The Hour I First Believed

  • by Wally Lamb
  • Narrated by George Guidall
  • 25 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

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.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

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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- G.

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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Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-11-2008
  • Publisher: HarperAudio