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Wish You Were Here
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Wikipedia in English
Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0802139892, Paperback)A deep, poignant study of a family fighting its inner demons awaits in Stewart O'Nan's Wish You Were Here. A year after the death of her husband, Emily Maxwell gathers her immediate family together at their summer home on Lake Chautauqua in western New York for a final sendoff and to dole out keepsakes before the new owners move in. Joining Emily is her daughter, Meg, fresh from rehab and upset over her imminent divorce, and Meg's children: the emotionally unstable Justin, and Sarah, a teenage beauty learning to use her charms. Ken, Emily's fortyish slacker son, and his wife, Lisa, also bunk down for the week, bringing along their two kids: the troubled Sam, and Ella, a plain, smart girl who finds herself with a crush on her cousin, Sarah.
O'Nan has a gift for voicing the inner fears that motivate and stifle us, and his characters move and act as members of a polite society--a family even. Yet each is distinctly alone, with voices and turmoil raging inside. The tension between the characters is keenly drawn, and O'Nan perceptively captures the snippets of thought and memory that follow us around. Ken notes "he assumed more than he knew, not only about the world--whose workings would remain closed, forever a mystery--but even those closest to him." Emily, while preparing dinner, finds her late husband's bottle of scotch, and imbibes:
She went to the window over the sink and held it up to the light, long now and mote-struck, casting shadows under the chestnut, firing an amber glow in her hand.... She looked around the kitchen again as if she'd forgotten something but couldn't find what it was.
Wish You Were Here is an excellent character study of a family grudgingly plodding forward while believing the best chance for happiness passed by sometime ago. --Michael Ferch
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:46:35 -0400)
Award-winning writer O'Nan has been acclaimed by critics as one of the most accomplished novelists writing today. Now comes "his most complete work to date, filled with the type of life lessons that the best fiction has to offer and from an author firmly in control of his art" (Rob Stout, "Orlando Sentinel").
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