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Three Junes

3.56  ·  Rating Details  ·  35,298 Ratings  ·  2,096 Reviews
A luminous first novel, set in Greece, Scotland, Greenwich Village, and Long Island, that traces the members of a Scottish family as they confront the joys and longings, fulfillments and betrayals of love in all its guises.

In June of 1989 Paul McLeod, a newspaper publisher and recent widower, travels to Greece, where he falls for a young American artist and reflects on the
Paperback, 368 pages
Published April 22nd 2003 by Anchor (first published September 5th 2002)
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Sep 01, 2007 Daniel rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: women who like to be depressed
Shelves: fiction
At times irony seems to have many levels; recently I saw the musical Altar Boyz and could not for the life of me figure out how multi-layered the irony was (a group of young guys poking fun at boy-band evangelization simultaneously evangelizing in a Godspell way). Dare I hope for irony in the NYT Book Review on the back cover of Three Junes? "TJ brilliantly rescues, then refurbishes, the traditional plot-driven novel..." By "plot" don't we usually mean "stuff happens in a somewhat connected way? ...more
Jun 20, 2015 Vicki rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
There are a lot of beautiful things about this book, but to be honest, it gets weighed down by the whiny primary character, Fenno, who has the longest section all to himself. He's angry, and we have no idea why. Very angry, and very self-righteous, and we have absolutely no idea. Yes, he's gay. One parent is okay with it, one parent isn't really, but doesn't get in Fenno's face about it. Fenno has exiled himself to NYC, and amidst countless witty observations about the differences between boiste ...more
Aug 18, 2007 Kate rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: human beings
I'm tempted to give this book five stars, but it isn't my nature to gush and I think, based on her characterizations, that Julia Glass would understand my reticence to love without any reservations. But _Three Junes_ captured me and I hereby recommend it to you. When I finished this novel, a long journey of imaginary characters across hundreds of pages, I felt at once connected to the world and affirmed in my humanity. Life is imperfect and we love anyway. As best we can.
Nov 07, 2007 Trish rated it it was amazing
This book is not at ALL, what I expected. From the cover I was expecting another typical book club, chick-light book about three women named June...little did I know. I loved this book because it was complex and seemed very "real" life. Nothing was nice and tidy and that's my kind of world.
Sep 11, 2013 Sharyl rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Three Junes, by Julia Glass, has been hanging around on my bookshelves for quite some time. Yes, that's shelves, plural, since it's been around for at least two rearrangements. Glass won the 2002 National Book Award for this novel, and surprise-surprise, I loved it. The Junes in the title refer to three different months, different times in the life of the McCleod family, but it's not exactly chronological--there are many flashbacks woven throughout the book, which is perfectly paced. The father ...more
May 27, 2008 Michelle rated it really liked it
Recommended to Michelle by: Martha
Although different from my expectations, I enjoyed this book a lot for its character explorations, unique structure, and descriptive writing. Broken into three parts, the first section is a third-person narrative from the perspective of the Scottish father, reflecting on his wife's death and his three sons. The second part is first-person narrative in the voice of the oldest son Fenno. This section is surprising in so far as Fenno can be overly rigid, often unexplainably angry, and you desperate ...more
Julia Glass' debut novel is an intricately written multigenerational story about a Scottish family and their friends. It is a triptych with the sections set in the month of June in the years 1989, 1995, and 1999.

The father, Paul McLeod, is on a tour of Greece in 1989. He's remembering his marriage to his recently deceased wife whose passion was raising dogs. Paul becomes friends with an American artist, Fern, during the vacation.

Paul's son, Fenno, narrates the second and longest part of the nove
Neil Litt
This is an odd book. The first and third of the three sections are anchored by a woman named Fern who is a catalyst for critical transitions for different members of a Scottish family who she meets many years apart, in Greece (the early section) and the Hamptons (in the later section). She has no awareness that the people she is meeting are related to each other.

The family themselves are the subject of the long middle section, which is a first-person account by the gay (favorite) son of the man
Nov 18, 2011 Lena rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
This novel begins in June of 1989. Scotsman Paul McLeod is vacationing in Greece, his first trip since the death of his wife six months earlier. While traveling the islands, his attention is drawn to a young American artist. As his interest in her grows, he reflects back over the course of his marriage - its beginnings, its never-resolved uncertainties, and its untimely ending.

Six years later, June of 1995 finds Paul's son Fenno returning to Scotland from his expat life in New York for his fathe
Michelle (Michelle's Book Ends) Shealy
I'm so glad I'm done! The book was split into 3 parts, with a single character related in some way to the other characters in the other 2 parts. In the first part of the book, it was slow to get going. Then it reached an even kind of level.. Part 2 was probably the best part of the book with the obvious relationship to part 1. Part 3 was boring and probably not the character you're going to expect. I thought it would never end. I know anyone who reads this is going to expect in part 3 that it wi ...more
Sep 26, 2015 Kalen rated it really liked it
Recommended to Kalen by: Lisa
So much fun to discover a book and author you'd never heard of. I won this book at our Booktopia Yankee Swap and it was completely new to me. Started reading on the plane ride home and had a hard time putting it down the rest of the week.

Each of the three sections of this novel could stand alone as its own novella (in fact, the first part was original published this way.) I love linked stories where characters have connections that they never know about but the reader does.

Fenno is a fantastic
Jul 26, 2012 Stacy rated it liked it
I liked Paul very much, but wasn’t really drawn into his story. There wasn’t enough going on for me. I loved the middle section told from Fenno’s perspective. He wasn’t the most likeable character ever, but I thought the storyline was great. The third section completely lost me. I didn’t get it. Fern was not nearly compelling enough for her own section. I know it brought everything full circle, but it wasn’t enough for me.

The book was a mixed bag. I liked the writing and the family drama. I like
Jul 10, 2015 Dawn rated it it was ok
Shelves: own
Three Junes is a novel following, for the most part, a Scottish gay man in New York. He is rather personality-less, with a penchant for being on his own. Most of his aloneness hinges on his fears of relying on someone else and the current AIDS scares (this is set in the late 1980s). The book is separated into three parts, starting out from the point of view of his father. It goes back and forth between different times with his wife and children, and the "present" time after his wife's death on a ...more
David Lentz
Jun 20, 2011 David Lentz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The equation of a true artist, per Glass, is as a "proud pilot of an improvised life." (Page 277) Glass can really write: that is, her style is elegantly crafted and a joy to read. She reminds me a bit of Michael Cunningham with her rich syntax and sonorus, articulate style as well as her themes and the descriptions of characters and places. I picked up this novel because it won a National Book Award and my wife adored it. I like the way that Glass moves effortlessly among disparate settings to ...more
Barbara Klaser
Jun 04, 2012 Barbara Klaser rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
This is one of those stories that I suspect will stay with me, but this time it's partly because of so many unanswered questions and in a sense longings I had for the characters that never quite panned out. But perhaps that's the point. Three Junes is told from three different points of view in different time periods - with lots of flashbacks from the characters' memories. The three point-of-view characters are an older, recently-widowed man, Paul McLeod, his oldest son Fenno, who is gay, and a ...more
Dec 29, 2008 Floramanda rated it really liked it
Shelves: bookclub
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 27, 2011 Sally rated it it was amazing

Interlocking stories that weave back and forth through time, across the Atlantic up to Scotland and down to the Adriatic and over to Manhattan. Spans the course of the life of a mother, her husband, their three sons, those sons' marriages and children, plus many other not-so-minor players.

Beautiful language, scenery, dialogue, character development.
Best of 2011, or at least the last, freshest, and most vivid in my memory.
READ this.
Cara Lee
Jul 17, 2011 Cara Lee rated it really liked it
Julia Glass is a superb writer, and my mind sank into her luxurious words the way my body might sink into a thick quilt or warm beach sand. I enjoy stories in which characters' lives interconnect in ways that the characters themselves can't see, and stories that show us how often we think we know someone well when we really don't. I was particularly drawn to the main story of Fenno, the intellectual, emotionally disconnected, ever-yearning gay man who takes us deep into a life that smashes stere ...more
Emma Spadoni
Jun 07, 2011 Emma Spadoni rated it it was ok
Julia Glass wrote the book Three Junes for mature adults, to show complications in life. This book was written in third and first person, alternating characters in a series of three books. The protagonist in the first book, titled Collies and takes place in 1989 in Greece and Scotland, is Paul McLeod but there is no true antagonist. The protagonist in the second book, titled Upright and takes place in 1995 in America and Scotland, is Paul’s son, Fenno. The antagonist would be the disease AIDS. T ...more
Jan 10, 2008 megan rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-club
I really enjoyed this book--it was both an easy read but also full of substance that resonated well with me. I think it was especially interseting reading this book in the context that I read Julia Glass' second book The Whole World Over beforehand and also really enjoyed it--but some of the characters make cross over appearances.

One of the most enchanting aspects of the book was what the author did not write. She never really delves into long diatribes of "who loves who, who has scorned who, a
Mar 12, 2009 Katie rated it liked it
I picked this book up at the library because I thought I recognized the title. It turned out to be pretty different from what I thought it was going to be, but a very interesting read about the ways love plays out among family and friends. It honestly portrays love as very complicated, making clear that those we love are often people we may not like at certain times. Also interesting and unusual for me to read, was one of the main story lines followed the life of a homosexual man. I'm not sure w ...more
Jun 05, 2007 Emily rated it really liked it
Sometimes extraordinary books are about extraordinary things, and sometimes they are about regular people. This is an extraordinary book about one Scottish family, a normal family, if, of course, there is actually any such thing as normal, and assuming normal includes a little bit of human mystery and tragedy.
Three Junes starts with the death of the mother of the family, and explores the stories of her husband, her three sons, (two married in Britain, one in New York during the AIDs crisis of t
Debbie Robson
Jan 23, 2015 Debbie Robson rated it it was amazing
I could not put this book down! There I’ve said it and its been a while since I have. I even missed doing my own writing but the time reading this book wasn’t wasted. In fact this last week I’ve been taking lessons on characterisation from Julia Glass.
I can’t remember the last time I read about characters so vividly portrayed. I think that is the main reason I just couldn’t stop reading Three Junes. And I must add, the unusual construction kept me intrigued.
Three Junes is in three parts. The m
Mar 12, 2009 Wendy added it
one of the very few books i picked up and put down never to read. maybe i will give it another try but it was so slow at the beginning i always fell asleep.
Dec 28, 2014 Carol rated it did not like it
Shelves: book-club
I found it full of superfluous ramblings that had nothing to do with the story and caused my mind to stray so that when it came back to some relevant point, my mind was no longer engaged. It was so frustrating to keep having to go back to figure out what mattered and what didn't matter.

The author is a good writer but not a great writer. Every time the story would get even remotely interesting, the author would stop in her tracks and switch to a different time or character. This choppy writing s
Dec 26, 2011 Bowerbird rated it liked it
In a way this is three interconnected books in one. Each "June" story revolves in some way round a death in the family. Because Julia Glass uses a different person's viewpoint to develop each section, one is given more understanding of the various characters. But it is Fenno, the one portrayed as the outsider who is central to the book.
The story begins with Paul the father, who first features as the main character. In June 1989 the family in Scotland copes with the death of the mother figure. As
Jul 01, 2014 Bonnie rated it really liked it
Three Junes takes place during three summers in the lives of a Scottish family starting is June of 1989. Paul McLeod, the recently widowed patriarch, travels to Greece with a tour group and meets Fern, a young American artist. He thinks back on his marriage and the realization that his wife cared more for the Collies she bred than her family. She had an affair with a neighboring man who also bred dogs and he finds the letters they wrote of their love.

Six years later, Paul's death reunites his s
Glass, Julia. THREE JUNES. (2002). ***.
This trilogy of novellas that make up this long book won the National Book Award for fiction in 2002. In my opinion, it must have been a slow year in the fiction department. The three tales ultimately interweave, but getting there for the reader is not an easy task. The stories deal with love in all its varied aspects: love between husband and wife, between loveers – both gay and straight, between people and animals. Each of the episodes take place during
Oct 21, 2009 Lori rated it really liked it
Julia Glass has written a luminous novel about family ties those we are born with and those we acquire through life. The novel is divided into three sections that each include the McLeod family memebers. In the first and most interesting section we meet Paul McLeod who is recovering from his wife Maureen's death on a trip to Greece in June . Paul's reminiscence of Maureen is poignant as he describes their meeting and early years of marriage together. The reader is treated to beautifully written ...more
Sep 15, 2009 Rachel rated it really liked it
Shelves: epic
This book took me a while to get into, and it never became a page turner. My mom and I talk about books quite a bit, and on more than one occasion, she asked if I was still reading this and whether I liked it. I kept saying, "I'm not sure yet." And not because it was badly written, or boring, or even just 'not my cup of tea,' but because I kept wondering where it was going and whether it was going to get there. Don't get me wrong; a lot happens, but so much of the book is told in flashbacks that ...more
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Julia Glass is the author of Three Junes , which won the 2002 National Book Award for Fiction, and The Whole World Over . She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Her short fiction has won several prizes, including the Tobias Wolff Award and the Pirate's Alley Faulkner Society Meda ...more
More about Julia Glass...

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“When it comes to life, we spin our own yarn, and where we end up is really, in fact, where we always intended to be.” 1667 likes
“Mind who you love. For that matter, mind how you are loved.” 40 likes
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