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The Laments

Hagen, George

Verlag: Hodder and Stoughton, London, 2004
ISBN 10: 034083272X / ISBN 13: 9780340832721
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Titel: The Laments

Verlag: Hodder and Stoughton, London

Erscheinungsdatum: 2004

Einband: hardcover

Zustand: Very Good

Zustand des Schutzumschlags: Very Good

Signiert: Signed by Author

Auflage: First Edition/First Printing.

Art des Buches: Used


Very good condition, clear, bright and tight. Buchnummer des Verkäufers 181379

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When Howard and Julia Lament adopt Will, a baby secretly switched at birth in a bizarre hospital debacle, it marks the beginning of a journey that takes them from Northern Rhodesia in the 1950s to the Persian Gulf, England and suburban, Seventies America, as they search for their place in the world. Howard is an engineer and dreamer, obsessed by the conveyance of liquids through valves. Julia is a woman of fiery spirit and an artist, who is constantly called upon to reinvent her family's life and her own. Forced by his younger, anarchic twin brothers to question his place in the family, Will struggles to find a sense of his own identity through the characters he meets en route - from Ruth, his first love in Africa, who carries around a biscuit tin lid to admire her reflection to Dawn Snedecker, the lisping intellectual who breaks his heart in America - and fights to keep his family from breaking apart.

Through the Laments' restlessness, their responses to adversity, and especially their unwieldy love for one another, George Hagen draws a picture of every family that is funny, tragic, hopeful and true.

Rezension: A novel which is, like George Hagen’s The Laments, about a continent-hopping family might seem like yesterday’s news when an international upbringing now seems almost de rigueur amongst writers. Yet this is no self-aggrandising romp round the world. Howard Lament’s grand plans for a better life and career lead his family from colonial Rhodesia to a bigoted, hypocritical 1970s New Jersey, via Bahrain’s blinkered ex-pat community and a violent small town in England.

The novel spans the eighteen years from Will’s birth and the secret of his adoption by the Laments to his graduation from high school. The first years in Africa provide a solid foundation to the story. It is when Will is a little older, and the family have left the obviously unjust colony that Hagen’s skill at peppering the story with culture shocks and mischievous details really enlivens the Laments’ travels and Will’s friendships and loves.

Luckily the reader is kept chuckling, because Hagen takes us unflinchingly into the depression of Howard’s spectacularly failed career, his wife Julia’s loneliness and the reality of family poverty. Tragedy never turns to bitterness though, and the characters’ final, tempered hopefulness is a well-earned haven for this long-adrift family.--Stefan Tobler

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