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From Stefan Merrill Block, celebrated literary talent and author of The Story of Forgetting, comes a brilliant, propulsive audiobook about family, the traumas and secrets that test our deepest bonds, and the stories that hold us together.
One warm, West Texas November night, a shy boy named Oliver Loving joins his classmates at Bliss County Day School's annual dance, hoping for a glimpse of the object of his unrequited affections, an enigmatic junior named Rebekkah Sterling. But as the music plays, a troubled young man sneaks in through the school's back door. The dire choices this man makes that evening - and the unspoken story he carries - will tear the town of Bliss, Texas, apart.
Nearly 10 years later, Oliver Loving still lies wordless and paralyzed at Crockett State Assisted Care Facility, the fate of his mind unclear. Orbiting the still point of Oliver's hospital bed is a family transformed: Oliver's mother, Eve, who keeps desperate vigil; Oliver's brother, Charlie, who has fled for New York City only to discover he cannot escape the gravity of his shattered family; Oliver's father, Jed, who tries to erase his memories with bourbon. And then there is Rebekkah Sterling, Oliver's teenage love, who left Texas long ago and still refuses to speak about her own part in that tragic night. When a new medical test promises a key to unlock Oliver's trapped mind, the town's unanswered questions resurface with new urgency, as Oliver's doctors and his family fight for a way for Oliver to finally communicate - and so also to tell the truth of what really happened that fateful night.
A moving meditation on the transformative power of grief and love, a slyly affectionate look at the idiosyncrasies of family, and an emotionally charged pause resister, Oliver Loving is an extraordinarily original audiobook that ventures into the unknowable and returns with the most fundamental truths.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By DedeB! on 01-24-18
If you wonder how people survive these things.
I thought a book about brain injury would be a good transition after being immersed in a lengthy trilogy. There weren’t any reader reviews for Oliver Loving: A Novel, but the description intrigued me. I was expecting a story about the struggle to reconnect with a once lost son but it was so much deeper than that. If you’ve ever wondered how a family remains so strong, how people manage to keep going when bad things happen to them? Stefan Merrill Black knows that they don’t stay strong, and how they manage to keep going is just barely, and at best, quite poorly. The baggage we carry doesn’t conveniently disappear. This story is about the Loving Family struggles to fill the rolls forced upon them while trying to figure out who they really are. The story’s end is poetry.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
By ZippyBippy on 03-29-18
An incredible story
Would you listen to Oliver Loving again? Why?
No. It was very well written and intimate and detailed and very, very deep. But, it is heart-wrenching and takes an incredible toll on you, leading up to the jaw-dropping ending. I was emotionally spent. I can't experience that again.
What about Michael Crouch’s performance did you like?
The most fascinating thing about Mr. Crouch is that he is never reading..he's not even narrating, necessarily. He is inhabiting. Like a snake, he discards his own skin and amazingly becomes someone, something, else. And like a chameleon, he turns into someone else..Over and over and over again. He makes every character unique, thought-provoking, independent. Each has its own personality. He breathes life into each one--his masterful pauses, intonations and character idiosyncrasies are second to none. These are not characters in a book--they are human beings who, like Oliver Loving, are in search of a voice, waiting to be brought to life. In short order, you forget that one MAN is doing dozens of voices and you begin to identify them within seconds of Mr Couch assuming their identities. He exposes this family's innermost, torturous existence, like peeling an onion, layer after layer. In painstaking detail. Yes, it's a tough book to sit through--its sad and exhausting and gut-wrenching. Is my most-enjoyed Michael Crouch read? No. But, man oh man, he is masterful here. Awe-inspiring, even. He does a lot of YA but this is real real real adult fare. Buy it to experience his skill set alone! 10/10
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
No. It needed to be taken in in stages. It's heavy and you need a break every now and then.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful