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Heading Out to Wonderful by Robert Goolrick
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Heading Out to Wonderful (edition 2013)

by Robert Goolrick

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3673329,545 (3.61)14
Member:balupitu
Title:Heading Out to Wonderful
Authors:Robert Goolrick
Info:Algonquin Books (2013), Paperback, 320 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:**1/2
Tags:None

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Heading Out to Wonderful by Robert Goolrick

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  1. 10
    The Master Butchers Singing Club by Louise Erdrich (Limelite)
    Limelite: Shared atmosphere and tone. And it's about butchers and knives.
  2. 00
    The Round House by Louise Erdrich (tangledthread)
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Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
In spite of the title and the lyrical writing, readers can tell pretty quickly that ultimately something awful is going to happen. A stranger arrives in a small Virginia town soon after the end of World War II, and becomes a local favorite for many reasons. He falls in love with the young woman bought by the wealthiest man in town as his bride, and we just know that no good can come of it. There is small town goodness, race relations, religion, and pettiness all converging on the seemingly inevitable ending. ( )
  sleahey | Jun 4, 2014 |
This is a novel from the not long gone, but still days past, and also from the days partly imagined, fashioned with a Holywood movie filter in place. The times past when lives were more singular and the decisions made more grave. One gave in to destiny as if it were true, as if it existed. In a place where love is larger than life itself, and the reason too, and characters cut out sharply in the scorching light of a merciless summer, the mistakes are made but never regretted. One cannot help oneself, one accepts whatever comes next. Lives are broken and ruined without hesitation, without even a thought, as if hit by a natural disaster.

I loved the way Goolrick eased us readers into the story like every good storyteller should, by showing us the larger picture of the small town and the country, by setting up the stage for the dramatic love story. It was so good I could almost hear a manly Hollywood movie voice introducing the plot, whispering in my ear, promising terrible, large things, cajoling me into this tragedy. ( )
  flydodofly | Jun 4, 2014 |
Will be adding the "to wonderful" quote to my collection of quotes to remember, refer to.
Having trouble rating this book higher, because I had difficulty with things that were never explained, things that didn't fit for me - even in the stretch of "it's fiction".
However, if I muse on the individual characters and some of the interactions, it is excellent, evocative, and magical in some ways.
For me, personally, just wish those wonderful characters and locale descriptives could have been fit into a slightly differently slanted story line.
Later:
Was going to revise my rating, when discussing with Winston and he asked if this wasn't the standard format for a "tragedy" or like an opera . . .oh, my but they have a zillion twists, turns, traumas, tragedies . . .
But - - - they come with MUSIC!!!!! and some of it quite good/moving/sometimes 'catchy' even !
So, on further thought of my further thoughts, going to leave this one at the "it was OK" rating. Wouldn't discourage reading it because segments are very well done. Just don't expect it to make any profound conclusion. Too bad that the great characters that could have been there are about 3 books or 1000 pages short.
I'm done now.
( )
  CasaBooks | Mar 14, 2014 |
What a wonderful book and I hope Goolick writes many more than these few he has written . He is a remarkable story teller ...Kudos to him . I really enjoyed this book and the charecters are totally believable .
  phonelady61 | Jan 8, 2014 |
The book opens with a first person narrated introduction to the quiet town of Brownsburg, Va. in 1948. The story begins when Charlie Beale arrives with a suitcase full of cash and a set of butcher knives "sharp as razors", adding one more to the population of 538 people. The story is about a particular town, in a particular time, and a particular place to a particular group of people who belonged to the land.

Charlie Beale is not one of those particular people. He is a perpetual outsider, not just because of the nature of Brownsburg, but by his own nature as well. Through out the story we are given clues to his separate nature. One example is his difficulty fitting in at church leading to his identification with the people of the AME church, who didn't particularly want a white man man to join them. Through out the story, Charlie remains a cipher. It is not clear where the suitcase full of cash came from. There is an allusion to an unhappy childhood. The knives are German. And it's not clear where this 40 year old man spent the years of WWII.

Another theme in the story are the various types of love. There is love for a child as Charlie takes on his boss's 5 year old son, Sam Haislett. There is neighborly love as the Haisletts hire Charlie in the butcher shop and Alma takes him under her wing. There is filial love, as Charlie's brother Ned comes to help Charlie in his time of need. And there is the forbidden love that Charlie has for Sylvan Glass, the wife of Boaty Glass, the richest and possibly meanest man in town. And there is self love, which is the undoing of all of the others.

This exploration of love and motivation are similar to Goolrick's previous book, The Reliable Wife. Both are sinister and somewhat cynical. While The Reliable Wife takes place in wintry Wisconsin and St. Louis, this book is firmly rooted in summer in the Appalachian Mountains with a Southern Gothic atmosphere in the writing. ( )
  tangledthread | Dec 13, 2013 |
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Book description
"Let me tell you something, son. 
When you're young, and you head out to wonderful, everything is fresh and bright as a brand-new penny, 
but before you get to wonderful you're going to have to pass through all right. And when you get to all right, stop and take a good, long look, because that may be as far as you're ever going to go."It is the summer of 1948 when a handsome, charismatic stranger, Charlie Beale, recently back from the war in Europe, shows up in the town of Brownsburg, a sleepy village of a few hundred people, nestled in the Valley of Virginia. All he has with him are two suitcases: one contains his few possessions, including a fine set of butcher knives; the other is full of money. A lot of money.Finding work at the local butcher shop, Charlie befriends the owner and his family, including the owner's son, Sam, who he is soon treating as though he were his own flesh and blood. And it is through the shop that Charlie gradually meets all the townsfolk, including Boaty Glass, Brownsburg's wealthiest citizen, and most significantly, Boaty's beautiful teenage bride, Sylvan.This last encounter sets in motion the events that give Goolrick's powerful tale the stark, emotional impact that thrilled fans of his previous novel, A Reliable Wife. Charlie's attraction to Sylvan Glass turns first to lust and then to a need to possess her, a need so basic it becomes an all-consuming passion that threatens to destroy everything and everyone in its path. Told through the eyes of Sam, now an old man looking back on the events that changed his world forever, Heading Out to Wonderful is a suspenseful masterpiece, a haunting, heart-stopping novel of obsession and love gone terribly wrong in a place where once upon a time such things could happen.
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In 1948, a mysterious and charismatic man arrives in a small Virginia town carrying two suitcases; one contains his worldly possessions, the other is full of money. He soon inserts himself into the town's daily life, taking a job in the local butcher shop and befriending the owner and his wife and their son. But the passion that develops between the man and the wife of the town's wealthiest citizen sets in motion a series of events that not only upset the quiet town but threaten to destroy both him and the woman.… (more)

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