Kathy 's Reviews > The Long and Faraway Gone

The Long and Faraway Gone by Lou Berney
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One of those books that you ask yourself why you didn't read as soon as you laid your hands on it! Having now read The Long and Faraway Gone by Lou Berney, I am wowed by its brilliant writing and unique story. Berney has taken two tragic events and shown readers how loss and survival can become overwhelming definitions to a life, a life lived in the shadow of enormous loss and guilt of survival. Answers to the "why" of tragedy often plague those left behind and prevent connection with the life left to live. So it is for the two main characters of this novel, Wyatt and Julianna, survivors of two separate tragedies, but seekers of answers to why.

The summer of 1986 in Oklahoma City was the scene of one of those tragic events that become a landmark of time, when people remember where they were in their life at the time of a certain crime or horrendous act. On a hot August night, a movie theater is robbed and six employees, five of them teenagers, are left behind dead from an execution style shooting. Miraculously, there is also one survivor in the carnage of death and despair, one teenage boy who escapes the fate of his friends and co-workers. The lone survivor as well as the senseless deaths baffle those faced with solving this crime. It's nothing to how survival baffles the lone survivor, who ends up moving away from Oklahoma City, changing his name, and putting a twenty-five year distance between the scene of his living nightmare and his newly adopted life. . That the three murders were caught up with only a couple of months after the killings and were themselves killed in a shoot-out with law enforcement does nothing to answer Wyatt's big "why."

But, twenty-five years later, Wyatt has created a successful life for himself as a private investigator, living in Las Vegas and keeping that distance between his present and his past intact. Then, he agrees to take on a case before he realizes that the case is in Oklahoma City and that he will have to travel there to deal with it. As the person who has asked him to take the case is a major source of his investigation cases, Wyatt feels he has no choice but to honor his agreement. From the moment Wyatt returns to the city that forever marked his life, the memories, both good and horrendous, pull at him and beg to be given attention, and the "why" question that has shaped his life of surface existence demands answers. Working the case for his Las Vegas connection and re-examining the past will bring pain and danger that will require Wyatt to call on every skill of survival he has.

There was another tragic occurrence for another young person in the waning days of the summer of 1986 in Oklahoma City, and while it didn't garner the attention of a mass murder scene, it too would affect the life of a survivor and sentence her to a lonely existence of wondering and wanting answers. Julianna was just twelve when her seventeen-year-old sister Genevieve disappeared at the Oklahoma State Fair when the two sisters were attending together, and no trace of Genevieve was ever found. Julianna has so many questions she needs answers to, including why Genevieve left her alone to go seek out a carney and why she never came back for her. Working as a nurse in Oklahoma City twenty-five years later, Julianna, too, has made a decent life for herself, although her life, like Wyatt's, is devoid of any real closeness to others. When Julianna learns that the now ex-carney, who was the first suspect in her sister's disappearance, has returned to Oklahoma City, Julianna digs in her efforts to have her questions answered, whatever the cost.

The two stories that Lou Berney tells never seem to be abrupt changes from one story to another, as Wyatt and Julianna are forever connected through their loss and their search for answers, the all-consuming "why" of their lives. And, what is so heart-wrenching for these characters becomes so real for the readers, as Lou Berney makes the reader feel the loss of lives cut short, what might have been but never was. The characters never become pitiful or whinny or annoying in their need for answers. Some losses are harder to move on from than others, especially those with such mysterious loss of resolution. The author flawlessly blends past and present into a hauntingly fascinating story that is easily one of my favorite reads this year.

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Quotes Kathy Liked

Lou Berney
“Sometimes the near seemed far, far away and the faraway was right beneath your feet.”
Lou Berney, The Long and Faraway Gone

Reading Progress

June 14, 2016 – Started Reading
June 14, 2016 – Shelved
June 16, 2016 – Shelved as: crime-thriller
June 16, 2016 – Shelved as: favorites
June 16, 2016 – Shelved as: favorite-covers
June 16, 2016 – Shelved as: favorite-authors
June 16, 2016 – Shelved as: great-titles
June 16, 2016 – Shelved as: highly-recommend
June 16, 2016 – Shelved as: mystery
June 16, 2016 – Shelved as: series
June 16, 2016 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-1 of 1 (1 new)

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James Thane This is one of my favorite books of the last year or so. I'll look forward to your extended comments.

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