Now Is the Hour
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Now Is the Hour

4.08 of 5 stars 4.08  ·  rating details  ·  677 ratings  ·  94 reviews
The year is 1967, and Rigby John Klusener, seventeen years old and finally leaving his home and family in Pocatello, Idaho, is on the highway with his thumb out and a flower behind his ear, headed for San Francisco. Now Is the Hour is the wondrous story of how Rigby John got to this point. It traces his gradual emancipation from the repressions of a strictly religious farm...more
Hardcover, 480 pages
Published May 15th 2006 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published 2006)
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Aug 10, 2011 Nicole rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those drawn to character-based stories. Plot, schmot.
Original review August 31, 2009:

I'm not going to lie, this book took a solid 100 pages to really get into. But once I was in, I was IN. All the way. I cried to have to turn the last page. It's like a cross between Steinbeck and Kerouac with some SE Hinton thrown in for good measure, a YA version of _East of Eden_.

The setting (rural Idaho in the late 1960s) seemed pitch-perfect, the character was believable and engaging (once we got over our initial hump), and the emotional development was well d...more

Esta novela es una oda a la huida. Al hecho de perderse lejos de donde uno puede ser fácilmente encontrado. Un absoluto festival literario en el que el chico que huye nos cuenta en primera persona todo aquello que lo está empujando hacia direcciones desconocidas. Empujones violentos procedentes de brazos fornidos, corazones rotos y plegarias desatendidas. Un combo de aciertos y fracasos que lanzarían a cualquiera lejos de la palabra hogar.

Spanbauer vuelve a hacerlo. Muchos años después de aquel...more
Carie L
this is my first spanbauer book. i read a review about it somewhere, maybe the new york times, so i put it on my to-read list a few months ago. i finally got to it about a week ago.

it's hard to put down after "Bless us, O fucking Lord, and these Thy fucking gifts", which happens pretty early on.

even though it's over 500 pages, it's very easy to read due to the dumbed-down vocabulary and lack of punctuation. it got a little holden caufieldy and it does ramble on at times. but it's very honest and...more
Raül De Tena
Hace no mucho, en cierta conversación, confesaba que sí, que la mayor parte de productos culturales que me han producido un inefable vacío en el estómago tienen la peculiaridad de estar protagonizados por homosexuales. Al fin y al cabo, no podemos dejar las emociones en la mesita de noche cuando nos enfrentamos a determinadas historias... Esto es lo que me ha ocurrido precisamente con el libro de Tom Spanbauer. Pero, ¡ojo!, que un libro te toque de forma tan directa no significa que anule tu cap...more
The way Spanbauer writes is almost lyrical, beautiful. His story immediately drew me in from "Parmesan cheese" to the end (he started with Parmesan cheese, what can I say?). It was kind of the classic coming of age, questioning everything type of story, but the unique writing style and narrator's honesty made me glide along with anticipation. I'm not great with the reviews, but I will say that I felt this calm after I finished reading Now Is the Hour and I wanted to meet Rigby John (the main cha...more
May 24, 2008 Jen rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone, with the caveat that something might suck about it
I remember I kept complaining about this book while I was reading it but now I don't remember what the problem was. Something about the prose being... cheesy? Repetitive? Predictable? What was it? But now I only have good memories of the book: it totally swept me up and I wanted to read it all the time. That is what I want in a novel. Also, it was hella gay, which is always a plus. I think it probably made me cry.
At first, this book was slow going for me, hard to get into. I almost didn't make it past the first 50 pages--it may have been my mood at the time--but I hung in there because of Nicole's soaring review. Then, at some point, maybe after I accepted what I felt was an annoying structural device of slipping back and forth through time (it kind of kills the mystery for me, when I know something about the character from the beginning, as he looks back on the past and retells his story--I'd much rathe...more
Katie M.
4 stars for the writing. I deeply love Spanbauer's writing, sort of in spite of myself. This time around the prose doesn't quite have the same freshness that it did in The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon: A Novel, but he uses this repetitive phrase technique - coming back to certain lines, or images, or words, over and over throughout the novel - that completely worked for me. It's a different kind of story than The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon, but all the big, beautiful, larger-than-l...more
I. freaking. LOVED. this. book. Loved it like.... two lips against two lips, soft with a kind of suck, tobacco, and the taste of pink.

I loved Spanbauer's writing style, the strong voice he gave to Rigby John Klusener,Grandma Queep, the rural small-town America setting, the color of Billie Cody's nail polish (Midnight in Helsinki),the parmesan cheese, Georgy Girl and red neckties around bald heads, the four slices of roast beef served with Heinz 57 ketchup and mashed potatoes in the green bowl a...more
I love Tom Spanbauer. I love his writing, the poetry of his voice, the pace and unfolding of his craft. I read this book slowly because I knew from the first pages that I'd be tempted to speed through it only to find myself saddened by its completion. But today, finally, after months of withholding and rationing, I closed the book, took a deep breath and let it sink in. This is a book that is close to my heart. It's a story of self-discovery in Pocatello, Idaho, my hometown. Much of it takes pla...more
This is one incredible novel. The images and experiences are so vividly rendered, I have trouble sleeping after reading even a chapter. I was blessed to take a three-day intensive workshop with Tom Spanbauer and I suspect some of this insomnia is due to his prose evoking the emotional intensity of that long weekend. Tom's calls the writing training he offers "Dangerous Writing" and he risks a high level of vulnerablity in his work which is what makes reading his prose such an amazing experience....more
I think I need to stop reading coming of age stories. The main characters are too melodramatic for my taste.

I read Now is the Hour for the first time my freshman year of college. I remember devouring this book and singing its praises. With my second read through, I found the book a bit tougher to get through and found myself skimming full sections. It's not that it's a bad book, really, it's just not an amazing book either. Spanbauer likes to repeat phrases a lot, especially the line "I love God...more
Karen Hansen
I picked up Tom Spanbauer’s “Now is The Hour” at a Goodreads bookswap in Hollywood. The back cover looked promising and it had praise from other authors that I respect. This book fell flat and was well below my expectations.

I felt more than anything, that the story needed drastic editing. It could have conveyed the same point with about a hundred less pages. Spanbauer uses repetition, with phrases and ideas, as a stylistic choice. It drove me nuts. I bogged down the pace.

It’s a coming of age s...more
I'm drawn to Tom Spanbauer for many reasons. He favors coming of age stories, wrought with questions of gender and/or sexual identity, religion, and race in small Idaho towns, usually seasoned liberally with music, nature, cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs (Now Is the Hour employs the coming-of-age-and-out-of-the-Pocatello,ID-Catholic-farm-closet storyline, with racism directed mostly towards the Native Americans on the adjacent reservation, and sprinkled abundantly with early Vietnam-era radio son...more
This is an excellent book. Even despite its contrivance and happy ending (which has grown on me these past few days). I'm starting to worry a bit that I relate less to the nihilism that seems to define my generation and more to the nostalgia and sentiment that defines the previous one. It makes me feel old-fashioned and unhip. Perhaps it's just that it's winter and I'm introspective.

ANYWAY, this book is filled with vivid, fully-realized characters, genuinely funny moments (I laughed out loud a...more
First off, The Man Who Fell in Love With the Moon is one of my great loves. In the City of Shy Hunters: i wept and wept. I tried to come up with $2500 tuition when i heard that Tom Spanbauer was going to teach at Esalen. But this book -- Now is the Hour? Sigh. I do think that Mr. Spanbauer may be incapable of writing a bad sentence. But a bunch of good sentences don't always clasp hands and become a great book. I couldn't get over the feeling that i was reading about his not-super-stand-outtish...more
Jul 14, 2008 Núria rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Núria by: Raül
Si hay algo que no perdono nunca a un libro es que me dé la sensación de que estoy perdiendo el tiempo. No soporto estar leyendo un libro y estar todo el rato pensando que podría estar leyendo otra cosa, algo que me llenara más, o si me apuráis algo que me diciera algo. Creo que su principal problema es que es demasiado largo y acaba siendo repetitivo. Hay páginas y páginas describiendo minuciosamente escenas y más escenas indestriables las unas de las otras que no aportan nada: ni hacen que la...more
I am not sure why but this is my third coming out novel in a row. It must be a year for literary novels about the trials and traumas of being gay in contemporary America. The coming out story is quite muted in this novel and instead this novel is positioned more as a coming of age novel. For much of the book the main character has a girlfriend and both are quite puzzled by the lack of sexual experimentation.

More striking is the fact that all three of the novel I have read lately have featured di...more
I am always impressed with how frank Tom Spanbauer is in his writing. He doesn't cut the corners when it comes to all the things those rigid Victorians pretended didn't exist about the human body--bowel movements, burps, sex and sweat. I find it really refreshing how wiling he is to build in all these human things into his books. (If you don't like reading about those things, then don't read this book.)

Spanbaeur created some key phrases that were repeated in the story, like a chorus for a song....more
I read a lot of mixed reviews about this book. It took me a little while to get into, it got a little repetitive and long winded at times. But then suddenly it opened up and I was flying through it! I feel like the last 100 pages were a huuuuuge drawn out build up to a long-awaited climax, and it was worth the wait! I really enjoyed the ending, too. It wasn't what I'd expected and I like where Spanbauer went with it. I'd like to read more of his books for sure.

While I really liked this book, I p...more
I read this book on and off over several months. This book is hard for me to talk about because in the middle of reading this book I had to go to Oregon for the funeral of a college friend whom I hadn't seen in years, but whom I still have friends in common, we had once dated and later became friends, but had drifted apart. I was struck that she had been reading this book too at the time of her death.

This book also is hard for me to talk about because it has to do with a difficult gay love stor...more
Jul 25, 2008 Nathanial rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Nathanial by: cousin seedpony boy
Shelves: fiction
half-star each for setting, dialog, character, narrative framing, and multiple-plots; full star for the homo hotness--but no stars for things that shoulda come out in the final edit, like having two of the main characters seriously discuss the MLK and RFK assassinations when the story was set in '67, and when the narrator steps out of the framework of "here i am on the night i run away from home, telling you my life story up to this point" and says some revelation like "but i wouldn't realize th...more
Rigby John Klusener is a boy growing up in smalltown Idaho during the late 60s who just can't seem to catch a break. His mother is a religious zealot, his father is a tyrannical bigot, his drug-dealing female best friend is pregnant out-of-wedlock, and the only person he truly connects with is a gay, recovering alcoholic, who also happens to be an Indian (or Native American, rather) 18 years his senior. Is it any wonder he's running away from home when we first meet him?

The author's writing styl...more
Will come back and add my thoughts (more? concise? idk) when I've untangled my feels.

Probably the reason I could never finish reading this book, many abortive tries, was because I was certain the narrator was in for some really convoluted bad shit. And really, he was. But. There's a HFN ending that ties EVERYTHING up. Beautifully. And that, when everything else in the book was going up smoke, really allowed me to push through to the end.

Amazing, important book about growing up gay in a small tow...more
Neil Mudde
A wonderful book about growing up in Pocatella Idaho, recalling Judy Garland's song about "I was born in a trunk at the Princess Theatre in Pocatella Idaho" off course the book has little to do with the song it is about a youth growing up there, living on a farm, Tom introduces us to many interesting characters in the book, once I started reading it I had difficulty putting it down, it is funny, sad but above all the author has a great understanding of life and human beings in his life, it is a...more
Ayeen Karunungan
"So many moments I've stood close to the fire. But I always stepped back. Dared not step beyond the safety of the fulcrum point. George says you have to wait, to trust for the moment spirit touches you. What I've just figured out is that if you're not there, ready for the spirit, ready to take the plunge, to jump, to fly, you're shit out of luck. You have to step up too, and not just up to, you have to take the step that's just beyond. Maybe the spirit will greet you, maybe not. In any case, you...more
This was a challenging one for me. Spanbauer's The Man Who Fell In Love With The Moon is absolutely luminous - a truly exquisite union of story and prose. I found Now In The Hour to be a bit top-heavy: beautiful prose telling a largely unremarkable story. The ending draws things to a satisfying conclusion, but the things being concluded are not - up to the last 100 or so pages - very compelling. All in all a likeable novel, but not the transcendent ride you're used to with Tom Spanbauer.
Shannon Ferguson
I liked this book more than I expected, but I can't imagine that I'd actually recommend it to anyone. It was a fun read to get lost in, with a lot of touching adolescent moments and interesting characters. But our narrator was incredibly repetitive and hyperbolic, so I kept stumbling over the prose itself. Similarly, the inconsistencies in the characters' personalities were a bit of a distraction. All told, it was a good read, but not an amazing one.
not my favorite, but i'm a sucker for wonderful gay sex and love. god, this book made me want to go out and rent every cheesy gay love story. it has a lot of the typical Spanbauer hooks - repetition, coming of age, sexual identity, "mystical and magical Native people" (god, can he get over it by now or what), and dysfunctional families. Not a whole lot thats new here and not as beautifully rendered as City of Shy hunters. c'est la vie.
Jan 28, 2008 Michael rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Sylas, Jerry, Lindsey, Chelsea, Malynda
This is one of the best books I've read in a while, and if you get the chance ever, go hear Tom Spanbauer read. He has the most amazing reading voice.

The book's prose is lyrical, and Spanbauer makes excellent use of repetition stylistically. Now is the Hour is the story of a kid growing up in rural Idaho and discovering that he's queer — a queered up coming of age story that I found pretty compelling. Amazing narration!
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The Backlot Gay B...: Now is the Hour by Tom Spanbauer 5 25 Oct 27, 2013 01:13AM  
  • Comfort and Joy
  • Edinburgh
  • While England Sleeps
  • Letters to Montgomery Clift (Working Classics)
  • The Married Man
  • Clay's Way
  • A Son Called Gabriel
  • The Phoenix
  • The Coming Storm
  • The Notorious Dr. August: His Real Life and Crimes
  • Skin Lane
  • The First Verse
  • The Dreyfus Affair: A Love Story
  • Plays Well with Others
  • Leave Myself Behind
  • Probation
  • When You Don't See Me
  • Clicking Beat on the Brink of Nada
Tom Spanbauer is a novelist and the founder of Dangerous Writing. As a writer he has explored issues of race, of sexual identity, of how we make a family for ourselves in order to surmount the limitations of the families into which we are born.

His published novels are Faraway Places, The Man Who Fell In Love With The Moon, In The City Of Shy Hunters, Now Is the Hour, and coming out April 1st 2014...more
More about Tom Spanbauer...
The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon In the City of Shy Hunters Faraway Places I Loved You More Faraway Places (Hawthorne Rediscovery)

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“Her heartbeat was in her hands, her heart beat the way she moved her head, her whole body was her heart beating.” 12 likes
“The universe has always conspired to fuck me up.” 9 likes
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