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The Dearly Departed by Elinor Lipman

The Dearly Departed (2001)

by Elinor Lipman

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Read during Spring 2004

Elinor Lipman seems to have an uncanny ability to create completely annoying and shallow characters that you just love to hate. The best part in this one is that they fall for each other off stage and leave the main part to two characters I really liked. One of her best ones, right up there with The Way Men Act and The Inn at Lake Devine.
  amyem58 | Jul 14, 2014 |
Great, dryly funny and very moreish. It's in the genre of the death of a parent causing someone to go back to the small town where they grew up. There's unresolved high school baggage and realising that they didn't know their parent as well as they thought. Very good, though. ( )
  annesadleir | Jun 14, 2011 |
The accidental death of a woman and her lover brings her daughter and his son together fot the funeral. As the story unfolds, we find out they are step siblings. Set in a small, rural american town, the story has a certain charm and keeps the reader's interest to the end. ( )
  ColinHolloway | Dec 2, 2009 |
Sunny's mother and Fletcher's father die in a carbon monoxide accident. They meet for the first time at graveside where it becomes evident to the whole town they are siblings. Sunny makes peace with her childhood and decides to stay. She gets to know Fletcher and admits they are related.

When Fletcher began making brotherly overtures, I took them to be insinsere, more for his own enjoyment. Up until that point he had been portrayed as totally ego-centric. I liked what his character became. Kind of the wild-eyed little brother pestering his sister, wantint to know everything. Sunny's reconciliation with Randy wasn't real. he obviously wasn't sincere and still thought his high school pranks had been funny, and it had all been her fault. Maybe a truce for the sake of her friendship with Regina, but no a sincere apology. Overall, the characters were interesting and the situation that put them all together was good. ( )
  read4thefunofit | Feb 22, 2006 |
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This book is dedicated to my son, Benjamin Lipman Austin
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Come Back to King George

Sunny met Fletcher for the first time at their parent's funeral, a huge graveside affair where bagpipes wailed and strangers wept. It was a humid, mosquito-plagued June day, and the grass was spongy from a midnight thunderstorm. They had stayed on the fringes of the crowd until both were rounded up and bossed into the prime mourner's seats by the funeral director. Sunny wore white -- picture hat, dress, wet shoes -- and an expression that layered anger over grief: Who is he? How dare he? Are any of these gawkers friends?
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0375724583, Paperback)

When amateur actress Margaret Batten and her lover Miles Finn are found dead in Margaret's ramshackle gray bungalow, all of King George, New Hampshire, is abuzz. Is it foul play? (No, carbon monoxide poisoning.) Were they engaged? (Yes, if you believe the cleaning lady.) And why do Margaret's daughter Sunny and Miles's son Fletcher have the same kind of wispy, shiny, prematurely gray hair? (They're brother and sister, or so suggests Fletcher, annoyingly and at length.) Meeting one's possible half brother for the first time is jolting enough. But for Sunny Batten, the shock is compounded by finding out that her shy, sweet-faced mother was evidently not the "little mouse"--or even the "late bloomer"--Sunny had always assumed her to be. In other words, when the eulogists praise Margaret's vaunted generosity and her "open door," they aren't necessarily talking about the time she asked the Girl Scouts in for lemonade.

But then King George is full of surprises. Home for the first time since high school, Sunny finds herself reassessing the place. She has ample reason to regret her teenage years--she was poor, had no father, was the only girl on the golf team, found a dead carp in her golf bag one time. But how far can a grudge take you in life? Can we ever really know the truth about our parents? What state of mind does it take to shoot par? Lipman addresses such questions with her customary lighthearted touch, sketching out her ensemble cast with rapid and comical strokes. Witness, for example, anorexic congressional candidate Emily Ann Grandjean's most characteristic tic: "constant sips from a large bottle of brand-name water, then the ceremonial screwing of its cap back on once, twice, full-body twists as if volatile and poisonous gases would escape without her intervention." In the end, all loose ends are neatly tied up and all single characters are suitably paired--in other words, the author once again produces the kind of visceral satisfaction readers associate with her work. It's hard not to devour an Elinor Lipman novel in one sitting; put this one away for a time when you won't have to put it down. --Mary Park

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:37 -0400)

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A woman returns to her home town for her mother's funeral, only to discover a lost brother.

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