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Every Visible Thing

3.7  ·  Rating details ·  561 Ratings  ·  77 Reviews
Five years ago the eldest Furey son, Hugh, ran off into the night and never returned. His parents, estranged by grief, are trying to put the tragedy behind them after a long, exhausting, and fruitless search. His mother, recovering from an emotional breakdown, has lost herself in a new career; Hugh's father, having abandoned his faith and his position as a theology profess ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published August 7th 2007 by Harper Perennial (first published July 27th 2006)
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3.5 stars. A very readable book about a family dealing (most not-dealing) with the disappearance of the oldest son, Hugh. It verges into teen angst / melodrama, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Protagonists Lena and Owen deal with emotionally absent parents, questioning their sexuality, and their relationship with others. My main critique is that the ending feels a little too neat and tidy, skipping all the difficulties of healing that a tragedy like this would actually entail.
A.M. Canja
Aug 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
"Thats an emo book, thats for you." My friend raised his brows when I handed him this book. He is indeed right, the book is emotionally compelling. Rarely do I ignore a books title, I read the summary at the back first, this book is one of the few incidents.

What I like about this book the most is it is mainly centered on teen angst with loss, grief, denial revolving around it making an emotionally chaotic plot. Speaking of the plot, it is simple, teenage siblings facing adolescence and trying to
Jul 06, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: everything
As a huge fan of Lisa Carey’s books, I was looking forward to reading Every Visible Thing. I was really hoping for something in the same vein as the other Carey books I have read, The Mermaid’s Singing and In the Country of the Young… well developed characters, a thread of mythology that ran through the story – supporting and enhancing the more realistic plotline, and a flavoring of Irish or Irish immigrant culture.

But Every Visible Thing felt a little lacking in comparison. The story, about a
Sep 26, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like Alice Hoffman
This book is beautifully written and so easy to read that it was hard to put down. I was so affected by this family, and it really drove home how often we don't say what we really mean to the people we love, either because we don't want to hurt them, or because we do, or because we can't. It made me want to believe in Angels.
Mary  (Biblophile)
A melodramatic coming of age tale that I didn't find all that interesting. Shades of drug use, homosexuality, and suicide all add to the melodrama. Two teenagers follow paths of self destruction after the disappearance of their older brother and the parents are too overly involved to notice.
Feb 25, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 19, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
After reading many books about missing/murdered children, it would be interesting to read one that wasn't the same as all the others. Are families that try to recover from these tragedies not as interesting as ones that fall apart.
Mar 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just loved this book and couldn’t put it down even after trying several times to make tea in between chapters, BUT...the story won out every time!

Five years ago the Furey’s eldest son, Hugh, disappeared without a trace. His parents are naturally grief stricken and trying hard to put this senseless tragedy behind them. Hugh’s mother has an emotional breakdown and hunkers down in her bed rarely getting up. This leaves Hugh’s father to care for their two youngest children, Owen 10 and Lena 15 but
Nov 14, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was very interesting to read. Told by 2 siblings a brother and a sister years apart but both fucked up because their older brother Hugh went missing and his body was never found. The family who once was happy and cared and was loving now are ghosts with shells. They work but pay no attention to their teenage daughter going thru a crisis bc her hero in her life is missing. LENA wants to find him and goes on this drop out, drug, drnking, smoking, boy look like, jounrney to find him. She ...more
I was not expecting this book to be so enticing after I read a few chapters. It overall was a good book. I don't think I would read it again but I'm glad I read it at least once. I often had to re read some paragraphs to make sure I got it right. It is very descriptive of some things that are not suitable for children. Sometimes very intense things came out of the blue. I do have to applaud authors who are able to make me feel the emotions of the characters myself. I do like the characters and h ...more
This was a very dark and dismal novel which I found in the bargain book section at B&N. The story is told from two characters, Lena and Owen, alternating chapters. Lena is obsessed with finding her brother or at least finding out who he was. She finds his old camera and lots of undeveloped film. She takes a photography class to learn to develop it herself. As she sees the places and people that Hugh shot, she seeks them out looking for answers. This leads her down a dangerous trail as she sk ...more
Feb 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I normally find things that become important or special by accident, this book was one of them. I was strolling along the library looking through movies when I saw this book next to the movie I wanted at the end of the shelf. When I looked at the back and saw that the author, Lisa Carey, also wrote a book called "The Mermaids Singing" I thought of putting the book back down right then and there but there was just something about it that made me want to at least give it a chance and maybe it woul ...more
Mar 22, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
I'm revisiting some of my favorite stories to inspire my writing this month. I just finished re-reading Carey's Love in the Asylum before reading Every Visible Thing for the 3rd time.

The story still holds up for me, especially the tough voice of our female protagonist, Lenaf. Carey writes a mean 1st person and I like her use of non-traditional dialogue. It's fun to get inside her characters' heads to experience their reactions and train of thought! She also does a nice job of telling the story o
Feb 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: family, lit-fic
Carey writes beautifully - it had been a few years since I had last picked up one her novels, but a few pages into this one, it struck me again what a gift she has. I really enjoyed reading this book. It initially took me a little bit to get into it, though that may be more to do with the last few books that I’ve read than anything else (they were all rather humourous essays, rather than an actual novels)! Once the plot unfolded, it became a very sad but engrossing story. Despite its rather depr ...more
Laura Buechler
Quote to keep:

"Everything is the same. Each thing he sees makes him remember it, as though these objects and smells have been there all along, locked in a cubby of his brain, and now that they're out he can't imagine not remembering them. It scares him, the fact that things can hide in your own mind. Fool you into believing you don't remember them, then reappear and pretend they've been right in front of you all along."

(I know that feeling and understand JUST what the writer means!)

This book is
Jan 29, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Every Visible Thing is a heartbreaking novel about the loss of a child and how that affects the rest of the family.

Alternating between the two siblings, Lena and Owen tell the story of their family's struggle to deal with the loss of the oldest child, Hugh, missing and presumed dead. The inability of the parents to deal with the loss of Hugh allows the two remaining children to slip further and further into trouble. As they struggle to deal with this loss in addition to the normal problems of c
Jan 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
This book has been sitting on myself for years. I've decided to read it based on a whim and I am glad I did. It is also scary the hell to me as a parent! Teenage years are the hardest thing to get through. Their thought processes are completely out of whack and you can really feel it throughout this book.

Losing a child must be completley horrifying for parents and how could you ever bounce back? It must be so hard to push and to stay strong for your children but this story shows that however yo
Casey Dwyer
Nov 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this book was filled with suspense in almost every chapter. it was written so that you could not put it down until you finished reading it. this book is definitely not meant to be read by all ages due to some the graphic themes, but this would be a good novel for young adults. it basically tells the story of a broken family trying to deal with its past and find a future.

this book is also a reminder of how silence and grieve can be a corrosive mixture. the story is told in two different perspecti
Reading is my Escape
This book is not for anyone who is easily offended. It involves a family in which the oldest brother goes missing. The parents fall apart and basically leave the 2 remainng children to fend for themselves (an older girl and a younger boy). The brother is gone so long that he is basically presumed dead, but no one in the family will talk about it. The kids have questions and no one to turn to. The sister finds rolls of the brother's film and enrolls in a photography class. She follows a trail of ...more
Jul 17, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The reviews I read on this book consistently cited Carey's narrative style as a negative feature in this book. However, for this story, it worked particularly well. I particularly like bildungsroman novels, and while this one isn't exactly true to that genre, it has some elements nonetheless. The narration is split between the two children, Owen and Lena, and they expose the reader to life in the shadow of an older brother's unexplained disappearance. Both children struggle with identity--Owen e ...more
Sep 15, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I don't usually NOT finish a book, but this was one of those for me. I love Lisa Carey's novels, and each of her previous ones has really moved me, but I thought that this book was too much. I understand that teens are experiencing and knowing more about sex than I did at that age, but I did not want to read about a 10 year old boy's sexual experiences. It disturbed me greatly. I highly recommend her other novels, and I look forward to seeing what she'll write next, but this was definitely not o ...more
Sarah Pierce
Jun 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a novel about what continues to happen to a family five years after the eldest son, the “golden boy,” has disappeared. It’s harrowing, but beautifully written, and is told from the point of view of the two children left behind; they are ignored by their parents and pretty much have to forge through the most difficult years of growing up on their own. This is the book that made me feel like I was going to hurtle into space when I finished it.
Apr 17, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
No character is really likeable – maybe the younger brother Owen, but not enough that I ever became emotionally invested in his story. I kept reading to see what would happen, but not because I cared. I tend to love problem novels or the depressing topics but this one was just – ugh. Hated the parents. I give it two stars just because I do think there are people that would like it, and I didn’t have such a negative reaction that I am wanting to start a campaign against the book.
Nov 25, 2008 rated it really liked it
When I first picked this book up 2 years ago, I ended up putting it down because I couldn't hang with bored me. But this time around, I couldn't put it down. After about chapter 8, I guess, I was enthralled...dark, memorable characters that you will remember when you finish... makes me think of everyone I ever went to high school with that I considered to be "weird" or "different" and how foolish I was to think such a thing.
Joy Dion
Oct 17, 2007 rated it really liked it
This book cronicled a family's breaking point following the disappearance of the oldest son some five years before. It primarily follows the two remaining children and their search for answers outside the family because the parents refused to discuss this with them.

I have never experienced anything in my life to compare to this, and it was very moving.
Jul 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I stayed up till 1 am reading this book last night because I could not put it down. It was totally worth it, except even after finishing it, I couldn't sleep thinking about it. The two main characters were excellently written. Very well done portrayal of the affect a child gone missing has on the rest of his family.
Jul 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have loved every one of Lisa Carey's novels, despite my seething jealousy that she writes so much better than I do. This one was a teeny bit distracting because it was set in my old Brookline, MA neighborhood, but that didn't ultimately detract from my feeling so utterly compelled to finish it that I ignored several household chores today. Highly recommend.
Jul 16, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not for the faint of heart - for sure. This is an extremely dysfunctional family novel. But of ocurse I liked that. My heart went out to this family because I could NOT imagine every losing a child. This novel is pretty much about what happens to everyone in the family once a member of the family is gone.
Nov 04, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Ugh. Bleak. Depressing. Sure to bring you down to your lowest mood. I stopped reading this book about 50 pages in, which you must know by now, is very unusual for me. I don't like to give up on a book, but I broke up with this one.
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Lisa Carey was born in 1970 in Boston, Massachusetts to Irish-American parents. She grew up in Brookline and later moved with her family to Hingham, Massachusetts.

She attended Boston College and received a B.A. in English and Philosophy in 1992.

Pursuing her MFA in Writing, she took a semester off and lived in Inishbofin, Ireland for six months. There, Carey began her first novel, The Mermaids Sin
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