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Local Knowledge

3.2  ·  Rating Details ·  267 Ratings  ·  43 Reviews
From an exciting debut author-a novel about three people haunted by the mistakes of their past and their plunge into an uncertain future. Maddie Alden has always longed for more than her small town could offer. Now that it's being overrun by wealthy New Yorkers looking for a respite from the city, Maddie has gotten herself a lucrative new job in real estate. And her first ...more
ebook, 368 pages
Published January 6th 2009 by New American Library (first published January 6th 2008)
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(showing 1-30)
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Jan 12, 2009 Jessica rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2009
Thank goodness I'm finished. This book was Boring with a capital B. This book is my lesson as to why I do not pick-up impromptu books without first reading the reviews. I grabbed this at Borders because the title, cover, and overview intrigued me. What a waste of $14-. I could not relate to the characters whatsoever...I just didn't make any connections to them. The only positive thing I can say is that I did enjoy the last 50 pages, but they certainly did not make up for the first 300 which I ha ...more
Nov 22, 2009 Eric rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Local Knowledge begins with the observation "you stop seeing things after a while. . . Maybe especially those you love." The narrator of the story, Maddie, is a tremendously insightful human being about herself and others. Her husband observes "You don't miss a whole lot, do you" and yet, so understandably, she catches herself not recognizing things whether it is one of her young daughters getting sick or the powerful shifting of her own motives and priorities. Maddie reflects "most of the time ...more
Apr 13, 2009 Virginia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
I was drawn to this book because the protagonist is a Realtor who is married to a home builder, like I am. It covers several years with the main characters as young adults into the present time. Her characters are fully developed I really enjoyed the way she delved into the heads of her characters and their psychology. Maddie Alden's character goes from a young mother whose only job had been as a waitress until she meets a Real Estate Broker who offers her a job as an assistant. Maddie discovers ...more
Jan 01, 2009 Patricia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Real estate in small towns a stone's throw from the city is attractive to those looking for weekend houses. Maddie is a local realtor who depends on the weekenders for her bread and butter; her friend Luke resents them for destroying the land that made the location wonderful in the first place. How land is used is a deep subject which Gyllenhaal mines well. She is very familiar with the small town where the action takes place, and creates a convincing set of characters and situations. The way f ...more
Jan 10, 2017 Kath rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This felt like one of the longest books I've read, dragged on and on. At some point, I realized I should give it up but.... that tiny hope that maybe, just maybe it will pick up and get better, kept me handcuffed to the book. Wasted time!!
I was disappointed in the story, it was boring with far too many descriptions of countryside. The characters felt impersonal and I couldn't connect with any of them. As an added piss-off, the ending was ridiculous, it just ended with what felt like an unfinish
Jul 06, 2010 Renae rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was really excellent. I loved it. The characters were engaging and well developed, I felt myself relating to almost everyone in one way of another. The story started out sort of slow to develop but it eventually got very engaging and was a real page turner.

The end was really a twist I didn't see coming but I loved how it ended. It left me wanting to know more about what happened. Cliffhanger...

I couldn't recommend this book enough, if you read it you have to give it 80 or so pages bef
Oct 29, 2012 Kelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book for three main reasons. One, because at the time of reading I am working for a real estate attorney, and it was interesting to hear about the daily life of a budding realtor, and why she chooses the path she does. Two, because the way the story is told feels very real. The writing expertly balances exposition and action, and reads like an good friend explaining her life to you over coffee. It's entertaining, and realistic. Three, the ending does just what a story should do - ...more
The mental health aspects of this book kind of seem a little flimsy. Is Anne's condition really a thing? Do people really get away with claiming that they have a crazy mental problem that makes them bed inappropriate men and then apparently forget about them when they're medicated? That seems like a lot of bullshit. Anyway, the book was fine for what it was. A summer read, not a lot of thinking necessary. I doubt I'd recommend it to anyone, but enjoyed my time reading it.
Mar 06, 2010 Kathy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book. It was a quick read and an interesting character study. Paul was the one person that seemed to keep his head together while Anne is one of those people you should run from because she will suck you into her empty orbit. Unfortunately, Maddie didn't realize this until too late. There is a sad stereotype about how some people lose their brains as they get more money! They are the true leeches.
Feb 04, 2009 Jody rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
For myself, who spends many hours reading research papers and nonfiction these days, Liza's new book Local Knowledge was a good read. She writes well and did a lovely job developing her characters. It was a book I looked forward to reading. I often judge 21st Century fiction by the following standards, "Do I just want to see what happens and skim through the book to the end" or "The book is good enough for me to want to read it all." Her book meets the second criteria.
Sep 02, 2009 Cindy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009-read
This was an interesting story with many twists. The story of the life of one couple in a small town in New England which delves into the past and present and their interaction with others in their lives. The husband's best friend always seemed to be on the verge of coming between them.
I had a hard time relating to any of the characters which I think is why I didn't enjoy this one more. I wouldn't call it boring, just different. I am anxious to see what others think about this one.
A friend recommended this book to me, it looked interesting, so I gave it a shot. I am so glad that I did. This book was terrific. The story was one that held my interest, the writing was easy to follow and there were several twists. This is not a mystery, but like any good novel, it contains elements of mystery. This book is not a contender for the Pulitzer, but well worth the read. I recommend it.
Sep 07, 2009 Sonia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't even know what to say about this book. Up until the last 20 pages, I thought this tremendous author was very insightful into the human psyche and her perspective on how people relate to each other was enlightening, but it ended so bizarrely that I just am at a loss of words. It was so depressing that it made me question how well anybody really knows anybody else or even ourselves.
Rachel Stuck Amare
This book was Boring with a big ol' B! I got it on a whim at a bookstore and rue the decision. I cared so supremely little about all the characters, and then the Big Secret was almsot laughable! This is one of those books that was written by a talented writer but just missed the mark. If I read another Gyllenhaal, it will be from the library.
Mar 03, 2010 Linda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great story from beginning to end! Travels the bonds of family and friendship in a small town in upstate New York just beginning to feel the effects of the building boom after 9/11. Told through the voice of Maddie the long time resident who wants more and thinks she finds it in the friendship of a weekender named Anne.
Apr 09, 2009 Nancy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a first novel for Gyllenhaal and I enjoyed it. The story was simple and yet complex with the intertwining of the lives of the characters. The narrator is introspective and analytical but not perfect. She recognizes her own faults and knows herself well. Not perfect by any stretch, she comes across as very human and approachable and, therefore, likable.
Feb 02, 2014 Shelby rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2014
At times the book seemed to move a little slow for my tastes, but overall it was an interesting story. When I was getting close to the end I couldn't figure out how it was going end... A lot happened in the last bit of the book. I got frustrated with some of the characters and couldn't really relate to many if them.
Ashley O'Melia
I love how she wrote from two different time periods that slowly diverged. Gyllenhaal can describe a character so well that you feel like you know them, but there were enough characters involved that it was sometimes confusing. I thought the ending was a bit sad, and I am a happy endings type of person. All-in-all, though, not a bad book.
This is about a woman living in a small New England town working as a realtor. There is a mysterious relationship between the woman, her husband and another man in town. Just getting started but interesting so far.
So boring. I put it down for several days a couple times. I considered not finishing it, but I wanted to be able to dislike it correctly. It didn't hold my attention at all. I'm pretty disappointed because it's been on my to-read list for years.
I have had this book on my shelf for a few years. The undercurrent is dark in this book. I found the characters to be interesting. The author touched my emotions with her writing. This story helped me become a better person and rounded reader.
Aug 28, 2016 Kelly rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't get into this - the characters weren't developed enough for me to understand or care for them. A little predictable as to what roads were going to be taken right from the beginning. Ended up skipping to the end just to see what happened.
What begins as a lively first-person narrative by a young real estate agent in a small town devolves into a Fatal Attraction-type story about the way the past --- manifesting as a lustful yet psychotic woman, natch --- threatens the security of a nuclear family.
Apr 06, 2010 Toni rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I read an interesting review of this book so I decided to pick it up. The reviews raved about "loveliness of the writing and the story"- It was boring ,it was depressing, it was a waste of my time- enough said.
Good light read
Apr 21, 2009 Carol rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
glad it was a library book, very formulaic, secret was not that dark...the lead character "MAddie" is a very traditional female character.
Apr 08, 2015 Lindamac rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2015
Well written and thought provoking!
Dec 18, 2010 Connie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I understand the author's intentions toward her characterizations. I just didn't read them the way she thought she had portrayed them.
Jun 03, 2011 Penny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty easy to predict
Terri Langenback
Oct 24, 2010 Terri Langenback rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed this book. Set in small country town setting similar to where I live so I could really relate to it. Simple read, great vacation book.
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I'm the author of 'A Place for Us,' 'So Near,' 'Local Knowledge' and the just-published 'Bleeding Heart' all from New American Library. My novels are set in the Berkshire Hills of Massachusetts and explore questions of family, marriage, and small town America.

I'm delighted that two of my earlier romance novels 'Changes of Heart' and 'Heart and Soul' have been made available for the first time as e
More about Liza Gyllenhaal...

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