James A. Michener
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3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  521 ratings  ·  65 reviews
One of the world's most revered & best-loved novelists, Michener is now one of America's most respected senior citizens. His latest novel, set in the Palms, a Florida retirement center, follows the humorous, moving, & often triumphant stories of its residents.
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published November 17th 1998 by Random House Publishing Group (first published 1994)
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John Rachel
Why did I ever read James Michener? Or maybe his earlier works were more engaging. I rank this with his "The Drifters", a pathetic attempt by an out-of-touch, ivory-tower, middle-aged author at capturing the spirit of the hippie days.
This book was published in 1994. It takes on a number of ethical issues that were relatively new to the country at the time: AIDS, euthanasia, living wills, and elder abuse, among others. Since they are no longer new topics these days, it's hard to decide how I'd have felt about the book if I'd read it then. Now, it seems rather dated. Also dated is Michener's casual use of the word "retarded" ("But only a retarded reader would have failed to understand ...", p. 165).

But my main complaint with t...more
Dave Jones
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Teresa Hall
I have had this book around for many years, yet when I picked it up this week, I sped through it.

I love James Mitchener, although in general I have to be in the mood to tackle one of his sweeping tomes. Recessional was different. It is a tighter story than his general sweeping tale of a place (think Tales of the South Pacific or Hawaii). The story of a doctor running from his profession due to lawsuits and high insurance premiums, it becomes a panorama of an upscale Florida retirement community....more
Paula Dembeck
Michener is known for his beautiful writing and his grand historical epics. This, his last novel is very different, written towards the end of his life when obviously there were important things on his mind.

Andy Zorn is a young disgraced obstetrician working in Chicago. We meet him as he is packing his bags and heading south. He is despondent after a nasty divorce and the realization that he can no longer afford the increased premiums for his liability insurance,the result of losing two fraudule...more
Oct 28, 2008 Dianna rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone who is over 40 or has parents over 60.
James Michener outdid himself this time. Unlike some of his epic length novels, which I have difficulty finishing because of time constraints, this one is more managable at about 500 pgs. The story is very captivating and the characters have a broad range of qualities that make them very believable. This is a must read.
Apr 05, 2008 Nicole rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Nicole by: Joan J.
This is the first Michener book I've ever read, and I really liked it. Reading about the day-to-day life and workings of an assisted living facility was very interesting. I will definitely read other Michener books in the future based on how much I liked this one.
Grandma Mush
A good read and very timely for me. Friends are moving into a retirement home and I have a home in a senior community. This book encompasses situation from both places because it deals with the residents and new director of a large retirement complex. There was just enough story line to keep it like a novel rather than a documentary but I do think the ending was unsatisfactory. Too many people were killed off. Now I know in communities like these people die but these were often unusual deaths. T...more
Sometimes I think Michener wrote these enormous books so he could write essays on modern problems. This is no exception, but it was still an excellent book. The setting is a retirement home near Tampa in 1993. The mostly wealthy residents' discussion of the state of health care could have been plucked from today's conversations. The compassionate treatment of AIDS and Alzheimer's patients and euthanasia were discussed at length. Michener is ambivalent about the morality of euthanasia, but sees l...more
Dave Moyer
I haven't visited with Michener for a while and realized how much I missed his writing. This is a very solid effort about a Florida Retiremen/Health care facility, the people associated with it, and the complex medical and policy issues at the time of its writing in the early 90's.
I found many parallels in this book with my own life, as my father is medical director at an assisted living facility. I believe this is the first Michener work I've ever read, though I've had many of them close at hand for years. Texas, Hawaii, Alaska and others would have been more likely to have been my first Michener picks, but I was not dis-satisfied that fate allowed Recessional to be my introduction to the works of James Michener.

Recessional is James Michener's last novel and it seems obv...more
John Harder
Michener takes a departure from his usual historical tome. Recessional takes us to a Tampa-based retirement community. Therein we delve into the lives of a young doctor, his young patient and a crew of Methuselahs. This is not the most heady environment for a pot boiler. Will the Alzheimer’s victim forget where he put his glasses, will a catheter dislodge and leave a mess; we are left on pins and needles throughout the novel. Recessional has its qualities. It tries to be inspiring and sometimes...more
On first glance,even a Michener book on the American health care system,via an expensive 'nursing home'doesn't look like a page turner.However with his skill and peerless research it turns into a very human and involving story.The centrepiece of the book is mortality,and how the government (most governments)dictate how we all meet our end,if we end up 'institutionalised' in the system.Michener is very balanced,but in the end sways very much toward Euthanasia,in my opinion.As for narrative,his ch...more
I read this book back in the mid-nineties and was surprised when it was published because my favorite author at that time was nearing ninety and living in a Tampa area nursing home. I recall much of this because I was living very close to this location on the causeway between Tampa and Clearwater. This was not his last publication, but it was, appropriately his last novel. This epic also was not Michener's most entertaining effort, but it was insightful and thoughtful and gave a realistic look i...more
The characters in this book were all really appealing, and I really liked the retirement community setting. There were a lot of interesting story lines, as well. But I have to say, quite a bit of the dialogue was pretty strange and unnatural. A few other things seemed unrealistic, such as the fact that the main character in the book, a doctor, didn't really know about AIDS and Alzheimer's Disease before working at The Palms. Ok, I know that in the 90s (and still today) we knew very little about...more
For those of us who wonder what a retirement facility is, this is a definitive explanation (expose?). This one is set in the Tampa Bay region of Florida, and has three sections: (A) Fully ambulatory (can drive, etc.), in a full apartment, with an option to eat one meal per day in a communal dining room; (B) Assisted living (needs some help); (C) "Health Center" (bedridden/hospice). It focuses on a new director, who is a very likable doctor from Illinois but cannot practice in Florida. Included a...more
Patricia Joynton
OK, perhaps Michener is not the most poetic author of all time, but this was an interesting book which covered many of the problems of aging and retirement centers. It was full of the background stories of the people in the center, as well as the story of the main character, Dr. Zorn, who was the director of the center. I think this book was well written and interesting to me.
Slightly depressing and not terribly realistic.
This is one Michener book I missed - it is not as long as most of his novels - but as usual, when you are done reading his story you feel like you know every single thing there is to know about the subject. (haha) In this case it is a retirement home in Florida and the staff and residents weave the story of retirement home managment, aging, health care, and dying with dignity all neatly together the way Michener does with his chosen cast of characters. It was an interesting and easy read. Picked...more
finally! im done reading this book. and i must say, its beyond good reads... its a must read... very profound. very inspiring. very good! amazing! captivating! the characters were charming and lovable. i love the tertulias, andy zorn, betsy, the mallory's, mr.muley dugan and his wife who has alzheimers, nora varney, ken krenek, reverend quade, berta umlauf and almost everyone... i just dislike mr. hasslebrook... hehe... mr. michener approached death with ease but with a big impact to the heart o...more
A good read, enjoyed life in the retirement community. Was interesting to read about all the different personalities. Liked how Michener used the different people to teach the readers something about varied topics, IE: Alzheimer's, Chromosomes, AIDS, Living Wills vs keeping people alive, loosing limbs and rehabilitation, feeding the birds and watching the manatees. Very interesting book, enjoyed it.
Dan Evans
A good subject poorly done. Characters much too plastic.
James Michner has a knack for painting a scene, and for pulling you in to care about the characters. This book deals with a lot of difficult subjects like Alzheimer's, old age, loss of loved ones, breast cancer, AIDS,rehabilitation after severe trauma, and living wills, but it is beautifully written and very interesting.
Shannon Skaggs
I think I would have liked this book better if it hadn't had the Michener name I've grown to love. Certainly authors want to vary their writings, but I identify Michener with his sweeping epics. This was a good story with wonderfully developed characters, a short book, but it wasn't nearly as captivating as my favorite epics.
Leila Osborn
This is the 1st book I have read, by Mr. James A. Michener, this one did not keep me at the end of my seat, nor did it keep me up all night. It was good but not so exciting that I could not put it down. I may read another book by him, just to see if it captures my attention more so than this one did, but I am in no hurry.
This was my first Michner and I devoured it.
James Michner is a fine storyteller.
Michener was wonderfully skilled in writing historical fiction (Centennial was my favorite), but he was never strong in character development, dialogue, or drama. He was really off his game on this one, especially in his rather awkward injection of social and religious issues into the book's sort of non-plot.
This was the first Michener book I didn't finish and was somewhat disappointed. It started out well, but it was a little too "pollyanne-ish" to hold my interest. It was inspiring to read about these senior citizens trying to live out their days with dignity and intelligence, but I got bored with the plot.
This was a story about a fantastic retirement home in Florida. It contained drama,love,humor all moving along at a quick pace that keeps you involved in the lives of the patients, the management, and their families. Especially enjoyable for seniors who can identify with the situations in this wonderful book.
The topic does not lend itself to the kind of sweeping sagas of some of his works. it was a faster read than a lot of his.
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James Albert Michener is best known for his sweeping multi-generation historical fiction sagas, usually focusing on and titled after a particular geographical region. His first novel, Tales of the South Pacific , which inspired the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific, won the 1948 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

Toward the end of his life, he created the Journey Prize, awarded annually for th...more
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