Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “State of the Union” as Want to Read:
State of the Union
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

State of the Union

3.76  ·  Rating Details ·  1,952 Ratings  ·  171 Reviews
Hannah Buchan thinks herself ordinary. She is not the revolutionary child that her painter mother and famous radical father had hoped for. Raised in the creative chaos of 1960s America, Hannah vows to reject her parents' liberal lifestyle, and settles instead for typical family life in a nondescript corner of Maine.

But normality isn't quite what Hannah imagined it would to
Paperback, 629 pages
Published June 1st 2006 by Arrow (first published January 1st 1999)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about State of the Union, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about State of the Union

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jun 22, 2013 Tania rated it liked it
But what's wrong with doubt? How can anyone hold a black-and-white view of things when, in the end, most human interaction is so profoundly grey? Those closest to us do things that are baffling. We, in turn, do things we don't totally comprehend. Because we never really understand others, let alone ourselves.

3.5 stars. This was my first Douglas Kennedy and I really enjoyed it. Although I found the plot entertaining and interesting, what hooked me was his insightful descriptions of the complex na
Nicandnaomi Hood
Aug 28, 2007 Nicandnaomi Hood rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who enjoys reading about complex relationships & human behaviours.
I loved this book!
Kennedy writes with such a smooth style after around the first 50 pages when the story is set in my head I found this impossible to put down.
His writing as a woman in the first person is masterfully done.
An artist of his time.
Dec 05, 2010 Liz rated it liked it
Although not as compelling as some of his other novels, State of the Union is nonetheless a good airplane read. The easy writing style makes it a breeze to tune out the high pitched whine of the safety instructions and to ignore your neighbour's plump elbow embedded between your fourth and fifth ribs.

The plot falls neatly into two divisions. The first comprises Hannah, the main character's university years and her decision not to take a gap year in Paris, but, instead, to stay at home to safegua
Oct 20, 2009 KarenV rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009
I was a bit torn between giving this 3 or 4 stars. I really wanted to give it 3.5 and, as I really enjoyed the second half of the book, I generously upped it to 4.

The first half of this book is set in the late Sixties, early Seventies and the second half is set in the early part of this century. I have to admit, I found the first half a little slow going and I wasn't really that bothered about the characters. As soon as the story changed to the early 2000s, I started enjoying it a lot more and f
Jun 08, 2011 Isidora rated it really liked it
Shelves: svenska
Ingen tantromantik här trots den hemska svenska titeln pekar åt det hållet. Mycket medryckande och insiktsfullt i stället, och Douglas Kennedy är väldigt bra på att beskriva hur kvinnor tänker och känner.
May 30, 2014 Budur rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
All the men in this novel are assholes..
I cried a lot..
Truly amazing and realistic one.
Maria João Fernandes
"A vida não é apenas aleatoriamente cruel. É também absurda."

É incrivelmente curioso como este título não faz justiça ao seu conteúdo. Normalmente, um título enganoso pinta de tons mais vistosos uma história um pouco cinzenta. Porém, eis que me deparo com um título que faz parecer pequena, uma história grande. "O Charme Discreto da Vida Conjugal" não se foca numa relação entre duas pessoas casadas, foca-se em várias relações, de diferentes naturezas: entre marido e mulher, pais e filhos, amigos
Jul 09, 2011 Mandy rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2011
This book kept me company on a night I couldn't sleep. It's a brick of a book, and could do with cutting (I don't need to know every thought that passes through Hannah's mind, really, I don't) and lightening up - it's all so serious, a life with no fun in it ever. But is it quite a complelling read. Luckily large chunks of introspection can quite safely be skipped, so I didn't actually read all this book, I speed read large parts until I came across something happening again.

This book is about
Gary Thomas
Oct 22, 2016 Gary Thomas rated it it was amazing
Douglas Kennedy never disappoints. This wasn't my favorite of his novels; in fact, if you want to get to know his work, I'd start with just about any other. But the pages always turn fast, the characters are consistently strong, and he's the perfect mix between literary and commercial fiction, leaning toward literary (which I like). It says something significant when I still give my least favorite novel of his five stars.

One big disappointment: it gets so tiring to read portrayals of conservativ
May 16, 2009 Swissmiss rated it really liked it
Finally! After all that c*** I've been reading, a book I really enjoyed. Although once again, the cover blurb is highly misleading: it makes it sound like the entire book revolves around one particular incident and that it also has something to do with the terror attacks on 9/11. Well, it doesn't. But that's fine by me, because the actual point of the book is much more interesting, I think. It's about a woman who struggles with the legacies of her parents, both personally and professionally, and ...more
Dec 03, 2009 Drew rated it really liked it
I have some ambivalence about this book. I was very engaged in the the set-up: conservative, conventional daughter of liberal, hippy parents who marries a family doc and settles down in small town America. And I loved that part of the story. I enjoyed seeing political idealogies emerge through and I loved the young Tobey character.

This book also got me thinking about my own life, and just how cautious and future oriented I should be vs. living in the moment. This bumps it's score up big time. Al
Mar 15, 2009 Sissi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
J'ai bien aime, se lit facilement, on s'accroche a l'histoire et aux personnages, quelques gouttes de sarcasme sur la societe americaine ne sont pas sans me deplaire. Certains passages m'ont parle.
Je n'avais jamais rien lu de Douglas Kennedy, j'ai bien apprecie ce livre et vais en lire d'autres de cet auteur.
Aug 05, 2009 Elsa rated it really liked it
Un livre captivant qui suit le destin d'une femme de la Nouvelle-Angleterre, Hannah, partagée entre son goût pour un conformisme rassurant et des désirs de liberté. Des événements dramatiques l'amèneront à remettre en question sa vie bien rangée, et à faire face aux éléments ultra-conservateurs d'une Amérique encore traumatisée par les attentats du 11 septembre 2001.
Dec 12, 2011 Jill rated it it was amazing
Interesting insight into American politics in the '60s and '70s against the interplay of family and marital relationships. The main character is typical of the 'good' girl doing the right thing being led astray and how this comes back to haunt her 30 years on.
Douglas Kennedy again shows great insight into the feminine psyche.
Tracey Tester
Feb 14, 2009 Tracey Tester rated it really liked it
Once again the author writes extremely well from the perspective of the main character who is female. I didn't enjoy this quite as much as The Pursuit of Happiness or A Special Relationship - probably because it was slightly political in places. But a good read nevertheless.
Jul 05, 2008 Gabriela rated it it was amazing
It was an amazing book! I really enjoyed it and recommend it to everyone!!! So well written - kept me reading until 3am! Lovely! READ IT!
Julz Manu
May 21, 2009 Julz Manu rated it really liked it
Has been a really good read, douglas kennedy is a great writer, especially as the main characters are always women!
Sep 16, 2007 Megan rated it really liked it
Very good, like Kennedy's writing, despite the very cheesy covers which are very unrepresentative of his novels.
verity Shepley
Apr 27, 2007 verity Shepley rated it really liked it
Excellent read, wasn't expecting to enjoy it anything like as much as I did. Nik, you will love it. nearly voted it 5 stars.
Debi Lodge
Nov 08, 2015 Debi Lodge rated it did not like it
The heroine is a dreadful narcissist and I was unable to feel any sympathy for her. A great example of a male author being unable to write in the female first person.
Wendy Davie
Oct 28, 2008 Wendy Davie rated it really liked it
Another Goodie, I loved it.
Dec 02, 2009 nine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: translated
parfait comme cerise sur le gateau d'une premiere serie de 6 DK !
Nov 29, 2010 Veronique rated it really liked it
Seems great at first but turns out to be a huge dissapointment!
Sally Boots
Jul 07, 2008 Sally Boots rated it liked it
A good read, but at first I couldn't bear it because the main character was a heavy smoker; I felt like I was in the room with her and the only way to leave was to close the book.
Katarina Durisova
Great book!
Susanna Farré
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jackie Kiernan
Mar 10, 2017 Jackie Kiernan rated it it was amazing
This was the first Douglas Kennedy book I read after my friend introduced me to his books. I really enjoyed it and am looking forward to reading more of his work.
David Gill
Mar 22, 2017 David Gill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book, gripped me throughout.
Feb 21, 2017 Marisolea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Hannah es hija de un catedrático que lucha por los derechos civiles y de una artista que se codea con los grandes pintores de Nueva York. Pero, en lugar de aprovechar esa circunstancia, decide llevar una anodina vida de mujer casada con un médico rural, a pesar de haber hecho ella misma una carrera. Su marido, Dan, es un tipo poco expresivo, enamorado de su profesión, que la lleva a vivir a un pueblo de mala muerte cercano a la frontera de Canadá, donde habitan una casa pequeña junto con su hijo ...more
Aug 05, 2015 Dyana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In digging through my many boxes of books for something to read, I pulled out this one. Why didn't I read this book a long time ago? It was a compelling, hard-to-put-down book. It's written in 1st person by the character Hannah (Latham) Buchan and details her life and how an unfortunate impulsive act came back to haunt her and everyone she knows 30 years later.

This book is divided into 2 parts. The 1st half covers 1966 - 1973 and sets the background for the 2nd half. It's a time of marching in p
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Triple Ripple: A Fabulous Fairytale
  • The Day After Forever
  • The Madness of a Seduced Woman
  • Honour Thy Father
  • Les Larmes de Tarzan
  • The Bleeding Heart
  • End of the Alphabet
  • Land Girls
  • Melisande! What Are Dreams?
  • Avenue des Géants
  • Globalia
  • انجیل های من
  • On Green Dolphin Street
  • Before The Storm
  • Nécropolis
  • The Italics Are Mine
  • To the Is-land: An Autobiography (Autobiography, #1)
  • Lélia
Douglas Kennedy was born in Manhattan in 1955. He studied at Bowdoin College, Maine and Trinity College, Dublin, returning to Dublin in 1977 with just a trenchcoat, backpack and $300. He co-founded a theatre company and sold his first play, Shakespeare on Five Dollars a Day, to Radio 4 in 1980. In 1988 he moved to London and published a travel book, Beyond the Pyramids. His debut novel The Dead He ...more
More about Douglas Kennedy...

Share This Book

“biggest roadblocks you encounter in life are the ones you construct for yourself.” 0 likes
More quotes…