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The Second Life of Samuel Tyne
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The Second Life of Samuel Tyne

2.79 of 5 stars 2.79  ·  rating details  ·  123 ratings  ·  29 reviews
Suspenseful and atmospheric, this extraordinary novel portrays both the hardship and grace in the life of a man struggling to realize his destiny.

When Samuel Tyne emigrated from the Gold Coast (now Ghana) in 1955, he was determined to accomplish great things. He excelled at Oxford and then came to Canada with the uncle who raised him, leaving the traditions and hard life o...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published March 8th 2005 by Vintage Canada (first published 2004)
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i have figured out all the low ratings on this book. it is "sad." that seems to be the major complaint about this book. its sadness.


i mean, yeah, this is a sad book. a very very sad book. and for those of you who like books in which an ambitious character gets everything they want and ends up happy as can be with their family and their reputation intact, this would definitely be a two-star book for you.

because the reality of the immigrant experience and the demands of family upon a...more
It should be noted that my reviews reflect my personal tastes. This was a wonderfully written book, but it was too depressing to want to read again.

The story of Samuel Tyne and his family is painfully drawn out into a full length novel that should have remained a short story. Granted, I don’t even know if this novel started as a short story but I hope it did. A glaring lack of drama makes this book long winded and disappointing.

The characters between the covers of Edugyan’s book are deficient. They are deficient not in their ability’s or personalities in the story itself, but they are void of depth and substance. Edugy...more
The language was excellent, and the context was interesting. The writer is very gifted. The story line was unrelentingly sad, with only the slightest notes of hope in the end. It is a story of people--and relationships--falling apart. Given that I finished the book in one day, there must have been some part of me enjoying it, which is why I gave it three stars, despite my initial inclination to give it two. I was very curious to find out what was the real story with the twins and what further ha...more
Christoph Fischer
"The Second Life of Samuel Tyne" by Esi Edugyan stood on my bookshelf for a long time before I dared reading it. I liked Half Blood Blues so much, I feared it would not live up to it.
I must have waited long enough then, because I loved this book. Very moody and quite different in style this book takes us from 1968 Calgary to Aster, a small community in Canada, where Samuel Tyne and his family try to make a new start. The newcomers are welcomed into the community as much as one would expect, wit...more
I'm not saying it's not a good book. It was just really, really depressing.
*spoiler alert*

I find it increasingly discouraging that this harrowing tale received such low ratings and negative reviews. The recurring theme I receive from these comments are the gloomy and dark nature of the book, and the under-development of the characters.

I absolutely adored this book. It is so morose and depressive and intense. There is hardly a moment of happiness and hope in the story, though I will say that I like sad stories and poems.

But there was such a beauty accomplished by the...more
Even now, long after I've finished this book, I'm unsure on how I feel about it. It was a very slow moving book, with both the narrative and the development of the plot and characters - it felt almost "sleepy" in how everything was expressed and told to the reader. It's also a book which I liked it, but at the same time I didn't - and I'm still not exactly sure why.

The story itself had a lot to it. There's Samuel, who has tried to start a new life for himself, hoping things will turn out the way...more
Victoria Nkunu
After reading Half Blood Blues by the same author, I was confident that this novel would be good. And I was proved right.
It is a simple story about a man who decides to start a new life with his family in a small town, in order to pursue his life long passion. Unfortunately things do not go as planned and a series of mishaps and conflicts set this family up for a tragic end.
Esi Edugyan tells the story well using simple language and references, making it easy for the reader to relate to the char...more
I wanted to like this book. Her previous book, Half-BLOOD BLUES, was very good. This one attempts too much. Ir is a complicated due to the uniqueness of the setting.We meet a family that has been a part of immagration from Ghana to the Alberta Canada area.The author spends time giving background to the history of this and its effects on the life of Samuel and his family. There were too many story lines and they did not move the story.HE has twin daughters who seem to be brilliant but flawed . Th...more
Disappointing... I really enjoyed "Half-Blood Blues" so this was a bit of a letdown.
Leslie Reese
I often fuss about about there not being enough narratives featuring non-stereotypical black people; yet, when I encounter a story like this one, I feel ambivalent because I still want the characters to feel heroic and colorful. I want the characters to have righteous comebacks for pushy people. I want the characters to be good parents. I don't want their children to be weird and unlikable. Esi Edugyan has painted a story of subdued personalities in a world both earthy and ethereal. It is beauti...more
Aug 01, 2014 Alison marked it as to-read
I looked forward to reading this, as I had enjoyed Half Blood Blues by the same author.

It was a disappointment. While the description and figurative language was compelling in parts, on the whole it was inconsistent. Sometimes it was insightful, but at other times it seemed over done. It was very emotionally dark and the storyline bordered on the absurd. I would not have finished it had it not been on my book club list. I will not recommend it.
I came close to quitting on this book. I just kept going because I didn't have another book handy. In the end I realized that it wasn't just okay, I actually didn't like it. The characters had no depth at all. They had so little dimension that when bad things happened, I felt no sympathy at all. Clearly not worth the time spent.
The writing is compelling, unusual, complex, and carried me along with the desperately unhappy characters, for whom life never gets better. And then it ends. Half-Blood Blues is also relentless in some ways, but it has some glimpses of humour and love of life. This earlier novel is a first novel, though an extremely accomplished one.
Shannon Bradley
This is a book that has a slow moving story, but it keeps you interested from beginning to end. You get a chance to bond with each character and care about what happens to them. Except the twins. They are an enigma, as they are meant to be. My only complaint is not knowing which of the twins we are with at the end of the book.
Cheryl Swanson
I am struggling to get through this book. The characters are flawed and illicit very little compassion from me. I wonder if the struggles they experience in small town Alberta are a true reflection of the times or the authors interpretation.

This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jean Oram
The problem I had was the twin girls. They had their own language and were untrustworthy psychos. I was intrigued by what was going to happen...but alas, I was unable to finish the story. :(
The story of a Caribbean immigrant to Canada and his family who gradually lose their way as the adolescent confusion of Samuel's twin daughters turns inward toward destruction.
So very disappointing. I loved Half Blood Blues, and was expecting this to be equally fantastic. It never really went anywhere; it just limped along to its lackluster conclusion.
I didn't finish this, if I'm honest; I read half and then flicked through to the end. There was nothing really wrong with it - it just simply wasn't my thing.
Tina Siegel
Skip it. The characters are completely hideous and there's no reason to care about what happens to them. Forget this and read Half-blood Blues.
Mish Middelmann
Tough going, deep insights into growing up black in Canada. Slower and heavier than Half Blood Blues
het leven van immigranten in canada .... mooi en oerdegelijk verhaal over hoop !
The language was really beautifully crafted but the story so dark, morose and scary.
Gerianne Hannibal
much ado about nothing....
Not so good - don't bother
Sheila Eagen
Sheila Eagen marked it as to-read
Oct 18, 2014
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Esi Edugyan has a Masters in Writing from Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars. Her work has appeared in several anthologies, including Best New American Voices 2003, ed. Joyce Carol Oates, and Revival: An Anthology of Black Canadian Writing (2006).

Her debut novel, The Second Life of Samuel Tyne, was published internationally. It was nominated for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, was a More Book Lust se...more
More about Esi Edugyan...
Half Blood Blues Dreaming of Elsewhere: Observations on Home

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