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Publisher's Summary

When high-school teacher Caelum Quirk and his wife, Maureen, move to Littleton, Colorado, they both get jobs at Columbine High School. In April 1999, while Caelum is away, Maureen finds herself in the library at Columbine, cowering in a cabinet and expecting to be killed. Miraculously, she survives. But when Caelum and Maureen flee to an illusion of safety on the Quirk family's Connecticut farm, they discover that the effects of chaos are not easily put right. While Maureen fights to regain her sanity, Caelum discovers five generations' worth of diaries, letters, and newspaper clippings in his family's house. As unimaginable secrets emerge, Caelum grapples with the past and struggles to fashion a future from the ashes of tragedy. His quest for meaning is at once mythic and contemporary, personal and quintessentially American.
©2008 Wally Lamb (P)2008 HarperCollins Publishers
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By G. on 01-10-09

excellent all around yarn

Wally Lamb is an author who takes his time, but never wastes yours. In the course of telling his story he goes to unexpected places, I kept thinking, 'go there, write some more about that!' If you're familiar with another of his books, "I know this much is true", he revives Dr. Patel--a soft and wise psycho analyst who is a great of all time. The tale is a tragedy, each turn sadder and sadder. However I wouldn't let that stop you from hearing/reading this awfully wry meditation of a farmhouse and the lives spun around it. Lambs writing is on par with Richard Russo (Empire Falls, Jeffry Eugenides (Middlesex), and Jonathan Frazen (The Corrections), so if you like these authors you will be at home here. As for the the narrator, one earlier reviewer unsympathetically likened George Guidell to Edith of All In The Family, and I had to laugh, it's true! But that is as far as I agree, GG is probably the most gifted narrator I've heard, very good at inflections and tone. The story telling is alive, totally vivid, and his voice is true to the mood and character of the novel. I 100% recommend this book!

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41 of 42 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By JOHN on 11-21-09

Wally Lamb Heaps Tragedy Upon Tragedy

Certainly not a happily ever after story - and I knew that before listening. To be sure, Wally Lamb is a very accomplished novelist. His style is solid and he paints a very realistic picture, weaving fact and fiction; the horrific events at Columbine and Lamb's characters touched by this tragedy. The details are rich and complex. The dialogs are plausible and engaging. The story is deep. All in all, a quality novel well crafted.

Still, near the end of the book I found myself saying "enough is enough." How much pain and suffering must these people endure? For me, it begged the question "WHY?" Why so much? After a while the realism of the story began to unravel, with what felt like gratuitous tragedy for tragedy's sake. However, this should not stop one from listening to an overall very good book, skillfully read by George Guidall.

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15 of 15 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Lulu on 02-05-13

Painful in places but worth a listen

Having read other Wally Lamb novels, I'm already a fan and was surprised to see no other comments, so felt compelled to offer a view. He has great insight into the complexities of modern relationships and writes female characters so well. It was sometimes difficult listening,(a bit depressing in places, given the tragic Columbine theme) but real and poignant; and like his other novels, full of hope and optimism despite this. Great narration - a warm and wonderful voice I'd be happy to hear more of.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By jane joensen on 10-14-14


Would you consider the audio edition of The Hour I First Believed to be better than the print version?

The Hour I first believed is a long story and part of the story goes back in time. I do believe that the fact that you listen to the story makes the story an easier bite to chew. The story is by no means tedious,I love it and it really has given me food for thought but the story is also filled with small stories within and the narration helps to keep the story together.

What did you like best about this story?

I liked that it was totally unpredictable and I loved the different characters.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

I cannot pick one scene out. The whole book was splendid

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

It was too long to listen to in one sitting and breaks was needed but I longed to get back to the book and I am sorry that it is ended.

Any additional comments?

I recommend this book warmly.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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