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The Long and Faraway Gone: A Novel Paperback – 23 February 2015
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- Publisher : Avon US (23 February 2015)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 464 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0062292439
- ISBN-13 : 978-0062292438
- Dimensions : 13.49 x 2.67 x 20.32 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 242,957 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
"Focused, very insightfully, on love, loss, and memory . . . fully realized creations that readers won't soon forget. A genuinely memorable novel of ideas."--Booklist (starred review)
"Will raise a lump in the throat . . . the leads' struggles are portrayed with painful complexity, and Berney, fittingly, avoids easy answers."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"The Long and Faraway Gone is that rare literary gem -- a dark, quintessentially 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
"Berney takes you places you're not sure you want to go and brings you out again with a sure hand. It's a satisfyingly complete deep-dive into a complicated history, with not only suspense but a compelling resolution."--Carrie La Seur, author of The Home Place
"Multi-faceted, layered, intense, alive--if you read only one crime novel this year, this should be the one."--Sara J. Henry, Anthony Award-winning author of A Cold and Lonely Place
"With sharp wit and prose that brings the 80s to life in all its stone-washed glory, Lou Berney tells a complex story of characters struggling to make sense of life . . . Affecting, funny, and unfailingly honest, The Long and Faraway Gone is an extraordinary book."--M.P. Cooley, author of Ice Shear
"So much to love here . . . easy to read yet difficult to forget. . . Berney is a mighty fine wordsmith whose name should be mentioned more often than it is during discussions of new bright lights in the literary world."--Bookreporter.com
"This is crime fiction at its absolute best . . . deeply insightful and beautifully written . . . squarely in the ranks of powerhouses such as Lippman and Lehane."--Crimespree Magazine
"A tour de force built around two tragedies ripped from the headlines of this newspaper . . . should top the bestseller lists in our local bookstores, but is deserving of national acclaim."--Oklahoma City Oklahoman
"The two key players in Lou Berney's superb regional mystery suffer from separate but equally crushing cases of survivor guilt . . . Berney tells both their stories with supreme sensitivity, exploring the 'landscape of memory' that keeps shifting beneath our feet."--Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review
From the Back Cover
In the summer of 1986, two tragedies rocked Oklahoma City. Six movie-theater employees were brutally killed in an armed robbery. Then a teenage girl vanished from the annual state fair. Neither crime was ever solved.
Twenty-five years later, the reverberations of those unsolved cases continue to echo through the lives of those devastated by the crimes. Wyatt, the one teenage employee who inexplicably survived the movie-theater massacre, is now a private investigator in Las Vegas. A case unexpectedly brings him back to a hometown and a past he's tried to escape--and drags him deeper into the harrowing mystery of the movie-house robbery that left six of his friends dead.
Like Wyatt, Julianna struggles with the past--specifically the day her beautiful older sister, Genevieve, disappeared at the fair. When Julianna discovers that one of the original suspects has resurfaced, she'll stop at nothing to find answers.
As Wyatt's case becomes more complicated and dangerous, and Julianna seeks answers from a ghost, their obsessive quests not only stir memories of youth and first love, but also begin to illuminate dark secrets of the past. Even if they find the truth, will it help them understand what happened and why they were left behind that long and faraway gone summer? Will it set them free--or ultimately destroy them?
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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).