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The Summer Guest

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  4,067 Ratings  ·  609 Reviews
On an evening in late summer, the great financier Harry Wainwright, nearing the end of his life, arrives at a rustic fishing camp in a remote area of Maine. He comes bearing two things: his wish for a day of fishing in a place that has brought him solace for thirty years, and an astonishing bequest that will forever change the lives of those around him.

From the battlefield
Paperback, 369 pages
Published May 31st 2005 by Dial Press (first published January 1st 2004)
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Sep 02, 2008 rated it liked it
I had Justin Cronin as a professor and he was pretty great. He gave these quizzes to make sure you did the reading, but they would be really really easy. You would know the answers right away if you read, but wouldn't have a clue if you didn't. I got a 100 on all of them. Once, however, I was staring into space waiting for the next question. I honestly wasn't looking at anything. I caught Justin's eye, and realized I had been staring right at someone else's paper. He immediately made an announce ...more
Jul 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-audible
I wish that I liked vampire books because I sure love the way this author writes. I recently finished Mary and O’Neil and now The Summer Guest. Both novels were structured in a similar manner. This eloquent, spare and poignant book evokes a strong sense of place as Cronin introduces the reader to an interconnected group of residents and visitors at a summer camp in Maine. All the characters were well developed, likable and their relationships with each other were tender and loving. Even though o ...more
Apr 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is my first Justin Cronin novel, and I loved his writing. I will say, though, I started this a couple of weeks ago and I just couldn't do it. It was too wordy. I tabled it for later. I'm glad I did because once I started this again, I gained an appreciation for his descriptive style. He didn't simply describe something, but he added an extra layer of description and then sometimes another layer. Because the descriptions were so rich, the people and the place were vivid.

The characters had a
Feb 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: nearly everyone
I am delighted to read the reviews about this book on Good Reads. I agree with almost everything that's been said: the Maine setting; the deep and abiding affection through the generations---both to a place and to people; the decency of all of the characters. It's pretty close to perfect.
switterbug (Betsey)
Feb 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
It is so rare to read a book that has not one boring page in it. This is an elegantly written family saga and suspenseful tale which is visually stunning and emotionally riveting. Polished, immersing, unputdownable. I wanted in. I wanted to leap into the novel--literally! and connect with the characters personally. There are times it brought me to my knees.

This is an author who braids craft with art without sacrificing one for the other. Cronin controls his story and characters with a fierce ye
Jun 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A friend of mine gave me this book and said she really liked it. The book was a little wrinkled because she got it wet in the bathrub. I could not put this book down and found myself reading it in the tub also.

This book alternates chapters between characters - which I love. The descriptions of Maine made me want to go there and find a camp just like this one. The story made me laugh and tear up some. I know I have read an excellent book when that happens.

I have not seen this book advertised or r
Dec 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
Another good Justin Cronin book. About relationships - this time, father and daughter. His books are such a pleasure to read because he has this way with words that is mesmerizing. Here's an example worth reading:
"I had a dog once - what a dog he was! A retriever with something else mixed in, a breed that liked to work and herd: Australian shepherd, maybe, or collie. I named him Mauritz, though Hal called him Ritzy and it stuck. Ritzy the dog. A steadfast member of the team, as relentless as a m
Jun 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
If I ever write a book, I hope I write half as well as Justin Cronin. I love his style, the way he puts words together. That is what struck me first.

Next, I became intrigued by the story, which was revealed bit by bit. It was like looking at a series of pictures and hearing a story about each one.

But last and best, I fell in love with the people. It's hard to even call them characters. I wanted to know them forever. I want to go and stay in one of the cabins and eat breakfast in the lodge and wa
Jun 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I knew I liked Cronin because his The Passage series is right up there in my top five favorites. When I absolutely love a book/series, I tend to start reading other books by the same author with a little trepidation, merely because the bar has been set so high & I don't want to be disappointed. There was no need for hesitation here. This book is written so well. It moves quickly but is never shallow. I felt for all the characters and it held my interest throughout. In his acknowledgments, Cr ...more
Apr 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Bang! I want no misunderstandings from the very beginning of this review. I loved the crap out of this novel. It wasn't perfect, hence a 4 1/2 star rating (what the heck is?), but pretty damned close.

A very simple story constructed around six complex and diverse characters, linked with some very human and emotional dialog. Think of reuniting with your closest childhood friend, your first true love, or any very special person you haven't seen in years, but still think of often. Think of the thin
JoAnne Pulcino
This is a stunning novel written in 2005. I think it is so breathtaking, everyone should be able to share in its beauty. The story takes place at a rustic fishing camp on the northern tip of Maine, and spans the eras just after World War II and continues through three generations of family and friends. The plot revolves around a wealthy entrepreneur who fell in love with the camp as a young man and revisited it for thirty years. The last trip he makes there is different in that he has come for h ...more
Jul 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
This book is set in a fishing camp in nothern Maine so for location alone I was drawn into the book. However, I also enjoyed the storytelling style. Most of the story is told looking back, and by 5 different characters. I found the transition from their reflections back to the present nearly seamless which I found intriguing just from a writing perspective. In addition, there are mini-stories within the larger novel, each of which can be contemplated individually as well as part of an integrated ...more
A lovely story about three-generations of a family who run a fishing camp in a remote area of Maine. The story unfolds through the points of view of various family members and friends in alternating chapters, utilizing flashbacks to explain what is happening in the present--which is that a sick old man has come back to the camp to die. The main focus of the story is about relationships, especially that between a daughter and her father.
Jul 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle-special, 2017
I love a nice cover and was immediately drawn to this one. I had read The Passage which was a 4 star read but haven't completed the trilogy. This book is nothing like The Passage. The setting is a fishing camp in Maine, the writing is so beautifully descriptive I felt I was right there. It left me wishing I lived there. The elegant writing sucked me in. A family saga told in six point of views from Harry, Joe Sr. Lucy, Kate, Joe Jr. and Jordan in alternating chapters. I enjoy this style of w
Dec 17, 2012 rated it liked it
Solid, yet somewhat predictable plot. My biggest complaint was the names of the characters...Joe, Jordan, Hal, and Harry. It may seem trivial, but when I read a novel like this, I usually peg character names to a picture in my head of that character, but only end up seeing the first couple letters of each name as I'm reading through the novel. So when the four main characters have the same first two letters in their names, I end up getting all the characters confused and the plot gets all muddy. ...more
Jan 04, 2012 rated it liked it
I picked this after reading and loving The Passage. The Summer Guest is quite a different experience than the former, and I'd describe it as a little sleepy. I'm not sure how the story could have been made more exciting, but I don't think it was really meant to be. A lot of the best parts arrive late in the story, and you do find that you care about the characters by that point which certainly makes a different. I'm a little ho-hum about this one in reflection but it was a pleasant read nonethel ...more
May 31, 2010 rated it liked it
I read this book while at camp at Raquette Lake, NY. The story was interesting enough, but what I found more exciting was how the fictional Maine camp was run - guided tours for fishing and hunting, hiking trails, and a dining room where guests could share meals, for example.

How I wanted to buy and renew Risley's Rush Point right then!! It has so much potential. But, it's not my camp (I just rent), and I enjoy not having to do anything but read some books in an Adirondack chair while I'm there.
Jan 21, 2011 rated it liked it
This book is a smooth read; it's generally well written, although Cronin's characters often speak in such cliches that it's hard to believe in it. The end is affecting. However, the book never really rises above the superficial level in terms of the characters, emotions etc. These aren't especially complicated characters, and I didn't come away from this feeling that I had read either a great book or a book with keen insight into the human condition.
Apr 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Good story, liked the location of the book (cabin/woods), enjoyed the characters though you can guess a lot of what will happen.
Jun 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Am loving this book, the characters are so rich.
Justin Nichols
Jun 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
4.7 -- Such a wonderful, eloquent, honest multi-generational character study. Cronin has incredible skill in creating believable, relatable people to fill his novels with, no matter how remarkable or how trite the events surrounding them are.

Overall, The Summer Guest was a grand, adventurous, yet still very earthy dive into these folks' intertwined stories and psyches, rife with rich emotional substance: pain and happiness; regret and purpose. However, I felt a bit shortchanged near the end, wit
Alison Swearingen
Apr 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recommend
I really enjoyed this book, although way different from the author's other stuff I've read. I really felt immersed in the characters lives and it was just the right mix of happy and sad.
Dec 11, 2011 rated it liked it
An old man returning to his summer refuge by the lake to die makes for a good premise and creates a situation that is bound to invoke memories, secrets, past conflicts, and hopefully, resolution.

And we get all that in full measure in this beautifully written novel narrated in four voices: those of the dying man Harry, the summer camp owner Joe who was also a convicted draft dodger, his wife Lucy who was once Harry’s lover, and the young camp guide Jordan. The author shows a remarkable understand
Mollie Weekly
Feb 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved the beginning and middle...

But the ending left me confused and...torn? The end left me with more questions than answers. I wish the author's voice had remained the same. The change in tone and description almost made me think that someone else wrote the ending. I hope this is one of those books that will make sense after some time to think. Perhaps.
Tad Richards
Feb 19, 2017 rated it liked it
I know you can write any damn way you choose, but I believe a first person narrative should have some motivation. Someone is driven to tell a story for a reason. A woman dreams she's gone back to Manderly again, and the haunting vision of that ruined mansion and its ghosts force her to relive that experience. A young woman wants to know what her new boyfriend's life was like when he was out on the road with his friend Dean, so tells her best he can. A boy tells his psychiatrist the story of his ...more
Aug 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
This very touching book by Justin Cronin spans the course of several decades. Each of the four main characters ... Harry Wainwright, Joe Crosby, Jordan Patterson and Lucy Crosby (Joe's wife)tells this poignant story in their own words and from their own perspectives. The story begins with Harry, who is dying of lung cancer, returning to a beautiful spot.... a fishing camp in Maine.. where he has spent nearly all of the summers of his life and which has great personal significance.. for him and e ...more
Arapahoe Libraries
This is a stunning novel written in 2005. I think it is so breathtaking, everyone should be able to share in its beauty. The story takes place at a rustic fishing camp on the northern tip of Maine, and spans the eras just after World War II and continues through three generations of family and friends. The plot revolves around a wealthy entrepreneur who fell in love with the camp as a young man and revisited it for thirty years. The last trip he makes there is different in that he has come for h ...more
Aug 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Prior to embarking on his dystopian, apocalyptic, "vampire" triology, Justin Cronin wrote this excellent love story with some very compelling characters.

It is post-WWII. Harvard graduate and lawyer Joe Crosby returns from WWII with one eye gone and half his face a massive scar. We meet him on the train with his wife and 2-month old baby Joey, as they make their way from Boston, through Portland and August to Waterville, where Joe has to then drive the back roads to the fishing camp he has purch
Jul 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book, sorry I've come to the end, except maybe can get some rest now!!! Andy picked this up at the Jania's a-frame, thanks to Syl for the 'loaner'...First chapter was a little rough,trite. So was another chapter later on and part of another. The rest was outstanding! Made myself put it down so it would last, looked forward to reading time at night so I could pick it up and resume. Reading on the deck one day, sobbed when Harry's wife died (not a spoiler folks, says so in the first cha ...more
Apr 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
After readingThe Passage I wanted to read more of Cronin's work. His writing is emotional without being sappy and so beautifully written I was drawn into the story immediately. This story was simple enough in it's plot; a man has chosen to come back to a much loved fishing camp to die. The story is in the way his story intertwined with that of a group of other people at the camp. Eventhough the story is about how this mans death will change the lives of many, he is not the main character. The ch ...more
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In 2010, Justin Cronin’s The Passage was a phenomenon. The unforgettable tale that critics and readers compared to the novels of Cormac McCarthy, Michael Crichton, Stephen King, and Margaret Atwood became a runaway bestseller and enchanted readers around the globe. It spent 3 months on The New York Times bestseller list. It was featured on more than a dozen “Best of the Year” lists, including Time ...more
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“Real courage is doing the right thing when nobody's looking. Doing the unpopular thing because it's what you believe, and the heck with everybody.” 152 likes
“They say that the moment your life appears before your eyes will be your last, but I'm here to say that it's not so very different when you kiss a woman like Kate, whoever your Kate may be.” 2 likes
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