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The Solace of Leaving Early by Haven Kimmel
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The Solace of Leaving Early

by Haven Kimmel

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I wasn't initially that keen to read this, I took it out from the library with a bunch of other books that I knew were going to be good so this one got read last by default. It was such a strange, beautiful book that has stayed with me for ages after finishing it. It has that distinctly American voice that seems to originate in the South and has an undeniable lyricism to it. The subtleties of emotions that exist between people are dealt with so well in this book.
  LindsayCal | Feb 15, 2016 |
An absolutely captivating story. Langston, the main character, is a fascinating character who awakens from her intellectual and emotional coma to become a beautiful (though still quirky) person right before our eyes. I adored the juxtaposition of the Midwestern setting and sensibilities with the theological and philosophical musings, all adroitly woven into the fabric of the story. It's funny, it's sweet and it's smart. ( )
  SonjaYoerg | Oct 1, 2014 |
The Solace of Leaving Early by Haven Kimmel

Langston is an angry young woman. She has abandoned her PhD and a meaningless love-affair. Financial circumstances force her to move back in with her parents in the small middle American town in which they live. Here, self-absorbed and irritated by everything, even the death of a childhood friend fails to snap her out of it.
But the death causes ripples within the community & in her life via the two traumatised children left behind. Under the ever watchful eye of her mother & the local preacher, Amos, Langston is saddled with their care and through them eventually learns to value life again.
The Solace of Leaving Early is a moving and thought provoking story about discovering how other people can change your life when you least expect it. With gentle humour, beautiful prose and much empathy this is one of those books that I will read and reread and tell all of my reading friends about. I loved it. ( )
2 vote rainpebble | Jul 29, 2013 |
An interesting first novel with beautiful prose of the consequences of grief and guilt. The main characters, Langston & Amos, are often exasperating, but ultimately likeable as the story slowly draws them out of themselves and their loneliness and forces them to face the world.
( )
  dgmillo | Jun 2, 2013 |
My blog post about this book is at this link. ( )
  SuziQoregon | Mar 31, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
Pulchritudo eorum confessio eorum: Their beauty is their testimony.
SAINT AUGUSTINE
Dedication
For my children, Katie and Obadiah:

EVERYTHING
First words
It wasn't given to Langston Braverman to know the moment she became a different person; she only knew later, looking back on the afternoon a simple storm arrived and stayed for days, the afternoon she first saw the children.
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This book is a joyous story about finding ones self through accepting the shortcoming of others.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0007152531, Paperback)

A heart rending story of the lives of a few inhabitants of a small American town and the massive effect of one very violent death. Langston Braverman has just walked out on her PhD oral exams and returned home to Haddington, Indiana in a fragile emotional state. She retreats to her parents' attic, unsure what to do with the summer or the rest of her life, but with vague plans to write the great American novel. But it's hot, and she is distracted beyond capacity to think by the banality of this small-town home she has returned to, and plunged deep in the trauma of a self-imposed existential dilemma from which not even news of the death of her childhood best friend, Alice, can rouse her. A few houses down Plum Street, Amos Townsend, the local preacher, is suffering from a crippling crisis of faith, wondering how he can continue in the role of spiritual leader of this community. Traumatised by Alice's violent death, guilt-ridden over his inability to prevent it, he feels a responsibility for the welfare of Alice's two suddenly orphaned young girls, altered beyond recognition from the shock of having witnessed the bloody end to their parents' marriage. Langston's mother, meanwhile, has forced her into the role of carer, and the developing relationship between the damaged children, and these two slightly hopeless adults helps all four embark on a process of recovery and redemption that is heartbreakingly poignant and utterly convincing. 'The Solace of Leaving Early' is a remarkable novel - generous, warm-hearted, smart and ambitious. It is a novel of people and ideas, of family ties, and of how those ties endure for better or worse, of grief and love, of leaving home and returning, of the overwhelming secrets that rest quietly within us. It is so sweet and smart, it's a present.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:16 -0400)

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A heart rending story of four people in a small American town.

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