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The Summer Guest by Justin Cronin

The Summer Guest

by Justin Cronin (Author)

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English (4)  Dutch (2)  All languages (6)
Showing 4 of 4
I heard about Justin Cronin's earlier book, on LIbraryThing and found a copy in my own library where it has been waiting for me to discover it since he wrote it in 2004. I've read his books, [The Passage] and [The Twelve] and loved them. And, I have already pre-ordered the third book in this trilogy. The Summer Guest is nothing like those books and that's okay. This is a wonderful book and I loved every word. It's set in the woods of Maine and is the story of the family who have owned and run a fishing camp, for several generations, in these beautiful backwoods. It is also the story of Harry Wainwright, a great businessman who has been coming here for 30 years.

Harry comes back to the camp at the end of his life, he wants to spend one more day fishing and remembering his life and the people who were an important part of it. It was a real treat to, not only find out about this book, but to find it here at home and read it immediately. Now to track down his first book, [Mary and O'Neil]. Highly recommended! ( )
  Dianekeenoy | Feb 24, 2016 |
I knew Cronin as the author of post-apocalyptic books like The Passage. But this book came before that series and is a much different type of book. The Summer Guest centers around a fishing camp in Maine. We gradually learn the backstories of the camp's owners, Joe and Lucy Crosby; a frequent guest and wealthy businessman, Harry Wainwright; and camp employee, Jordan Patterson. But the action centers on one day, a day marked by what may be Harry's final visit to the camp and that may change the lives of everyone associated with the camp. Although the shifting viewpoints slows the pace of the story a bit, it is handled masterfully and adds depth that sets this book apart. I felt connected to each character, to their struggles and their deep relationships to the camp. It is a high compliment from me to compare this book to the journeys to Maine that I've taken with Elizabeth Strout. ( )
  porch_reader | Mar 31, 2015 |
On the cover of my copy of this book, newspapers and other authors made comments such as: "a work of art," and {Cronin} is a joy to read." I honestly couldn't agree more. He writes beautifully, and has an amazing talent of describing moments and emotions with breathtaking insight. There were passages in this novel that literally made me draw in my breath. His descriptions and the relationships among the characters are what drives this book; the plot did not draw me in quite like the plot in The Passage did. The writing though...oh, the writing.. ( )
  carebear10712 | Dec 31, 2014 |
Nicely paced when you just want to get into a book and enjoy the exploration of characters and timelines and a placement in mostly deep wood Maine. ( )
  nyiper | Jul 25, 2014 |
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Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
I'll look for you in old Honolulu,
San Francisco, Ashtabula,
Yer gonna have to leave me now, I know.
But I'll see you in the sky above,
In the tall grass, in the ones I loves,
Yer gonna make me lonesome when you go.

- Bob Dylan, 'You're Gonna Make Me
Lonesome When You Go'
Voor Leslie en Iris
For Leslie and for Iris
First words
Ten noorden van Boston reden ze langs de zee.
North of Boston they followed the sea.
There are regulars, too, people who come up here every year at the times they like best: early summer for the big mayfly hatches, or else the long dry days of August, after the blackflies have gone, the days are as crisp as a butterfly on pins, and the fish have wised up and aren’t especially hungry besides – not the easiest time to catch then, but that’s not why these folks are here, and not why I’m here, either.
Of all the concessions one must make to age, I have discovered this is actually the easiest to face, because its theme is not scarcity but abundance: we have simply loved too many others – spouses, lovers, children, dogs, in all the golden days and hours in our lives – to add one more to the pile. Love there is between us, but it’s an impersonal sort of love, more like a recollection of love than the thing, itself, and what we have to offer one another is the chance to sip together from the cup of memory.
“Here’s the question, Harry. Do you want to go home? Because if you do, there are things that can be done.” He nods me along. “To make you comfortable.” He is asking me where I want to die, of course. It is not a question one longs to hear. And yet I am glad he has asked it.
I loved him as one can only love such a dog; but I also knew what he was. Behind his eyes, twin chestnuts of the most tender soulfulness, lay encased in its suitcase of bone, a brain that knew nothing at all of time or sorrow or even the true joy that sorrow makes possible – only its own desire to please, an aching, needful love that could achieve its fullest contentment with the most meager offering: a stale biscuit, a walk around the block to do his business, a pat on his golden head. His own existence, its nature and finitude, was a mystery to him; he might have thought he was a person, or else I was a dog. The day I took him to the vet to have him put down – he was thirteen, his hips so bad he could barely walk to his bowl – I could think of only this to say: “You have been a good dog, and a great comfort to me, and I thank you.” It was all he wanted to hear. I’d never wished so badly to be the dog he thought I was.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385335822, Paperback)

Set primarily in a rustic fishing camp on the northern tip of Maine, the first 50 pages of Justin Cronin's The Summer Guest read like a lazy fishing expedition--most of the time is simply spent waiting for something to happen. Thankfully, this expansive family saga goes on to explore countless intriguing topics, including love, war, disease, loss, betrayal, and redemption. The book revolves around the story of Harry Wainwright, a wealthy entrepreneur who falls in love with the camp as a young man and returns decades later for one last day of fishing before he succumbs to terminal cancer. With Harry as a centerpiece, Cronin artfully weaves the tales of Joe and Lucy Crosby, the camp's owners; their daughter Kate; and Jordan, the camp's guide; into a complex web of family drama. Using history as both a backdrop and a main character, Cronin guides readers from World War II to Vietnam, with the story reaching its climax on a late summer day in 1994.

The beauty of The Summer Guest lies in Cronin's ability to create meaning in each character's situation. Whether dodging the draft on a fishing boat in rural Canada, serving up clams by the Boston Harbor, saying goodbye to a loved one, or finding new love where you were once afraid to look, Cronin creates deep, sincere characters with whom readers feel a powerful sense of investment. ("Here is grief, I thought, here is grief at last: the full measure and heft of it... I watched myself enter it as if I were stepping into a pool of the calmest, darkest waters... a feeling like happiness, everything drifting away…") This ability to make what at first may seem like a quiet day of fishing seem extraordinary is what sets Cronin apart from other novelists, and what makes a story of the everyday business of living, loving and dying seem somewhat extraordinary. --Gisele Toueg

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:48 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Diagnosed with terminal cancer, celebrated financier Harry Wainwright longs for one more visit to a beloved fishing camp in the remote reaches of Maine, to cast "a flyline over water as still as God's held breath." Camp owner Joe Crosby, a Vietnam draft evader who inherited the property from his war-hero father, is honored to grant the wish of the kindly millionaire, who has been a summer visitor to the camp for more than 30 years. Arriving with his wife, son, and granddaughter in tow, the frail Wainwright makes a dramatic bequest that transforms a tranquil lakeside sojourn into a life-altering event. Narrated in alternating chapters by characters whose lives are inextricably linked to each other--and to the camp--Cronin's novel reveals the rugged beauty of his native New England and the tender terrain of the human heart.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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