The Long and Faraway Gone: A Novel Audio CD – Unabridged, 6 July 2021
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- Publisher : HarperCollins B and Blackstone Publishing; Unabridged edition (6 July 2021)
- Language : English
- Audio CD : 1 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1094063460
- ISBN-13 : 978-1094063461
- Dimensions : 13.21 x 14.48 cm
- Customer Reviews:
"The Long and Faraway Gone is that rare literary gem--a dark...cool noir novel that is both deeply poignant, and very funny...As hip, hilarious, and entertaining as it is wrenching, beautiful, and ultimately redemptive."-- "Huffington Post"
About the Author
Lou Berney is the author of two previous novelsWhiplash River, nominated for the Edgar Award; Gutshot Straight, a Barry Award nominee, and the collection The Road to Bobby Joe, and Other Stories. He is also a television and film screenwriter whose latest credit is Angels Sing, which debuted at SXSW, and stars Harry Connick Jr., Connie Britton, and Willie Nelson. His short fiction has appeared in the New Yorker, Ploughshares, and the Pushcart Prize Anthology, among other publications. He teaches writing at the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma City University, and lives in Oklahoma City.
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Top reviews from Australia
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I was eager to read his newly released third book, The Long and Faraway Gone .
Summer of 1968. Oklahoma City. Six employees of a small movie theatre are brutally executed. Inexplicably, the seventh staff member is spared. That same summer, a teenage girl disappears from the state fair - her body is never found.
Twenty five years later, Genevieve's sister Julianna is still pursuing the case and looking for her sister on her own. The lone survivor of the movie theatre killings is now a private investigator who has renamed himself Wyatt.
Initially, it was the mysteries in the The Long and Faraway Gone that intrigued me - why was Wyatt spared? Did Genevieve leave town on her own or was she taken? Yes, those questions are the basis of Berney's plot, but it is the exploration of the past and the search for those answers that was the standout for this reader.
I mentioned that the characters and dialogue captured me in a previous book of Berneys. The same is true in The Long and Faraway Gone. From the opening pages, I was drawn in to Berney's story. His prose are easy,engaging and definitely entertaining. Berney has a quirky sense of humour, but is just as adept in bringing the poignant moments to the page as well. Loss on many levels for almost every character is a theme running throughout the book. There are many supporting characters that were fully fleshed out. I really enjoyed Candace - a woman who inherits a bar in Oklahoma City that ties into the past as well. I almost wish I knew what life held for her 'after'.
Berney himself lives and works in Oklahoma City. His first hand knowledge shows in the descriptions of time and place.
The final whodunit reveals are really good, but the journey there is even better. I'll be watching for Berney's next book. (and one last note - I really liked this cover.)
Top reviews from other countries
Lou Berney does a superb job of bringing Wyatt and Julianna to life. They became characters who I soon started to care about, people whose lives had been battered and scarred by their experiences, and I wanted them to succeed in their individual quests to seek some kind of resolution to the traumatic events in their earlier lives. It's also worth mentioning that there are a number of interesting, sometimes eclectic peripheral characters in this story who, dip in and out of the narrative, but each have their role to play in this cracking story. This is written by a relatively young author who is at the top of his game. Don't hesitate, get your hands on a copy ASAP. I've already placed my orders for Gutshot Straight, and the sequel, Whiplash River......
TOP TIP: If you don't like to read Kindle books, and you're on a tight budget, consider purchasing some of your novels second-hand from the independent booksellers on Amazon. I purchased this book in 'very good condition' for less than half the RRP (inc. p&p). It arrived a week later direct from the USA, and it turned out to be a signed copy in almost perfect condition!
Lou Berney is the latest queue jumper to make me sit up and go green with envy. His wonderful novel 'November Road' a few months ago sent me straight to Amazon to order his previous books. That can sometimes be a bit of a gamble because early novels in an author's portfolio don't always have the polish and self assurance of those that follow, but 'The Long and Faraway Gone' certainly bucks that trend. I know it's an easy thing for reviewers to trot out but if I didn't find this book impossible to put down and didn't really stay up all night to read it in one sitting, I certainly found myself trying to wring enough time from a busy schedule to squeeze in another chapter.
I shan't rehash the plot here because there are plenty of places a reader can find that sort of guide. What I will say is that, for all that one of its strands feels a little rushed in its resolution, it is multi-layered and masterfully controlled. The characters are so real you take them away with you every time you put the book down, and the dialogue is pitch perfect. I loved the humour in it, not just because it made me laugh out loud on occasions but principally because it was subtle - no finger pointing, 'here comes the punchline', just lovely, witty throwaway remarks and one-liners.
I still have 'Gutshot Straight' to read and will look forward to that with an even greater sense of anticipation. Definitely recommend this to anyone who loves quality writing and an intriguing mystery!
Then... (**Spoiler Alert**)
Oh dear. The last 40 pages tie everything up neatly, with just a few pages devoted to each loose end. And in no direction that you would expect. The premise for both the conclusions are a suddenly remembered phrase, followed by a quick google of the person involved, then an almost instant confession of guilt, completely volunteered.
Did the author just realise he had only 40 pages left, and hadn't thought of the end?
I have to say it was so tame, weak and disappointing in the last 10%, particularly as the first 90% was so good.
There are tentative connections between the two main characters, otherwise they both have their own ‘mysteries’ to solve around individual catastrophes that occurred 26 years previously.
Wyatt is a private investigator, returning to his home town of Oklahoma City, to investigate a harassment case. 26 years ago he was the only survivor of a theatre massacre there, when he was 15. He has been plagued with thoughts of why he survived and takes the opportunity to look into this matter and put his mind to rest.
Julianna was 12 when her beloved sister, Genevieve, disappeared without trace from a fairground in the City. Julianna has spent the last 26 years searching for her sister or for information that may locate her.
This is a literary novel- don’t expect thrills or excitement- relax with the well written puzzle of the storyline and the dark humour of the characters. Ultimately, readers will be drawn into wondering if Wyatt and Julianna can find closure on their pasts.
So, not so bad a find then, but the finish, to both stories! Ridiculous, incredible, unbelievable, absurd… or whatever you’re having yourself! Characters suddenly appearing who we had previously known little or nothing about! Our intrepid investigators inexplicably glimpsing lights that they should have been dazzled with 400 pages earlier! Full and frank confessions then being made by hitherto invisible miscreants, and under little or no duress!
My understanding of a literary novel is that the plot is secondary to the quality of the writing, but if it wasn’t that, and if the plot really mattered, The Long and Faraway Gone was grievously let down by its ending(s).