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State of the Union
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State of the Union

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  1,555 ratings  ·  143 reviews
From the New York Times bestselling author of Leaving the World comes the compelling story of a woman whose one choice, made decades ago, comes back to haunt her.

America in the 1960s was an era of radical upheaval–of civil rights protests and anti-war marches; of sexual liberation and hallucinogenic drugs. More tellingly, it was a time when you
ebook, 496 pages
Published June 15th 2010 by Atria Books (first published January 1st 1999)
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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 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
Toate dramele par sa se fi concentrat in cartea asta care scrisa pe o reteta de best-seller (si pentru ecranizare, bineinteles). Si totusi nu e atat de rea pe cat ar putea fi. Dialogurile curg, personajele nu se contrazic dupa 30 de ani, are si un pic de insight in politica americana din anii 60, dar parca mi-as fi dorit mai mult. E o carte usurica, de citit cand esti obosit sau cand nu te poti concentra prea bine pe ceva mai dificil. Scrisa de un barbat din perspectiva unei femei, abordeaza toa ...more
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.
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.
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.
Tracey Tester
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.
Sally Boots
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.
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!
verity Shepley
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.
Julz Manu
Has been a really good read, douglas kennedy is a great writer, especially as the main characters are always women!
Very good, like Kennedy's writing, despite the very cheesy covers which are very unrepresentative of his novels.
Eileen Sainsbury
Couldn't put this book down, I read it in one day - it appealed to me very much because I am from the same time as the main characters and I can see how one stupid little slip can make all the difference to one's life - and even though it was more than 30 years ago, society in the US at least seems not to have become more tolerant. I wonder how kids of today, who put their entire lives on Facebook and other social media will fare in the future. Suffice it to say that I was totally engaged in the ...more
Seems great at first but turns out to be a huge dissapointment!
parfait comme cerise sur le gateau d'une premiere serie de 6 DK !
Wendy Davie
Another Goodie, I loved it.
This is my second Douglas Kennedy book. i like his style of writing and use of dialogue. I would have liked this book a bit more if not for the consistent negative portrayal of the Christians in the story, plus towards the end of the book his use of extremely simplistic lines AND I kept waiting for someone in Hannah's family to tell her she had turned out just like her mother! I never really got to know Hannah...what was truly behind her outbursts of passions and anger. Overall superficial feel ...more
Helen Moyes
This book took me a long time to read (time constraints, my slow reading speed and 629 pages. It was a mixture of mundane and gripping, describing the whole of the central character's marriage. It also describes her parents relationship and those of her children.
Common themes are the desire for stability, worrying about what others think, and struggling to understand both oneself and your family members.
I share the same place in history as the central character, Hannah, but thankfully not much e
i've been on a douglas kennedy reading jag of late. this is my fourth in as many weeks. it was the fastest read for me, mostly because i couldn't put it down. i think it moved me the most as well, i was actually in tears at the end. kennedy can really get inside the head of a woman (tho' he did put some strange and seemingly out-of-character behavior in Hannah during her ordeal). and he is a master at painting characters who are full of doubts and regrets for the choices they've made and fears t ...more
Ahh, the classic epic novel. Thankfully, loads of the epics I am picking up lately, I am enjoying, if only for their tight use of characters. This was another easy story with small cast. Girl with hippie parents (and issues with her mother) meets and falls for some guy while in college. She and her mother have a falling out over something and while the mother is sick she essentially tricks the girl into apologizing for something even though the girl didn't want to. Mother survives, but their rel ...more
Bigot is defined as "Stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief or opinion that differs from your own". People have a right to bash liberal or conservative politics, but the author goes too far when he takes on a people group whose beliefs & values differ from his and he paints them consistently & uniformly (physically, morally, and spiritually) ugly & altogether repellant. Who are these hideous people the author so disdains? Not terrorists or baby seal slaughterers. The ...more
If you can get past the political right wing / left wing clashes I enjoyed this book. There were only a few characters, so I didn't get lost among a huge epic tale full of plots and subplots. The main character, Hannah, has always played it safe, except one indiscretion early on in her marriage. 30 years later she has to face the consequences of that indiscretion when it becomes the subject of media tabloids. Her life as a mother and wife is totally turned upside down. How does she handle it? Sh ...more
Okay, first of all, this book really has nothing to do with 9/11. You read the description here and think that *that* specific event is going to be built up to as a focus in the book. Not at all the case.

I actually found it in my library's "new" section about a month and a half ago --and I won't lie-- I totally judged this book by its cover. I wouldn't have even bothered to check the first page blurb about it, if not for the cover.

What I saw there obviously piqued my interest, or you wouldn't b
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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
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