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IndisponibilWish You Were Here: A Novel
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Wish You Were Here: A Novel

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Wish You Were Here: A Novel

evaluări:
3.5/5 (17 evaluări)
Lungime:
733 pages
13 hours
Lansat:
Dec 1, 2007
ISBN:
9781555847913
Format:
Carte

Descriere

A family gathers at their vacation cottage for the last time: “Riveting…the perfect summer-by-the-lake read.”—Chicago Tribune

A New York Times Notable Book

A Chicago Tribune Favorite Book of the Year

A year after the death of her husband, Emily Maxwell gathers her family by Lake Chautauqua in western New York for what will be a last vacation at their summer cottage. Joining is her sister-in-law, who silently mourns the sale of the lake house, and a long-lost love. Emily's firebrand daughter, a recovering alcoholic recently separated from her husband, brings her children from Detroit. Emily's son, who has quit his job and mortgaged his future to pursue his art, comes accompanied by his children and his wife, who is secretly heartened to be visiting the house for the last time. Memories of past summers resurface, old rivalries flare up, and love is rekindled and born anew, resulting in a timeless novel drawn, as the best writing often is, from the ebbs and flow of daily life.

“A sprawling, generously written saga that imparts exceptional insights into the human heart.”—Charlotte Observer

“Brilliantly mesmerizing.”—Los Angeles Times

“Succeeds beautifully…showcases some of the finest character studies a contemporary reader could ask for.”—The Boston Globe
Lansat:
Dec 1, 2007
ISBN:
9781555847913
Format:
Carte

Despre autor

Stewart O’Nan's novels include Last Night at the Lobster, The Night Country, and Prayer for the Dying. His novel Snow Angels was the basis of the 2007 film of the same name. He is also the author of the nonfiction books The Circus Fire and, with Stephen King, the bestselling Faithful. Granta named him one of the Twenty Best Young American Novelists. He lives in Pittsburgh.

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  • (2/5)
    I’m bewildered. It was a non story. I flicked through the last 100 odd pages once I realised nothing Is going to happen.
  • (5/5)
    Somehow, Stewar O'Nan had escaped my attention i my search for authors who write involved family stories with loving attention to each character & careful attention to the details of the world surrounding them. [Wish You Were Here] is the story of a family who visits their cottage in Chataugua, a resort on N.Y.'s finger Lakes for the last time as the family patriach has passed away & his widow doesn't feel she is able to care for the place alone. Each character has their own problems, from the 70 year old women who remember Chautauqua in the days of its prime, when its world of artistic celebraties was the "in" world of their generation, when ladies wore white gloves and silk stockings when they attended the lectures and performances in that world before WW2. There are also the grandchildren with their problems of fitting in with the world of their peers and their escapes into fantasy (electronic & books). And then the immediate struggles of the generation that finds itself in charge, those who came of age in the '60's, that world of rebellion, dropping out and getting high. All these stories are woven together in a timeline of the one week they all spend together, nostalgia for the old life interwoven with the world of kidnapping and Game Boys, the isolated society of the old Chautauqua only a slim dream now passing into history.
  • (4/5)
    An exploration of the viewpoints of all the family members as they gather for the last summer in their vacation cottage before it's sold. It's a sad gathering of people, each alone, and feeling that the best of times were long past. At times in reading it the minutia seemed too much too boring, but then I'd get interested again.
  • (5/5)
    This book was fantastic - told from many family members' points of view, all of them believable and touching. I wanted to weep with feelings of nostalgia many times thinking of my own family's home on the lake.
  • (2/5)
    I read this book after reading EMILY, ALONE (255 pages), a much shorter novel that is actually the sequel to WISH YOU WERE HERE (516 pages). I Liked EMILY, ALONE and didn't like WISH YOU WERE HERE. How could this be? O'Nan's minutely detailed descriptions (which are the substance of both books) are absorbing. However, there is no plot -- something that is more burdensome in a long novel than a short one. There IS a major red herring that O'Nan abandons after stringing the reader along for a few hundred pages. The only surprise the novel delivers is the impression at the end that the characters had a good time during this family vacation on Lake Chautauqua. This is surprising because for 500 pages all they do is snipe, backbite, judge, and belittle each other, while feeling sorry for themselves.I wondered at my willingness to finish the book until I realized how skillful O'Nan is at presenting the literary equivalent of a reality show. He kept me reading, but at the end I felt let down.
  • (3/5)
    A number of reviewers have described this book along the lines of "great writing, but the plot doesn't go anywhere". I beg to differ. I don't feel the need to have a plot which goes somewhere; and I didn't find the writing all that great. It is fairly long (over 500 pages), which troubled me because I had a hardback version and it was heavy to carry on my daily 10 km run to work. It's my first book by Stewart O'Nan and he writes in a genre that I generally like, so I was prepared to put in a bit of effort to give him a fair trial.It's essentially the story of a family getting together at their long time (lakeside) holiday cottage. This is the last time they'll do this because Emily the grandmother is selling the cottage after her husband, Henry, has died. To me the characters were not particularly remarkable and I had very little emotional reaction to any of them. That tells me that the writing was lacking something. I somehow felt that I wasn't really getting into the depths of any of them, although the reader did get to know all of them to some extent. We learned a lot about what they did; and heard about their bodily functions, but none of this really deepened our understanding of their personalities. I was also a little skeptical about how real some of the characters were, especially the pre-pubescent grandchild Ellie who has an almost sexual attraction for her slightly older and much more physically mature cousin Sarah. I don't think a woman author would have painted a picture of a character such as this. In my 'to read' pile, I have the book "Emily, alone" which is the sequel to "Wish you were here" and seems to be more widely praised. So I'll hold off my final verdict on O'Nan until I've finished the sequel.
  • (4/5)
    Okay. Now I know more about the Maxwell family - a LOT more, after more than 500 pages, deeply immersed in their week-long family vacation on Lake Chautauqua the summer after the family patriarch, Henry has died. The thing is I first read EMILY, ALONE, which was the second, or middle book of the Maxwell trilogy. Then I read Stewart O'Nan's newest one, HENRY, HIMSELF, kind of a prequel to the other two. Loved both of these books, which took us deep into the minds of this older couple, with all their memories both shared and separate. And now I've read the first book, written 17 years ago. And this is a deep read, with looks into the minds of multiple members of the Maxwell clan. Let's see, there's the widow, Emily, of course, and her sister-in-law Arlene, a retired, unmarried teacher. Then there are Emily and Henry's two adult children, Meg and Ken. And Ken's wife, Lise. And Ken and Lise's two children, Sam and Ella. Meg (the wild one, a recovering alcoholic and addict) is almost divorced, and brings her two children, Justin and Sarah. The two boys are around 10, and the girls are young teens, with some sexual awakening going on. Skinny, brainy Ella has something of a bad crush on here cousin, Sarah, who is a bit boy-obsessed. Both Ken and Meg are having job and money problems. And Emily has sold the cottage, which doesn't sit well with any of them. So that's the cast of characters that assembles in the Maxwell family cottage at the lake, coming from Pittsburgh, Boston and Detroit. Nothing much happens during this week, the usual chit-chat, petty jealousies, resentments and various other problems of this mildly dysfunctional family. And yet I found myself slowly sucked into the mundane activities of this ordinary bunch of people, and kept turning the pages, only occasionally getting impatient for SOMETHING TO HAPPEN. Nothing ever really does, though. Although throughout the story there is a shadowy backstory about a teenage store clerk who has gone missing, maybe kidnapped. That story lurks there, mostly in Ken's consciousness, but the others are vaguely aware of it too, following the latest news updates on the missing girl. Well here's the thing about that - a few years back I read O'Nan's later novel, SONGS FOR THE MISSING, which was all about a girl who went missing from her small Ohio town, and how it affected the rest of her family - an excellent story I found very compelling. So it seems to me that this later book, SftM, was probably already percolating in the back of O'Nan's mind WHILE he was meandering through this much longer study of a family in flux. Just a theory. I liked WISH YOU WERE HERE, but occasionally I did hope for something exciting to happen, for the pace to pick up a bit. It never really did, but in the meantime I enjoyed learning more about Emily and Henry's far-flung, messed up family and its history. If you are an O'Nan fan, and if you enjoyed the other two later Maxwell books, then this one is required background reading. I'm glad I read it.- Tim Bazzett, author of the memoir, BOOKLOVER
  • (4/5)
    Reading this novel out of published order (last instead of first), and so hard on the heels of the third in the trilogy, Henry Himself, is a bit too much of the Maxwell family of Pittsburgh in the 1980s. Emily, Alone (the title of the second novel), matriarch and widow of Henry, is still infuriatingly persnickety, permanently angry, and harsh to her children. They all make their annual trip to Lake Chautauqua, NY under the cloud of it being the final summer in the ancestral family vacation home, which Emily is reluctantly selling against the wishes of daughter Margaret and son Ken. The freshest character is granddaughter Emma, who develops a crush on, and yearns for the life of, her prettier cousin Sarah. O'Nan's ability to take on the point of view of almost every single family member is remarkable, but their thoughts are generally fairly commonplace and even banal, which perhaps hits a bit too close to home in this era when we all feel obligated to stretch ourselves into the territory of the exceptional.
  • (5/5)
    Wish You Were Here by Stewart O’Nan is an elegiac novel about the passing of a family’s era, when an extended family gathers at their aging Lake Chautauqua house for a vacation week at the end of the summer, preparing the house to be sold.Although the absence of the patriarch, Henry Maxwell, is keenly felt by everyone from the members of his own generation – his sister Arlene and his wife Emily, his adult children – Kenneth, there with his wife Lise, and Meg, recently divorced, down to the four grandchildren – two older girl cousins and two younger boy cousins – Henry is only present in the memories sparked by his fishing gear and other stuff in the house and garage and in all of the old, familiar places in the lakeside village in western New York, where he and Arlene had summered since they themselves were children.The whole novel takes place over the course of the week leading up to Labor Day, but the place triggers so many memories in the Maxwell adults that we find out quite a bit about how their pasts. The week goes by much too quickly for them, despite the initial rainy weather. On the other hand, the vacation seems to Lise, the only in-law, to stretch on endlessly, and the children, who don’t have as long of a shared past, have plenty of time to dream their own dreams of the future and develop their own alliances.For longer review, visit Bay State Reader's Advisory blog.
  • (4/5)
    O’Nan’s hefty novel is proof positive that an engrossing, encompassing read doesn’t have to include international spies, doomed spacecraft, intricate heists, or high-speed car chases. There are no superheroes here, no monstrous villains – just a group of people related by blood or marriage, who come together for one last week at the summer home which is being sold after multiple generations of the Maxwell family have made memories there.The narrative follows the quotidian tasks of surviving a week in close contact with multiple generations of an extended family. What are we eating, who is cooking it, who has to do the dishes? What do we do when it rains and the youngest generation is antsy and bored? Anyone who has ever endured a family reunion, particularly as an in-law or adolescent, will recognize the endless jigsaw puzzle, board game, enforced family fun events as excruciating chores, occasionally tinged by grudgingly acknowledged – if fleeting – moments of incandescence.But it’s also an incisive look at nine people whose pasts and futures, needs and wants, have interlocked in a towering Jenga of love and resentment, memory and loss, struggle and acceptance. And every one of them, from retired teacher Arlene, seeing her brother’s widow cavalierly parting with a property that by rights should be half hers, to eight-year-old Justin, struggling with his parents’ divorce and the heavy burden of always being the baby of the group, gets their POV moment. The characters run true and deep, rubbing against each other in the lakeside cabin, sorting through the keepsakes and deciding what to take and what to leave behind as they prepare for this watershed event in all their lives.A satisfying, juicy read, regardless of the season.
  • (4/5)
    Picked this up for the Chautauqua setting and found a touching and keenly-observed story of a family revealed over the week of a vacation. Not many authors can move smoothly from the mind of one character to another, across gender and age and personality, but O'Nan did a pretty good job such that it wasn't until I finished the book that I even thought about how he pulled it off. I believed the characters. On to the sequel: Emily, Alone.
  • (3/5)
    I liked this book . The flow of the book matrched the flow of the weather and vacation written in the book. A very nice,leisurely read.Perfect for summer getaway.
    Generational and dysfunctional family spends one last week at their vacation cottage in Chautauqua,NY, as it is being sold. I live in the general area so it was nice to read about some familiar places. I think this book might appeal to people that go camping or rent or has a cottage they use. I think you can appreciate the preparations and routines of this family on vacation.There are sad,happy and just plain boring moments in this book. I did not need to read about every putt of a golf game and one chapter of 5 lines with the dog licking himself,didn't lend anything to the story.
    I was quite disappointed in the ending.The book summed everything up except one story line that was prominent throughout the entire book!!!!!!
    I liked the characters and Rufus the dog.
  • (4/5)
    A family--the matriarch Emily, recently widowed; Meg, her soon-to-be-divorced daughter with children; and Ken, her underemployed artist photographer son with wife and kids--travels from their disparate hometowns to spend a last week together at the family lake house that was their refuge for so many summers. The book drifts quickly into a prevailing melancholy as a four-day-long rain storm moves in and forces the family to begin confronting the uncomfortable realities of their lives. As the rains lift they see the inevitable conclusion to their stay, which is ultimately escape from each other and back into their lives, where nobody will be there to judge but themselves for the way their lives have turned out.Emily is a character that is easy to dislike as she nitpicks her children and makes them feel guilty for the paths their lives have taken but when the author allows a glimpse of her interior monologue her intentions aren't always in alignment with the way she is perceived. Stuart O'Nan recently wrote the sequel to this titled "Emily, Alone" which perfectly summarizes my expectation of where she would be left after leaving the summer house.
  • (4/5)
    Almost every single detail seemed to be described in this lengthly novel about an extended family's last week at their about to be sold lake cottage. I wanted to read the new sequel but I realized I had better read what came first. Now I know the characters, almost more than I want to---they are not exactly an easy bunch to love--probably because they are typical of families that try to vacation together. Day by day, hour by hour through the week, with the thoughts and actions of each of the group. It may be my age but I was surprised with how familiar so many of the things the family described and did seemed. I still want to read the sequel so I guess that says something.
  • (3/5)
    The story of an extended family's trip to their summer home in Chataqua, NY over an entire week.Told with O'nan's signature extreme detail.
  • (4/5)
    Emily Maxwell lost her husband a year ago and is still suffering from the loss. She decides to sell the family cottage that is situated on a lake in western New York, and the family gathers for one last week-long vacation at the lake. The family includes her sister-in-law, her son Ken and his wife Lisa and 2 children, and her daughter Meg and her 2 children. Ken has quit his job and decided to try to make a living with his art, photography. Meg is a recovering alcoholic whose husband has left her. Lisa can't stand to be in the same room as Emily and is jealous of the attention her husband Ken gives to his mother and sister. The 4 children also have their own issues. There are a lot of powerful family dynamics in place, and O'Nan moves things along slowly, but that's a good thing. Because of the author's attention to detail and switching narrators each chapter, you come to care deeply about and are rooting for each of the family members. The author also throws in a little mystery to keep you on your toes. Enjoyed this book very much.