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Tiny Americans

4.44  ·  Rating details ·  34 ratings  ·  18 reviews
From the National Bestselling author of The Boat Runner comes a poignant, luminous novel that follows one family over decades and across the world—perfect for fans of the film Boyhood.

Western New York, 1978: Jamie, Lewis, and Connor Thurber watch their parents’ destructive dance of loving, hating, and drinking. Terrance Thurber spends this year teaching his children about
Paperback, 256 pages
Published March 12th 2019 by Harper Perennial
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4.44  · 
Rating details
 ·  34 ratings  ·  18 reviews

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Angela M
Jan 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars .

There’s a pervasive sadness from the beginning, many times depressing as these characters struggle to make sense of their lives after a traumatic childhood in a house filled with alcohol and arguments . Most of the story is set in Olean, NY, a small city in in upstate NY. It happens to be a two hour drive from where I live and I’ve been there several times, but I couldn’t say I knew the place. It wasn’t until I read this book that I really felt I was there. With prose as beautiful as
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Tiny Americans is my favorite kind of story. A quiet family saga, one where we follow these people over decades witnessing each of them come of age in their own way. ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

The story begins in 1978. The Thurber family lives in Western New York. Three children, one female, two males (Jamie, Lewis, and Connor), along with their parents, Catrin and Terrance. The parents’ marriage is dysfunctional, an all-too-often push-pull with a side of drinking.

There are moments of beauty where the father ta
Becca Sheade
Sep 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book pulled all the heart stings. The writing is gritty and real and earnestly likened to a combo of Earnest Hemingway and John Irving. MMQ, Harper Perrennial and Murphy did a GORGEOUS job with this novel.
Dec 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"People shift from one place to another too fast, coming and going from everywhere. The whole country seemed to offer up people made to feel small by one thing or another. Sun. Space. Each other. Tiny Americans everywhere. Drifting and drifting."

This wonderfully written book is about family - dysfunctional but still family. It's about love and forgiveness and finding yourself in the world. It is told in vignettes by each of the three children in the family over a 40 year time period. The author
Aug 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In TINY AMERICANS, Devin Murphy skillfully weaves a series of vivid, unflinching vignettes into a complex portrait of a family struggling with alcoholism, abandonment, and anger. Each snapshot is an astute character study, exposing the desires and vulnerabilities of the family members as they fall apart from one another and forge new lives. Epic in scope, TINY AMERICANS is a poignant examination of the ties that bind a family, and how enduring those ties may be.
Kate Olson
(free review copy) My husband and I both ADORED Murphy's last book, the WWII novel "The Boat Runner", and I was floored by how expertly he managed to switch gears and write something completely different but equally excellent. "Tiny Americans" is a modern family story told in vignettes from different viewpoints over the course of decades. It is quiet, at times incredibly sad, and so touching. If you know too well how fractured families can be and how tiny moments of connection can mean the world ...more
Sam Sattler
"Tiny Americans" is the story of the Thurber family (husband, wife, two boys, one girl) that is coming apart at the seams despite the best hopes of all involved. As the three children helplessly observe the daily doings of their parents, it is soon apparent that nothing can keep their parents together forever. It is only a matter of time before the family will officially and legally become a broken one, but life has to go on in the meantime.

Sadly, this is a family that did not simply split into
Nov 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Murphy weaves together powerful episodes in the lives of the Thurber family. The space between chapters where loose threads are left to our imagination speaks as much as the events that shape these three characters. It is an honest, sometimes brutal, and often touching book. Each chapter is self-contained and compelling. Cumulatively, the book captures the most vulnerable moments of the Thurbers' lives. They fumble and scatter when their family collapses and then are faced, as we all are, with q ...more
Vicki Carbone
Feb 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I the began this novel, I assumed that the Tiny Americans of the title were the Thurber children, the chief protagonists and narrators of the tale. It soon became clear that the story of the Thurbers, as children, was the mere tip of the iceberg. It is not until I had nearly reached the end of the novel that Devin Murphy pushed me to my epiphany. "The whole country," he writes, "seemed to offer up people made to feel small by one thing or another. Sun. Space. Each other. Tiny Americans ever ...more
Dec 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Devin Murphy is the author of The Boat Runner which I really like. I’m really not sure how I feel about this book. The Thurber family is close to being dysfunctional. The three young children love their parents but because of alcoholism and abandonment they eventually feel resentment and anger. Told over a period of 40 years in little snippets of their life they try to move on and not look back. Not easy to do. The author tells the story leaving blanks for the reader to fill in. The story focuse ...more
Feb 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc-for-review
Devin Murphy is in a category all on his own as a writer. His prose is magnetic and he did something with this novel that is very difficult. He left gaps in the characters’ lives to allow the readers to fill in the blanks. And he executed that well enough that we could. This is a story of a family, torn apart by choices, and how each went their own way and how they ended up. It has a feel of The Immortalists, which was a 2018 standout for me. And this story proves how versatile Murphy is as a wr ...more
Christine Cheripka
Tiny Americans is the epitome of the dysfunctional family or is it the epitome of the Modern Family?...the Thurber Family is father, mother and three children....the parents have issues that carry through to the children's younger years to their adult lives .... Tiny Americans is the story of their five lives and the decisions they all make along the way....Are we able to escape the past or are we all grown up versions of our past? I won this book on Goodreads and if you like to peer into the mi ...more
Kim McGee
Jan 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Three kids try to figure out their world and survive the toxic relationship between their alcoholic parents in upstate New York. Their dad tries to share some knowledge of nature before he gives up and leaves the family for good. Surprisingly, the three siblings grow up to be somewhat normal. One runs off to join the Navy, one goes onto college and into teaching, the last one gets a job, gets married and raises a family. Each of the kids continues to deal with the aftermath of dad leaving them, ...more
Reading Fool
Feb 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: giveaways, 2019
I received an Advance Reader's Copy of this book.

This is a beautiful, heartbreaking, and ultimately uplifting novel about the Thurber family: parents Terrance and Catrin, and their children Jamie, Lewis, and Connor. The story opens in 1978, when Terrance takes his young children hiking in the woods of western New York state to teach them to appreciate nature. Terrance eventually leaves his family to move out west, and this book is an account of how this abandonment affects each Thurber family me
Feb 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book tells the story of the Thurber family across decades. The characters are all complex & fighting demons, coping with decisions and life events. Although the stories are connected they are short snippets- probably the only reason I can't give this one 5 stars. When a story is done the reader is left wondering about resolution. All in all the book is beautifully written and the reader feels as if they could be a member of this family.
Leah DeCesare
Feb 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 17scribes
Rich with symbols and metaphors, Tiny Americans swells with sadness and poignant emotion. A novel of snapshots, we see key moments in the lives of each member of one family as they fragment yet link together. Birds and bones and blues, Murphy conveys a deep observation of character and humanity.
Csimplot Simplot
Dec 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book!!!
Ben Wheatley
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Devin Murphy is the nationally bestselling author of The Boat Runner and Tiny Americans. His fiction has appeared in more than sixty literary journals and anthologies, including The Missouri Review, Glimmer Train, and Confrontation. He is an Associate Professor at Bradley University and lives in Chicago with his wife and kids.
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