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Home Stretch
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Home Stretch

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753281,754 (3.78)2
Member:sheila150650
Title:Home Stretch
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Home Stretch by Graham Norton

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It is 1987 and a small Irish community is preparing for a wedding. The day before the ceremony, a group of young friends, including the bride and groom, are involved in an accident. Three survive. Three are killed.

The lives of the families are shattered and the rifts between them ripple throughout the small town. Connor survived, but living among the angry and the mourning is almost as hard as carrying the shame of having been the driver. He leaves the only place he knows for another life, taking his secrets with him. Travelling first to Liverpool, then London, he eventually makes a home—of sorts—for himself in New York, where he finds shelter and the possibility of forging a new life.

But the secrets—the unspoken longings and regrets that haunt those left behind—will not be silenced. Before long, Connor will have to confront his past.

Thank you HarperOne for sponsoring this Goodreads Giveaway giving me the chance to read Home Stretch by Graham Norton!

One thing I liked the most about this book is that you felt like you were reading a piece of the author’s own life, his own experience. It's amazing to hear the attitudes people had back then towards people just being who they are. It’s not as strong now but it’s nice to see that there have at least been some improvements. I am not gay but my sister is and I can remember some hardships that she went through as a young woman coming out in the late 80s. So it was an easy read and interesting to see how each person reacts differently to the lies, secrets, and heartbreak. I enjoyed the time travel; it added to the suspense. It was intriguing to see how the characters developed and their relation to each other. I enjoyed the book. Happy reading everyone!
( )
  jacashjoh | Jun 8, 2021 |
1987 and in a small town in the Irish countryside there is a terrible car accident, three young people are killed, one left paralysed and two walk away. Connor, the driver, is sent for trial and given a suspended sentence but the shame makes his parents send him to England to escape. His sister marries the other survivor, the local doctor's son, and settles into domestic frustration. Over time Connor loses touch with his family and lives his own life first in London and then New York. However when a chance remark decades later puts a new complexion on the crash it is time for family secrets to be shared.
This is such a gentle and heartwarming book despite the very adult themes and I loved it. Norton is turning out to be a solid author and his books go from strength to strength. Here the shame of the crash is actually turned into a view on Irish society's changing attitudes to homosexuality and that moves the book from being merely entertaining to having something of substance behind it. ( )
1 vote pluckedhighbrow | Oct 20, 2020 |
Home Stretch is a compelling and poignant novel from Graham Norton.

When a tragic single car accident takes the life of three young adults in the small Irish village, the lives of the three survivors, and their family’s, are forever changed.

“None of us are just the worst thing we ever did.”

With sensitivity and compassion, Norton explores the themes of loss, stigma, longing, betrayal, and self discovery as his characters lives unfold. The narrative is shared by several characters but the focus is on Connor, the admitted driver. Crushed by the community’s grief and anger, and his own shameful secrets, Connor leaves home for a fresh start. Cutting himself off from his family, Connor’s journey takes him to England and then America, but he remains haunted by the tragedy.

“This is what homecoming meant. Arriving in a place to discover you’re fluent in a language you’d forgotten you ever knew.”

The plot is multilayered and thoughtful, shifting between past and present, it begins in 1987 and ends in the present. It’s decades before Connor finds the emotional strength to confront the past, spurred on by a chance meeting with a nephew he never even knew he had. As he reconnects with all that he left behind, assumptions are challenged and secrets are outed.

Not at all what I expected from what I know of Norton’s public persona, with its profound themes, authentic characters, and engaging prose, Home Stretch is an absorbing and thought provoking story. ( )
1 vote shelleyraec | Oct 14, 2020 |
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amazon ca I:t is 1987 and a small Irish community is preparing for a wedding. The day before the ceremony, a group of young friends, including the bride and groom, are involved in an accident. Three survive. Three are killed.

The lives of the families are shattered and the rifts between them ripple throughout the small town. Connor survived, but living among the angry and the mourning is almost as hard as carrying the shame of having been the driver. He leaves the only place he knows for another life, taking his secrets with him. Travelling first to Liverpool, then London, he eventually makes a home—of sorts—for himself in New York, where he finds shelter and the possibility of forging a new life.

But the secrets—the unspoken longings and regrets that have come to haunt those left behind—will not be silenced. Before long, Connor will have to confront his past.

A powerful and timely novel of emigration and return, Home Stretch demonstrates Norton’s keen understanding of the power of stigma and secrecy—and their devastating effect on ordinary live
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