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Recessional
 
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James A. Michener
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Recessional

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  760 Ratings  ·  87 Reviews
One of the world's most revered & best-loved novelists, Michener is now one of America's most respected senior citizens. His latest novel, set in the Palms, a Florida retirement center, follows the humorous, moving, & often triumphant stories of its residents.
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published November 17th 1998 by Random House Publishing Group (first published 1994)
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(showing 1-30)
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Paula Dembeck
Michener is known for his beautiful writing and his grand historical epics. This, his last novel is very different, written towards the end of his life when obviously there were important things on his mind.

Andy Zorn is a young disgraced obstetrician working in Chicago. We meet him as he is packing his bags and heading south. He is despondent after a nasty divorce and the realization that he can no longer afford the increased premiums for his liability insurance,the result of losing two fraudule
...more
John Rachel
Feb 28, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Why did I ever read James Michener? Or maybe his earlier works were more engaging. I rank this with his "The Drifters", a pathetic attempt by an out-of-touch, ivory-tower, middle-aged author at capturing the spirit of the hippie days.
Susan
Mar 20, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This book was published in 1994. It takes on a number of ethical issues that were relatively new to the country at the time: AIDS, euthanasia, living wills, and elder abuse, among others. Since they are no longer new topics these days, it's hard to decide how I'd have felt about the book if I'd read it then. Now, it seems rather dated. Also dated is Michener's casual use of the word "retarded" ("But only a retarded reader would have failed to understand ...", p. 165).

But my main complaint with t
...more
Nicole
Apr 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Nicole by: Joan J.
This is the first Michener book I've ever read, and I really liked it. Reading about the day-to-day life and workings of an assisted living facility was very interesting. I will definitely read other Michener books in the future based on how much I liked this one.
Dave Jones
Nov 12, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Teresa Hall
Jul 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have had this book around for many years, yet when I picked it up this week, I sped through it.

I love James Mitchener, although in general I have to be in the mood to tackle one of his sweeping tomes. Recessional was different. It is a tighter story than his general sweeping tale of a place (think Tales of the South Pacific or Hawaii). The story of a doctor running from his profession due to lawsuits and high insurance premiums, it becomes a panorama of an upscale Florida retirement community.
...more
Ashley
Sep 22, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes I think Michener wrote these enormous books so he could write essays on modern problems. This is no exception, but it was still an excellent book. The setting is a retirement home near Tampa in 1993. The mostly wealthy residents' discussion of the state of health care could have been plucked from today's conversations. The compassionate treatment of AIDS and Alzheimer's patients and euthanasia were discussed at length. Michener is ambivalent about the morality of euthanasia, but sees l ...more
Jeff
Apr 08, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
On first glance,even a Michener book on the American health care system,via an expensive 'nursing home'doesn't look like a page turner.However with his skill and peerless research it turns into a very human and involving story.The centrepiece of the book is mortality,and how the government (most governments)dictate how we all meet our end,if we end up 'institutionalised' in the system.Michener is very balanced,but in the end sways very much toward Euthanasia,in my opinion.As for narrative,his ch ...more
Wilma Eichler
Vintage Michener

A novel by one of my favorite authors. Not sure how I missed this book. 4 stars only because parts are dated, but the gist of the book makes me wonder if it had any part in the decisions he made in his own life. When I was working as a dialysis nurse, it was reported that James Michener, then in his 90's, was in renal failure and was receiving dialysis. I read that he did not want to continue his life in this manner so got his affairs in order, then stopped his dialysis, dying ab
...more
Steve
Jan 05, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found many parallels in this book with my own life, as my father is medical director at an assisted living facility. I believe this is the first Michener work I've ever read, though I've had many of them close at hand for years. Texas, Hawaii, Alaska and others would have been more likely to have been my first Michener picks, but I was not dis-satisfied that fate allowed Recessional to be my introduction to the works of James Michener.

Recessional is James Michener's last novel and it seems obv
...more
Wilma Eichler
Aug 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A novel by one of my favorite authors. Not sure how I missed this book. 4 stars only because parts are dated, but the gist of the book makes me wonder if it had any part in the decisions he made in his own life. When I was working as a dialysis nurse, it was reported that James Michener, then in his 90's, was in renal failure and was receiving dialysis. I read that he did not want to continue his life in this manner so got his affairs in order, then stopped his dialysis, dying about 2 weeks late ...more
Chuck
I read this book back in the mid-nineties and was surprised when it was published because my favorite author at that time was nearing ninety and living in a Tampa area nursing home. I recall much of this because I was living very close to this location on the causeway between Tampa and Clearwater. This was not his last publication, but it was, appropriately his last novel. This epic also was not Michener's most entertaining effort, but it was insightful and thoughtful and gave a realistic look i ...more
Phyllis
Nov 19, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For those of us who wonder what a retirement facility is, this is a definitive explanation (expose?). This one is set in the Tampa Bay region of Florida, and has three sections: (A) Fully ambulatory (can drive, etc.), in a full apartment, with an option to eat one meal per day in a communal dining room; (B) Assisted living (needs some help); (C) "Health Center" (bedridden/hospice). It focuses on a new director, who is a very likable doctor from Illinois but cannot practice in Florida. Included a ...more
Grandma Mush
A good read and very timely for me. Friends are moving into a retirement home and I have a home in a senior community. This book encompasses situation from both places because it deals with the residents and new director of a large retirement complex. There was just enough story line to keep it like a novel rather than a documentary but I do think the ending was unsatisfactory. Too many people were killed off. Now I know in communities like these people die but these were often unusual deaths. T ...more
Dianna
Oct 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone who is over 40 or has parents over 60.
James Michener outdid himself this time. Unlike some of his epic length novels, which I have difficulty finishing because of time constraints, this one is more managable at about 500 pgs. The story is very captivating and the characters have a broad range of qualities that make them very believable. This is a must read.
Patricia Joynton
Jul 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
OK, perhaps Michener is not the most poetic author of all time, but this was an interesting book which covered many of the problems of aging and retirement centers. It was full of the background stories of the people in the center, as well as the story of the main character, Dr. Zorn, who was the director of the center. I think this book was well written and interesting to me.
Dave Moyer
Jul 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I haven't visited with Michener for a while and realized how much I missed his writing. This is a very solid effort about a Florida Retiremen/Health care facility, the people associated with it, and the complex medical and policy issues at the time of its writing in the early 90's.
Trey Geyer
Jul 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent passage of life

Life of people as they near the end of their days with joy sadness and wisdom. True portrayal of the prejudice and issues of aging with dignity.
Dan Evans
Mar 26, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2014
A good subject poorly done. Characters much too plastic.
Steff Kraynak
Jul 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As someone who works in a retirement community very similar to the Palms, I fell in love with this work!

Michener was tedious in his research. He definitely nailed down the innerworkings of an independent living retirement community in terms of finance, medicine, and common complaints (especially the dining and parking)!

I notice that some movies or books that focus on seniors sometimes overemphasize the memories of the character, the things that they did when they were young, over the person they
...more
Sandi
Jul 14, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The first thing I have to say is that I am a HUGE Michener fan. Have all his books in hardcover and have read most of them several times. I can't believe it took me a week to wade through this book, and even then, I skimmed the last few chapters. Boring, and totally not worth my time, I'm very sad to say, cause I was thrilled to come across a Michener title I'd never heard of in a used book store. SOOO disappointed. I don't have anything else to say about this book.
Melissa
Written in 1994, and a bit dated, Michener writes about a continuing care center in Florida. It reminds me of the one my mother loves in in North Carolina. In this book, the reader meets the staff, medical team and residents. Policy, procedures and financially sound investing is a realty. It is also a growing business caring for aging adults, whose family members expect and demand exceptional care that includes safety, compassion, dignity, and an appealing environment.
Rebecca Wilkins
Jun 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Interesting book about a retirement home in Florida.
Frances Philpott
Enjoyed it very much one of the best Michener books I have read!
Doris Jean
Everyone should read it, not only for the enjoyment of the good story, but also to deeply think individually about our own aging and our own mortality. The author was contemplating his own failing health while he was kept alive by kidney dialysis. After doing his research and considering his own options, he decided to move into an up-scale facility in Florida. While he lived there and contemplated his own "recession" from life, he wrote this, his last book: "Recessional".

The protagonist is a law
...more
H. Schussman
Jan 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've always been a fan of Michener's, but this one certainly doesn't fit his typical historical epic tales. I found it to be dated to some degree, but that's to be expected. A lot of what he grapples with is now old news... Aides, euthanasia, etc. We have developed ways of coping with them in new ways that make this novel seem archaic at times.

That being said, the process of aging in this type of setting is still very modern and relevant. I've worked in assisted-living and skilled nursing for th
...more
John Harder
Michener takes a departure from his usual historical tome. Recessional takes us to a Tampa-based retirement community. Therein we delve into the lives of a young doctor, his young patient and a crew of Methuselahs. This is not the most heady environment for a pot boiler. Will the Alzheimer’s victim forget where he put his glasses, will a catheter dislodge and leave a mess; we are left on pins and needles throughout the novel. Recessional has its qualities. It tries to be inspiring and sometimes ...more
Luisa
Apr 24, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
The characters in this book were all really appealing, and I really liked the retirement community setting. There were a lot of interesting story lines, as well. But I have to say, quite a bit of the dialogue was pretty strange and unnatural. A few other things seemed unrealistic, such as the fact that the main character in the book, a doctor, didn't really know about AIDS and Alzheimer's Disease before working at The Palms. Ok, I know that in the 90s (and still today) we knew very little about ...more
Angelie
finally! im done reading this book. and i must say, its beyond good reads... its a must read... very profound. very inspiring. very good! amazing! captivating! the characters were charming and lovable. i love the tertulias, andy zorn, betsy, the mallory's, mr.muley dugan and his wife who has alzheimers, nora varney, ken krenek, reverend quade, berta umlauf and almost everyone... i just dislike mr. hasslebrook... hehe... mr. michener approached death with ease but with a big impact to the heart o ...more
Stanley
Sep 27, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one Michener book I missed - it is not as long as most of his novels - but as usual, when you are done reading his story you feel like you know every single thing there is to know about the subject. (haha) In this case it is a retirement home in Florida and the staff and residents weave the story of retirement home managment, aging, health care, and dying with dignity all neatly together the way Michener does with his chosen cast of characters. It was an interesting and easy read. Picked ...more
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James Albert Michener is best known for his sweeping multi-generation historical fiction sagas, usually focusing on and titled after a particular geographical region. His first novel, Tales of the South Pacific , which inspired the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific, won the 1948 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

Toward the end of his life, he created the Journey Prize, awarded annually for t
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“government is very lax. None of their people want the hassle, so the old folks keep driving until you read about it in the paper:” 0 likes
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