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The Art of Mending by Elizabeth Berg
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The Art of Mending (original 2004; edition 2006)

by Elizabeth Berg

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1,101357,536 (3.52)24
Member:writestuff
Title:The Art of Mending
Authors:Elizabeth Berg
Info:Fawcett (2006), Mass Market Paperback, 256 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:2007 Read, Women's Fiction

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The Art of Mending by Elizabeth Berg (2004)

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Laura Bartone always anticipates her annual family reunion with the usual amount of excitement and wariness. Traveling all the way to Minnesota to see her family each year is certainly wonderful, yet Laura also can't deny that in a small portion of her heart, she secretly dreads going to the family reunion each year. Laura loves her family deeply - yet somehow, whenever she is around her sister Caroline and her brother Steve - Laura can feel the mutual tension building between them, as well as the mutual desire to get away. Yet this year's gathering will prove to be even more trying than either she or her siblings could have imagined.

It all begins when Laura receives a cryptic phone call from her younger sister Caroline. Caroline has always been regarded as the family's restless black sheep; forever wrapped up in her memories of the past, so for her to make a desperate phone call in the middle of the night is typical behavior. As much as Laura tries to be the understanding, supportive sister, she knows that Caroline has always had a dramatic flair when remembering certain events from the past, so Laura takes what she hears with a pinch of salt.

However, as soon as Laura arrives in Minnesota, she realizes that something is definitely wrong with her sister. Caroline's entire demeanor just doesn't seem right. When she eventually confronts Laura and their brother, Steve, with devastating allegations about their mother, the three have a difficult time reconciling their varying experiences while living in the same house. And it is the sudden revelation of such astounding secrets - secrets that have subsequently shaped the personalities and fates of all three siblings, that now threaten to tear them apart.

Yet a sudden misfortune will lead them all to face the past, their own culpability, and their common need for love and forgiveness. In The Art of Mending - a novel which is her most profound and emotionally satisfying story to date - Elizabeth Berg confronts some of the deepest mysteries of life, as she explores how even the largest sins can be forgiven by the smallest gestures, and how grace can come to many through the trials of one.

I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. In my opinion, this was a fast-paced, well-developed story; filled with vibrant and brilliantly nuanced characters that really resonated with me emotionally. I give this book a definite A+! and will be eagerly awaiting Ms. Berg's next novel with baited breath. ( )
  moonshineandrosefire | Jul 10, 2015 |
I was immediately captivated by this short book about a family suddenly grappling with secrets. The normal, warm, happy life of the narrator and her family is disrupted by an unexpected loss, and in the midst of ther grief, the secrets are revealed, denied, and revealed again. The style flows easily, and it was hard to put down - had I not had work the next day, I would have finished it in on session in the wee hours. My only quibble is that the road toward reconciliation seems to be found too easily.

One thing that puzzled me is the interview with Berg at the end of the book. She and the interviewer agree that the characters are unsympathetic, even unlikeable. I didn't feel that way about the narrator or her immediate family at all. In fact, I found myself comfortably identifying with her. ( )
  ffortsa | Apr 25, 2015 |
Decent book, very quick read ( )
  cait815 | Apr 1, 2013 |
ebook
  velvetink | Mar 31, 2013 |
I LOVE Elizabeth Berg's books. I'm getting a little concerned because I've been going back and trying to read all of the Berg books I missed along the way---what will I do when I catch up??? I hope she is spending day and night writing!! Seriously, her characters make me just plain comfortable with them as real people, imaginary though they are. The stories are always something that grabs a piece of your heart along the way. ( )
  nyiper | Feb 26, 2013 |
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Epigraph
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing
There is a field. I'll meet you there.
--Rumi

Anyone's childhood can be an act of disablement if
rehearsed and replayed and squinted at in a certain light.
--Carol Shields, from Unless

The foxes were having their pups . . . if a stranger
appeared near the pens, if anything too startling or
disruptive occurred, they might decide to kill them.
Nobody knew whether they did this out of blind irritation,
or out of roused and terrified maternal feeling.
--Alice Munro, from Lives of Girls and Women
Dedication
For those who find
forgiveness by way
of the truth
and for those
who find the truth
by way of forgiveness
First words
It is a photograph of a staircase that I took with my Brownie camera over forty years ago.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 034548648X, Mass Market Paperback)

It begins with the sudden revelation of astonishing secrets—secrets that have shaped the personalities and fates of three siblings, and now threaten to tear them apart. In renowned author Elizabeth Berg’s moving new novel, unearthed truths force one seemingly ordinary family to reexamine their disparate lives and to ask themselves: Is it too late to mend the hurts of the past?

Laura Bartone anticipates her annual family reunion in Minnesota with a mixture of excitement and wariness. Yet this year’s gathering will prove to be much more trying than either she or her siblings imagined. As soon as she arrives, Laura realizes that something is not right with her sister. Forever wrapped up in events of long ago, Caroline is the family’s restless black sheep. When Caroline confronts Laura and their brother, Steve, with devastating allegations about their mother, the three have a difficult time reconciling their varying experiences in the same house. But a sudden misfortune will lead them all to face the past, their own culpability, and their common need for love and forgiveness.

Readers have come to love Elizabeth Berg for the “lucent beauty of [her] prose, the verity of her insights, and the tenderness of her regard for her fellow human” (Booklist). In The Art of Mending, her most profound and emotionally satisfying novel to date, she confronts some of the deepest mysteries of life, as she explores how even the largest sins can be forgiven by the smallest gestures, and how grace can come to many through the trials of one.


From the Hardcover edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:19 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

It begins with the sudden revelation of astonishing secrets. Secrets that have shaped the personalities and fates of three siblings, and now threaten to tear them apart. In renowned author Elizabeth Berg's moving new novel, unearthed truths force one seemingly ordinary family to reexamine their disparate lives and to ask themselves: Is it too late to mend the hurts of the past?… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 6 descriptions

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