reading it. It was so beautifully written and every action in it had been earned through the entirety of the book. The depiction of kindness, love, and non-judgment just warmed my soul. These were the good type of tears.

Anyway, I'm sure this is not everyone's cup of tea but I was simply blown away by this book. I can see why it is on the National Book Award long list. The author is a literary agent who has previously written memoirs, this is his first novel. I think all those books he has had to read in his "day job" have paid off, this is a stunning fiction debut. ( )
  MarkMad | Jul 14, 2021 |
Viser 1-5 af 96 (næste | vis alle)
Catastrophe and misfortune are a novelist’s friends, dramatic devices that provide a plot and let characters demonstrate their range. Tragedies tunnel through life, and the suspense comes from seeing how these spaces will be filled. This is what excites us about books that begin with a sorrowful bang. Grief is sad — we know that — but what now? How will these particular characters respond? What else do you have to give us?

In his masterly first novel, “Did You Ever Have a Family,” Bill Clegg gives us June Reid, a small Connecticut town and a fire on the eve of June’s daughter’s wedding that obliterates everything: June’s home, her boyfriend, her ex-husband, her daughter and her daughter’s fiancé. How could anyone react to such unfathomable loss? June responds by making a zombielike crawl west to a seaside motel in Moclips, Wash., where she now hides, rarely leaving her room.
 
Like Anne Tyler, another contender for this year’s Man Booker, Clegg is a master of investing the mundane with what John Updike called “its beautiful due”. ....What sustains us in the end is sympathy, kindness, the electrical hum of connection with others, however faint. Clegg takes occasional missteps –the unlikely redemption offered by an unsent letter accidentally discovered seems like cheating – but for the most part this is a wonderful and deeply moving novel, which compels us to look directly into the dark night of our deepest fears and then quietly, step by tiny step, guides us towards the first pink smudges of the dawn.
 

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You should have
   heard him, 
      his voice was
unforgettable, irresistible, his voice
was an imaginary garden woven through with fragrance.

Did you ever have a family?
   Their eyes are closed.
That's how I know
   we're there
       inside it, 
it's made of sound and steam
that weaves between dark
dining room, bright kitchen.
We're there because I'm hungry, 
and we'll all be eating soon
        together, and the hunger's sweet

Alan Shapiro, "Song and Dance"
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For Van, and for our families
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He wakes to the sound of sirens. Many, loud, and very near.
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"Alone and directionless after losing her entire family in a horrific tragedy, June drives across the country, away from her small Connecticut town. In her wake, a community emerges, weaving a beautiful and surprising web of connections through shared heartbreak"--

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