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The Rocks

3.19  ·  Rating details ·  8,064 ratings  ·  1,002 reviews
Set against dramatic Mediterranean Sea views and lush olive groves, The Rocks opens with a confrontation and a secret: What was the mysterious, catastrophic event that drove two honeymooners apart so suddenly and absolutely in 1948 that they never spoke again despite living on the same island for sixty more years? And how did their history shape the Romeo and Julietlike ...more
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published May 26th 2015 by Riverhead Books (first published January 1st 2015)
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Kathy Agree completely. I did finish it but I completely lost track of timing, characters, etc. I couldn't begin to outline the plot for anyone. Loved the…moreAgree completely. I did finish it but I completely lost track of timing, characters, etc. I couldn't begin to outline the plot for anyone. Loved the setting and some of those details but the plot line was waaay too tortured for me.(less)
Mae I didn't care much for Lulu at all. She was completely screwed up and yes, raped a young Charlie. However, Aegina & Luc talk about this towards…moreI didn't care much for Lulu at all. She was completely screwed up and yes, raped a young Charlie. However, Aegina & Luc talk about this towards the end.(less)

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Average rating 3.19  · 
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 ·  8,064 ratings  ·  1,002 reviews

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May 31, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
In the great, wise words of The Critic's Jay Sherman, "It stinks!" I DID NOT LIKE IT.

Here is a list of my gripes:
-So many characters and I didn't care about any of them, therefore, their pointless side stories are just stupid fodder to fill in pages.
-Legit, in order to find out what happened between Lulu and Gerald, you have to wait until the last 30ish pages. STUPES.
-Luc/Aegina? No one cares about you. If I'm supposed
May 19, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
I'm not sure why this book is getting such rave reviews or why it's being described as "romantic". It is not romantic AT ALL. It had a lot of promise in the beginning, but the story is dull. The characters are one dimensional and the supposed romances in the story are anything but. Too much time was taken in detailing things that didn't matter, like the exact texture, color, and presentation of calamari or the various layouts of islands that have no play in the story. I didn't finish this book, ...more
Wendy Clare
Jun 23, 2015 rated it it was ok
Misogynistic. You can completely tell this book has been written by a man. All the female characters are these sex-crazed, aggressive, type-As, and the men just sit back and let all the bad stuff happen to them (all the ladies' faults of course). Ugh, couldn't stand this book.
Oct 27, 2016 rated it liked it
2.5 stars

If there was a Goodreads category "Best Novel With a 3.18 Rating Depicting People Behaving Badly on the Island of Mallorca", Peter Nichols' The Rocks would probably lose to Emma Straub's The Vacationers, even though Nichols' book is, arguably, better written. I feel like I'm dissing an author's entire raison d' etre by giving the nod to a frilly beach read over Nichols' book (as Nichols' back catalogue is comprised of several maritime historical non-fiction books), but his risky
Larry H
Jun 14, 2015 rated it liked it
I'm stuck between rating this 3 and 3.5 stars, so how about 3.25?

The Rocks begins with a confrontation. Lulu and Gerald were married for a very brief time in 1948. And although both have lived on the island of Mallorca for years, Lulu in particular goes out of her way to avoid Gerald at every turn. Yet when the two run into each other nearly 60 years later, the anger, hurt, and resentment is still tremendously intense, leading to a tragedy.

What happened on Lulu and Gerald's honeymoon all of
May 23, 2015 rated it liked it
The Rocks gets a reluctant three stars from me. The plot is ambitious, spanning generations, countries, and perspectives so I appreciated the author's efforts. And a few of the characters had unexpected layers - note Aegina's journey. The island setting made me think this would be an ideal beach read even though I knew the content would be serious. What I didn't expect was the slow pace of many chapters, and one protagonist whose self-absorption knew no bounds. When the author finally reveals ...more
Lee Anne
Jun 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Brits Gerald and Lulu were briefly married in 1948, and now, in 2005, both live in the same small Mallorcan village and pointedly avoid one another. Until one day, they don't. Words are exchanged, and they both tumble off a cliff to their deaths. The story then goes chronologically in reverse until the mystery of their relationship is revealed.

OH MY GOD I LOVED THIS BOOK! Author Nichols is clearly influenced by Maugham (although Maugham would never have used such a flashy narrative device); he
Apr 28, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
Ridiculous, boring, rich people with stupid problems. If this book was 100 pages I might have been able to hang in. But this book is too much of an investment. I can't imagine digging deeper than I already did, which was 80 pages. Good luck to all of the characters and everything, but I'm out.
Jul 17, 2015 rated it did not like it
Jet-setting, degenerate artistes loll about the island of Mallorca for generations, having sex with everyone they can, including 80-year-olds and minors. Gross. Sorry but I'm not into pedophilia. If the main female protagonist (antagonist?) is any man's fantasy, I pity that man. The male characters in this book, however, seem perfectly willing to allow a sociopath to lead them around by their privates for decades, apparently for no reason other than that she's a tiger in bed. It's a ridiculous ...more
Karin Slaughter
Sep 05, 2015 rated it liked it
Seriously? That was what all that was about?
Jul 16, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2016
I read a glowing review of this book in which the reviewer notes, "the author clearly loves women". Ummm... some questions. Perhaps my issue with this statement is the definition of love.

For example, I can say that I love penguins, and I can describe them in great detail with earnest adoration and delight, while still maintaining the understanding that I do not consider them my equals, and they are not humans.
I can even decide to assign them random personality quirks, almost as a joke, because
Jul 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
A summer read, but not a fluffy beach read. This is really close to 5-star. Beautiful settings, complex characters, some light moments, some deeper themes.

I have mixed feelings about the structure, which moves backwards in time. With two of the main characters--Gerald and Lulu--I found this a bit frustrating, because their interactions throughout most of the book don't make sense (Gerald in particular comes across as a little batty). With the other two main characters--Aegina and Luc--the
Melissa Rochelle
This book has a great opener -- a 90 year old woman that curses uncontrollably thanks to a stroke and a just as old man who has smoked for decades meet in the street. We learn they used to be married and have both lived in the island of Mallorca since their divorce 60 years previously. Gerald, the old man, is desperate to tell Lulu, the woman, that he got them away. Who they are or what happened with the two former lovers, we don't know because then the two of them fall over the side of a cliff. ...more
Aug 14, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2015
Quiz: Somebody is angry at you because she thinks you did something awful, but you actually did something fairly courageous, and you want to clear up the misunderstanding. What do you do?

A) Contact her directly and explain what happened.

B) Give a roll of film to a friend of hers, ask the friend to give her the film and have her get the photos developed, because what's in the photos will explain everything. Then spend the next 50 years being angry that she never developed the film.

If you chose
Patricia Williams
This was actually between 3 and 4 stars, so I would say 3.5. This was a good story and good characters and I really enjoyed it. The one issue I had was I would have liked the story better if been a straight through story instead of starting at the end and going backwards. I know why the author did it this way and did not enjoy it that much as he went back in time. Just as you got used to the characters as certain way, they all went back in time. And I felt that he left questions unanswered.
Jun 23, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
this book had the chance to be good but it was slow to get into and seemed to go in all directions
Jun 06, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2015-books
2.5-stars, really.

i love the setting of this novel, and i was quite taken with a couple of the characters, but overall this was a very bumpy read. the backward timeline didn't work very well for me, and while i didn't find it confusing or difficult (as i have read in other reviews this morning), i found it prevented me from becoming fully engaged with the story - each new section, set in a different year, felt like a reset on the story, but not in a good way or in a way that enhanced the flow
Leslie Wilson
Jun 14, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audible-library
I hated this book so much. The first chapter got me interested in the story, but everything between the first and last chapter was a big yawn of dreadful people. By the time the secret was told, I didn't even care.
Jul 18, 2016 rated it did not like it
...Hoo boy, there are a lot of adjectives in the first 50 pages.

...Now I'm at page 90, and this book isn't winning me over. I'm having trouble following the plot--not to mention the point of view, which bounds confusingly between the different characters' perspectives--and the conceit of telling the story backwards (not a spoiler; it's in the chapter titles) isn't working AT ALL. So far the novel is just these big blocks of writing with, like, one or two heavy-handed details tying them to the
Chaya Nebel
May 30, 2015 rated it it was ok
Great setting.

Characters are a little annoying: Gerald is a milquetoast of a man, you realize at the end; Lulu is just a selfish, self-absorbed, demanding person. Luc - not much better, etc.

Wonderful and unique construction: a backwards story, which at times, though, sort of defeats the purpose of reading, which is to get to the end. Going backwards, though, you're going back to the beginning, which means that at moments when the reader is hoping there is a future resolution to a conversation,
Kasa Cotugno
There were many elements of this book that reminded me of Beautiful Ruins -- the sunsoaked Mediterranean setting, the haunting effects of the past that reverberate after smoldering for decades, even movie references. There was one thing in the latter category that puzzled me -- why give a character the name Gabor Szabo to a Hungarian film producer when the very same name was held by an actual guitarist who died the year before the character's appearance in the novel? It jarred me. However, the ...more
Hanna Burmeister
Jun 30, 2016 rated it liked it
Really wanted to like this book. I was initially hooked and enjoyed the creativity of having it written in reverse chronological order... but unfortunately the story fell flat. Some sections seemed to drag on far too long and I eventually lost interest in the characters. I only finished it because I was determined to.
Brett Benner
Aug 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015-favorites
Evoking the same sort of literary travel envy that 2012's 'Beautiful Ruins' did, 'The Rocks' is a multigenerational story of two sets of lovers told backwards. Some people have complained this narrative technique became confusing, but I found it both wildly sucessful and thoroughly enjoyable.And on a side note,Nichols lush descriptions also made me want to book a flight to Majorca immediately.
Apr 13, 2018 added it
DNF. god this bored me tears
Emily Bloor
May 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic, faultless book! A real odyssey, this book takes you on a journey of the twisting lives of three generations spanning several countries, with a love story at its heart.
Kate Z
May 24, 2015 rated it liked it
This book has all the makings of a great summer read ... sun-drenched island in the Mediterranean, lives of the rich and famous, love story ... but I lost interest in this book quickly.

This book begins with the ending - two people, lovers at one time apparently, Lulu and Gerard, die by falling down some rocks into the sea on the island of Mallorca. They are both in their eighties - they've lived well. Then the book goes back in time. Not back to the beginning, but rewinds itself just a bit. LIke
Jul 27, 2015 rated it liked it
This novel is an epic saga, and yes, I mean its a VERY long book. At times I would get bored, and then something exciting happens. Thus, I read the whole thing and did not abandon it. Was it the best book I ever read? No, but it was an above average read.

Author Peter Nichols tells his saga in reverse. Its comparable to if you just meet someone who is interesting, and then you ask people about him or her, and find out information historically. Nichols begins his tale by beginning it with two
Apr 19, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-to-read
I received this book as part of Penguins first to read program.

This is the love story of two separate couples spanning 60 years. Lulu and Gerard were married for two days before separating and seeing one another only 2 times over the course of those 60 years. The second love story is that of their children Aegina and Luc. The whole story goes backwards and builds up to the event in 1948 that caused the divorce of Lulu and Gerard. I didn't enjoy the Lulu and Gerard storyline as I didn't like
Jun 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: literary-fiction
The Rocks opens in 2005 in a coastal town of Mallorca, a Spanish island in the Mediterranean that is popular with tourists.

Eighty-year-old Lulu is still spry and lovely, despite a recent stroke. While taking a stroll along the coastline, she encounters her ex-husband, Gerald. They had been married for a few months in 1949, and although they both remained in the small town of Cala Marsopa, had managed to avoid each other. When they exchange heated words, Lulu loses her footing. Gerald grabs her,
Mary Taitt
Jan 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literary-fiction
Something could happen, through no fault of your own, while you were doing what you thought was right, that could change not only your own life and the life of your partner, but the lives of generations to come, fanning out in a ever expanding wash of hurt and heartache. And through it all, lives rise and fall, relationships are formed and break up. If only you could explain what really happened . . . The book begins with the strange death of Gerald and Lulu, following an argument caused, at ...more
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“The likelihood of meeting anyone who wouldn't make him feel even lonelier seemed increasingly remote. Life was a dwindling process now, not a building proposition. He couldn't imagine being with someone new, opening up, feeling appreciated and understood, without having to explain his dubious non sequiturs and increasingly arcane or redundant frame of reference.” 3 likes
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