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Family Romance: A Love Story by John…
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Family Romance: A Love Story (original 2007; edition 2008)

by John Lanchester

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141785,024 (3.7)9
Member:janglen
Title:Family Romance: A Love Story
Authors:John Lanchester
Info:Penguin Books (2008), Paperback, 370 pages
Collections:2012 reading
Rating:****
Tags:autobiography

Work details

Family Romance by John Lanchester (2007)

Recently added byprivate library, yaele, claraoscura, the_defenestrator, gb24, ethelmay, diana.n, vguy
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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
Well written but perhaps a bit too much of it. Feel he is looking for something, but not quite clear what. Gives a sense of how the British character seems to have changed in our lifetime, from the repressed, dutiful, obedient, conforming, to the emotionally expressive, perhaps more selfish, modern. Confluence of the poor Irish catholic stream with the English professional colonial is intriguing. The best is the detailed portrait of what it was like for his mother as a nun: the physical, mental, verbal, sartorial constraints. And how hard it was to get out. ( )
  vguy | Nov 14, 2013 |
Fiction fans often suppose that a novel’s plot reflects the writer’s life. Readers of Lanchester’s dark satire Debt to Pleasure will be relieved that this truism is not always the case, and intrigued by the relaxed tone of this engaging memoir. In lesser hands, the family secrets revealed in Family Romance, might have been presented in a more sensational style. In this treatment, the family revelations are more emotionally involving for the reader because of the restraint shown in the telling. Recommended.
  vplprl | Nov 7, 2013 |
John Lanchester is one of those authors that I keep forgetting that I love. Every one of his books is like a fresh, delightful new voice in my head and then I remember that I have admired his work before. Part of the reason for this may be because each of his books is quite different. I still recommend [b:The Debt to Pleasure|169510|The Debt to Pleasure|John Lanchester|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1312009160s/169510.jpg|163686] often as though it came out yesterday rather than 15 years ago. It is a sly and witty mystery about a cookbook writer who is not quite what he seems.

Family Romance is a smart memoir about a complex set of parents. Lanchester discovers his mother's past after her death and spends the book unraveling the person that she was from the person that he thought he knew. Absolutely filled with witty, observent asides about the choices that we make in life. I just loved this book on so many different levels. My poor husband had to listen to me read paragraphs aloud at least ten times, and that is a rare enough occasion to distinguish the book as a new favorite. ( )
  tippycanoegal | Apr 1, 2013 |
Not of any interest to me. Neutral in my criticism as I did not read more than the first section, browsed through the rest, and found nothing to read of interest, nor anything worthy of my time. It is hoped his fiction is better for me of which I have one in the mail to me and another being held at the local library. ( )
  MSarki | Mar 31, 2013 |
I found this absolutely fascinating. It is primarily the story of John Lanchester's parents who both in their own ways led lives that were sometimes quite extraordinary. I wasn''t totally convinced by all the explanations Lanchester gives for his own and his parents behaviour and personality traits but I remained glued to the book throughout. A very thoughtful and thought provoking story. ( )
  janglen | Nov 25, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0399153004, Hardcover)

A memoir by the acclaimed novelist The Wall Street Journal called "blessed with a sense of history, a feeling for place, an observant eye for detail, and an elegant no-frills style."

In their particulars, the Lanchesters were not Every Family. The father was an international banker, the mother a former nun. Yet in the dynamic of family life, their patterns are instantly recognizable. The heart of that dynamic is a built-in tug-of-war: to a young child, a sense of loving protection becomes, as he matures, a set of barriers to be overcome. In his richly told story, John Lanchester brings this dynamic to life, and in the process makes us think about our own family story and about the legacy-emotional, social, intellectual-our parents pass on to us, generation to generation, the bitter with the best.

It was only when his mother died that Lanchester realized how little he really knew his parents. That, too, is in the nature of families: parents keep secrets from their children, and children are happy to acquiesce, not wanting to disturb their universe. But with Julie Lanchester's death-and the cache of papers and letters she left behind-Lanchester set out to reconstruct just who his parents had been. In doing so, he gained extraordinary insight into his own nature, and a deeper understanding of theirs. And because he has the wisdom to see the universal aspects of his story, Family Romance resonates for anyone who has ever felt the push-pull of family love.

Part detective work, part remarkable evocation of character, Family Romance is, above all, compelling storytelling.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:34:46 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

The author describes his atypical youth as the son of an international banker and former nun, the loving, protective family shell he needed to overcome in order to mature, and the secrets that overshadowed his parents' lives.

(summary from another edition)

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