Howard is an engineer who dreams of irrigating theSahara and lives by the motto "Laments move " His wife Julia is a fiery spirit who must balance her husband's oddly peripatetic nature with unexpected aspirations of her own. And Will is the"waif with a pap ...more
The story begins in 1954 and spans two decades, giving nostalgic clues to the date of the action in references to pop songs, US presidents, and the age of the Lament twins. It extensively exami ...more
It has some story flaws, to be sure, and the chapters are short and jump around quite a bit, but if you don't mind that (I don't) and you are interested in a story about people who can never quite belong where they choose to be, it's a decent read. The exploration of what you take with you whe ...more
The Laments are a dysfunctional but completely likable family from Rhodesia that find themselves living in Africa, England and America as they struggle with small issues such as identity, race, prejudices and tragedies. How they fall apart and put themselves together again is the core of this tome.
I am still wrapping my head around this book. There was nothing about it that grabbed me so strong I couldn't put the book down. But, at the same time I continued to pick it up and re ...more
The book is very different in its plot and unusual in ...more
It may be that Hagen's subjects evoke more sympathy for their disasters since the source of their troubles is typically not a personal defect or weakness, but the collusion of external racism, greed, callous speculation, or misinformation. Watch for one character in particular to shed naivete late in the book ...more
It's a quirky book about a nomadic family, odd characters story sad but uplifting. Written with a touch of humour and pathos combined. It's been a couple of years since I read it. Don't remember much about the plot.
I tried his book, Tom Bedlam I think its called and couldn't get in it. Stopped reading it after 50 pages.
Personally, I only began to like it when the family moved to their last house in America. The storyline seemed to settle down a bit and you began to care a bit more for the characters.
Like John Irving and Anne Tyler's novels, wacky characters navigate (or merely hang on) Hagen's grand roller coaster of life. Certainly, the Laments experience the hilarious and the horrendous, from a kidnapping to a dismemberment, but life's not as hopeless