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The Grace That Keeps This World

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  662 ratings  ·  130 reviews
Gary and Susan Hazen—high school sweethearts married for many years, born and bred in the Adirondack community of Lost Lake—live a simple and honest life and have instilled values in their two grown sons by example. But despite their efforts, Gary senses that his sons are starting to pull away and can’t help but feel he is at fault. His younger son, Kevin, has ambitions th ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published July 25th 2006 by Broadway Books (first published May 1st 1991)
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Average rating 3.76  · 
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 ·  662 ratings  ·  130 reviews

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Jul 07, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommended to Becky by: Kenny
If it weren't for my bookclub, I probably would never have even heard of this book. But it was chosen, and so I read it. I finished it in less than a day, so it's compelling enough, I'm just not sure I can say exactly why.

This is just the story of a family, the Hazens, trying to make it season by season, year after year, living close to and off of the land, and with faith. They don't work 9 to 5 jobs so that they can go down to the Super Wal-Mart to pick up the things they need. Instead, Susan
Glen Retief
Jul 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
OK, I'm friends with the author, but truly, this book is magnificent. What extraordinary voices. What sensitive characterizations. Descriptions of the Adirondack landscape and the "silvering lakes" that make you want to stay in the world of the book forever. Bailey invents some interesting double-barreled verbs: it's a stylistic quirk of his I find intriguing and appealing.
May 22, 2008 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Debbie Urso
Nov 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Bailey has a beautiful writing style. Some parts were a little slow but the background was needed to tie it all together in the end.
Jun 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
I found many aspects of the book appealing, from the story's unfolding through the different voices to rustic life in the Adirondack to the complexity of the father son relationship,especially when one plans a different path in life. I found myself thinking about the characters and their relationships for a few days after I finished reading the book.
Oct 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book painstakingly paints its story stroke by seemingly trivial stroke. But, at the conclusion, when the reader stands back and sees every heartbreaking detail of the bigger picture, every single stroke, every single word, mattered.
Jan 08, 2019 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book (it is definitely more of a slow burn than a thriller) but agree with other reviewers here that it felt extremely rushed at the end. The first 3/4s of the book is a slow buildup to some kind of disastrous confrontation, which is mentioned in the prologue but not revealed. Then said confrontation occurs off-screen, and we get maybe two short chapters and an epilogue dealing with the aftermath? It feels like a very unsatisfying payoff. Thankfully it can be finished in two or th ...more
Kathy Patterson
Sep 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
An entertaining read by a PA author- I found this novel pleasantly intriguing; the author starts in the present and then flashes back to finish the plot's lingering questions. A story of family love- spousal, parental, fraternal, and the stressors that accompany that love. The main focus is on the father, Gary, and his two very different sons, Gary David and Kevin. What happens when a father expects too much? What happens when "life" forces change? Can love survive even the worst tragedy? A good ...more
Wendy Stockard
Sep 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow! Tom Bailey's prose is a harmony, weaving between his characters like a smooth, dark river. The complexities of familial relationships, the small town with its throwback to bygone days, the hardscrabble life borne from the climate in which they live make this book an unexpected treat - especially considering it is his first novel. You know from the first chapter tragedy will occur. What you don't know is how sympathetic you are to each of the characters and how you can place yourself into ea ...more
Nicole Estes
Mar 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Not what I expected, not a storyline I thought I’d be so hooked on. I was not surprised by the ending however, I suspected from the beginning this would be the ending. I was surprised by how drawn in I was to the characters. I typically don’t like the format of each chapter being a different characters point of view, but it worked for this book and there were several different characters that had a voice. Even with the amount of characters voices it still worked. The internal dialogue is so well ...more
Oct 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Emotion packed story. This was a gut wrenching tale of a father and his sons who felt deeply but could not seem to put it in words. Their story was well written, but some of the side stories seemed to be scrounged together to fill pages. The whole shooting a movie about Canada geese was a bit weird and didn't seem fitting with the deep emotion of the main story. The descriptions of the forests and North Country people were interesting and well done.
Peggy Klugh
May 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! I loved the story line, especially liked his writing style.
Very easy to read & follow the story.
If you have grown up in an area where hunting is King, you will understand the mindset behind the father's obsession with needing his boys to follow in his footstep & hunt.
Or if you have a strong willed father, you can identify with the struggles of the sons not wanting to go against their father.
Michael McQueen
Jun 17, 2018 rated it did not like it
This may go against popular opinion, but I couldn't even finish this book, and that is RARE! I couldn't keep the storyline straight with the constant switching of characters and perspectives. Not compelling enough to keep struggling through.
Jun 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
When I began this book, I didn't think it would be that interesting. But as I persevered, I began to get caught up in the story. The characters, the Hazens, are so believable! This book haunted me for several days after I finished reading it. I'd recommend it highly.
May 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: novel
Beautifully written and tragic tale set in the Adirondacks.
Jun 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Slow starting, but then it grabs you. Loved the setting and the story was riveting.
Jan 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
REALLY good. Touching and very true to life relationships. I feel as if I know each of these people. This was a very moving story. Can’t wait wait to read another book by this author.
Jul 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Loved this novel. Understanding the "grace that keeps this world" makes the whole read important and worthwhile.
Mar 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is beautifully written. I could easily visualize the setting and the difficulties of making a life there. The small town atmosphere conveyed through the scenes in the diner and the bar were accurate. I cared about every one of the characters (well, maybe not so much for Lamey), and liked that each had a chance to tell his or her story. It's evident from the beginning that there will be a tragedy and when it came, it was not a shock, but still very sad. I would have given five stars if ...more
Jan 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
The Grace That Keeps This World
By Tom Bailey
Review by Marissa Sanderson

The Adirondacks are the heart and soul of the wilderness in upstate New York. Filled with acres upon acres of dense wilderness, people come from all over to hike and camp. But, others call the Adirondacks home and make their living off of the land. Gary Hazen and his family are just a few of these people who rely on the land to live, but living in the wild is the easy part of the Hazen’s life. The lov
Jan 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I wanted to hate this book in the worst kind of way. The author was my professor in college and I really liked him a lot ... until he sold this book. After that, I always thought him to be rather full of himself (one of those "Well this is what *I* would do if *I* were writing your story" types. If your idea of creativity didn't perfectly align with his, he didn't really have time for you). So I read this book in 2006 with every intention of disliking it.

Unfortunately, I just couldn't. In fact,
Sep 02, 2008 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Discomforting comfort was the feeling that remained with me as I closed the book on The Grace that Keeps This World by Tom Bailey. Although keeping track of the first-person narrators (with one notable exception) was at times confusing early on, it quickly became a trusted pattern as the novel moved toward the tragedy clearly foretold by Susan Hazen in the Prologue. I began to hope that the citizens of Lost Lake would turn out to have enough faith and strength of belief to fend off the inevitable. ...more
Sep 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
Selection for community read ...I had the opportunity to actually hear Tom Bailey read the first chapter at our local library. Interesting to hear the southern accent in his voice, as the novel takes place in New York state!

While the story is actually interesting and almost too well written, I don't think it is great reading! Each character has their own voice, which makes reading it rather dis-jointed. The author uses glowing language, and sometimes lapses into "professor mode" with is eloquen
Sep 09, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: ????
Recommended to Jodi by: One Book, One Community Selection
Shelves: book-club-books
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 15, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
my book club's choice to discuss November 4th.

I was REALLY disappointed in this book. I think the idea for the story was a good one - and their were a few lines that I took with me - but overall, I thought the author took a good story idea and chose to write about the most uninteresting things surrounding it. You learn from the opening chapter there has been a horrible hunting accident that has resulted in one of the family member's death. The following story unfolds how it happened
Feb 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who has ever had to kill a goose
Recommended to Pam by: The bookstore I frequent because author lives in nearby college-
Shelves: read-in-09
Part of me wants to give this book five stars. It wasn't until the third part that I really, really enjoyed it. The climax is unexpected, and ties together everything I previously didn't like about the book together in a package that I can say is a good book.

I wish it was written in the third person changing the focus on the specific characters as the chapters change. I don't like how the book is told from different characters' perspectives in first person and then, inexplicably Kevi
Kristy Trauzzi
Apr 30, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
Recommended to Kristy by: book club
I think I was supposed to see the bigger picture in this book. Like, the killing what you need. The father/child relationship and how it was flawed but everyone still loved. Ish. Buuuuut - I'm really not getting that.

It was a bunch of different people (with a few random side people - who cares that you moved to Florida and enjoy the heat and your husband hates it. I mean, REALLY!?) with trails of thought that didn't really go into much depth. You got what was happening on that day an
Sep 04, 2012 rated it liked it
Oh what a sad, little, tragic book. While the plot was somewhat predictable (angst, fights, death), I must admit to really enjoying descriptions of the Adirondacks and forestry and the love of outdoors. This author was almost poetic in his descriptions of scenes and sounds and smells of that magical part of NY. And his forestry was spot on, which in epilogue I found out he worked closely with a northwoodsman... so kudos for not watering down the hard life of folks who choose to live off the land ...more
Feb 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautifully written book that I enjoyed very much. The descriptions of the North Country and the lifestyle there was very interesting. Having lived in the South all my life, it made me want to visit and see the wonders of the Adirondack Park for myself. The characters were well developed and I loved the way it's written from each characters point of view and how all the events tied together.

Although from the very beginning Susan Hazen lets us know that there will be a death
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