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600 Hours of Edward Paperback – October 23, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 278 pages
  • Publisher: Riverbend Publishing (October 23, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1606390139
  • ISBN-13: 978-1606390139
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (808 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,371,513 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

A Q&A with Craig Lancaster

Craig Lancaster is the author of two novels,
600 Hours of Edward and The Summer Son, and a short-story collection, Quantum Physics and the Art of Departure.

Question: 600 Hours of Edward grew out of National Novel Writing Month in 2008. How did you knock out a complete novel in just 24 days?

Craig Lancaster: I think the answer lies in time, in two senses. First, when I set to writing 600 Hours, it had been many years since I'd attempted fiction. But in the intervening time, I'd become a much better writer and self-editor because of my professional life as a journalist, and I'd experienced enough to draw a character who was quite unlike me or anyone else I know. Second, I was writing so quickly--nearly 80,000 words in 24 days--that I simply didn't have the luxury of worrying about whether it was good. That was enormously freeing. I just wanted to finish a novel, something I'd never done before. In some significant ways, everything that's happened since has been a bonus.

Q: What did you know about Asperger's Syndrome heading into the book, and what did you learn along the way?

CL: Well, I knew that it was the likely syndrome for the character I had in mind: a guy who is relentlessly devoted to his rituals and for whom shades of gray and social niceties present distinct challenges. Beyond that, I focused the research I did--and it wasn't much--on two things, behaviors and traits. I purposely steered clear of the clinical and diagnostic stuff, because I didn't want to write that kind of book. I wanted Edward to be remarkable because of who he is, not because of his particular disorder. I figured if I stuck to the things he was likely to do and the way he was likely to see the world, I'd draw him properly for the purposes of the story. Thankfully, people who know that world far more intimately than I do have told me that I captured it accurately. That was a big relief, and I'm grateful for all the folks who have continued to educate me about autism.

Q: You didn't initially plan for more than one Edward book, but word is you've since reconsidered.

CL: True. In fact, the first chapter of the sequel, titled Edward Adrift, is in the back of the new edition of 600 Hours of Edward. I maintained for a long time that I'd told the most interesting part of Edward's story, but I was wrong. When you live with someone as long as I've lived with Edward, you see new possibilities. He had more places to go and more people to meet, and once I started tugging at the threads of the new story, it revealed itself nearly as quickly as the first one did. It was really cool to be back inside his head.


--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Review

"It's a spare, elegantly crafted whizz-bang of a book that, on its surface, is as quiet and orderly as Edward Stanton, but underneath, also like Edward, a cauldron of barely repressed rage and desire seeking escape." --Missoula Independent

"Craig Lancaster has created a wonderful character and put him in a memorable story." --The Bookmonger (Barbara Lloyd McMichael)

"This endearing hero deserves the fine ending the author has bestowed on him. The final pages leave the reader wanting to know what happens next for Edward, in his newly acquired red Cadillac." --The Lively Times

"This is a wonderful book. Mr. Lancaster's journey ... into the imaginative pages of fiction was one well taken, for himself, for readers and certainly for the lovingly created Edward Stanton." --Montana Quarterly

"... a nearly perfect combination of traditional literary elements, mixing crowd-pleasing sappiness with indie-friendly subversion, a masterful blend of character and action ..." --Chicago Center for Literature and Photography

More About the Author

Craig Lancaster, a Montana-based novelist, writes stories set in the contemporary American West.

"I have these incredibly vivid memories of visiting Montana with my folks on family vacations, and following my dad, an itinerant laborer who worked in the oil and gas fields when I was a kid," he says. "It was such a vast, beautiful, overwhelming place. From the first time I saw Montana, I wanted to be a part of it."

A couple of years after Lancaster's arrival in the Big Sky State in his mid-30s, he began chasing a long-held dream of writing novels. His debut, "600 Hours of Edward," was first released in 2009 and went on to be selected as a Montana Honor Book and a High Plains Book Award winner. In 2012, it was acquired by Lake Union Publishing and re-released, gaining a whole new cadre of fans.

His follow-up, "The Summer Son," was released in January 2011 by Lake Union Publishing, to similar acclaim. Booklist called the new novel "a classic western tale of rough lives and gruff, dangerous men, of innocence betrayed and long, stumbling journeys to love." It was a Utah Book Award finalist.

Next came "Quantum Physics and the Art of Departure," a collection of short fiction, including pieces Lancaster originally published in Montana Quarterly magazine. That book, released by Missouri Breaks Press, came out in December 2011 and was a 2012 Independent Publishers Book Awards gold medalist and High Plains Book Award finalist.

In April 2013, Edward Stanton, the main character in Lancaster's debut novel, returned in "Edward Adrift," also published by Lake Union Publishing. This book, too, was widely hailed, with veteran Montana journalist David Crisp noting that "with remarkable speed, Mr. Lancaster has made himself into one of Montana's most important writers."

"The Fallow Season of Hugo Hunter," about the dysfunctional relationship between a washed-up boxer and the sportswriter who has covered him for 20 years, will be published in Fall 2014, also by Lake Union Publishing.

Lancaster's work, hailed for its character-driven narratives, delves deeply below the surface, getting at the grit and the glory of lives ordinary and extraordinary.

"It's all too easy to turn people into caricatures, but the truth is, we humans are pretty damned fascinating," Lancaster says. "For me, fiction is a way at getting at truth. I use it to examine the world around me, the things that disturb me, the questions I have about life--whether my own or someone else's. My hope is that someone reading my work will have their own emotional experience and bring their own thoughts to what they read on the page."

Customer Reviews

It is a fascinating story and very well written.
sabrina
It was interesting to have insight into The mind and life of a person who suffers from mental illness.
Simone Ansley
The minute I finished the book, I wanted to start over and read it again.
Dr. Jen

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

88 of 92 people found the following review helpful By Janet Hill on February 1, 2010
Format: Paperback
I could have gone on reading about Edward long after his 600 hours ended. Glued, I ignored all else until I finished--and was sorry it was over, although I think the ending is perfect. Endearing characters, the author's unique voice, and the large-hearted plot still haunt me long after the reading is done. Edward is so real, and I know him so well that he affects my life--in a good way, as do his therapist and his neighbors. 600 Hours of Edward "celebrates life's potential" as John Gardner says that true art should. I highly recommend this book.
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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Lloyd Lofthouse VINE VOICE on November 3, 2009
Format: Paperback
Most books are like seashells, lovely to look at but there are so many seashells that they are easily forgotten. Only a few are like gold. "600 Hours of Edward" is one of those few.

Edward Stanton, the main character in this novel, is thirty-nine and a virgin. He lives alone in a small house in Billings, Montana. His life is `very' routine, and he likes it that way.

I regret one thing after reading "600 Hours of Edward". Why did I give so many other books five stars on Amazon.com when this book was the only one that really deserves them? Maybe it was because I found those other books entertaining. Sad! Now I know that five stars should be reserved for books that go beyond entertaining.

In my defense, I can say that over the decades, I have read thousands of books and less than a handful stick around. Like so many things in this packaged, plastic world, most books are disposable even to our memories.

However, a few novels achieve a depth of intimacy that are priceless. The last time I read a book like that was in the early 1980s. That was "This House of Sky" by Ivan Doig. That book was nominated for the National Book Award.

Now, I want to digress to make a point. I am going to complain about a book that did not invite me in. This book was from a Nobel Prize winning author. In fact, that book evicted me. While I was working toward an MFA in the 1980s, I `had' to read and do an oral examination on Faulkner's, "The Sound and the Fury". That book numbed my mind. I had to struggle to stay awake. I had to read passages repeatedly and still couldn't stay focused. When Faulkner wrote that book, he entered the mind of Benjy, a mentally retarded man with the maturity of a five-year-old. Benjy lived in the past, the present and the future at the same time.
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45 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Robin Cain on January 27, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
600 Hours of Edward is a heartwarming, quirky, funny and delightful debut novel by Craig Lancaster. The main character, Edward Staton, is like no character you'll ever meet and this book leaves you wanting more of him. I truly hated to see the story end. The gist of the story can be found in the other reviews listed here, but the true originality of the writing and character development deserve higher praise. Lancaster's novel is exceptional writing from beginning to end and will leave you wanting more.
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39 of 41 people found the following review helpful By P. Davies on April 13, 2010
Format: Paperback
I really didn't expect to enjoy this book so much. I think I kept putting off reading it because of the title, somewhere in the back of my head thinking it would take me weeks and weeks to read it. However, once I read the first chapter, boom -- I was off and running. I would have plowed through it even faster if not for my kids needing things, sleep, etc.

It's a really great book. Edward is a fascinating character and I cared about him almost right away. Great arc. Well done, Mr. Lancaster.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By PZAZ on January 2, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Hate - Omg the repetition! I really had to force myself to keep reading in the beginning. I was so close to giving up on this book because it really got on my nerves. I understand why it was written that way (OCD) but it was just more than I could take.

Then I fell in love with Edward and his comments really made me laugh. I felt so badly about the way his dad treated him and I wanted to be his friend. So by then, I was hooked.

Towards the end, the detailed descriptions of the Dragnet episodes were just too much once again. I kept thinking they might add something to the plot so I forced myself to read them. Finally, I had to start skipping them to save my sanity.

I was disappointed in the non-ending. What I wanted to find out most was left out and put into his next book about Edward. I absolutely hate when authors do that - I feel cheated out of an ending that the author KNOWS people want to know about a certain situation.

I guess the author thinks it's going to make you buy his next book but with me, it just assures that I will never buy another one of his books because he cares more about making money than completing the story. I invested a lot of hours into this book and I feel that I deserved to find out the answer to a huge question he left unexplained.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By S. Ward on June 5, 2010
Format: Paperback
Thirty-nine-year old Edward Stanton has obsessive compulsive disorder and Asperger's Syndrome. His illness -- the OCD -- is treated with medication and therapy, and the Asperger's is just part of who he is: a bright, funny, methodical man who likes concrete facts and predictable routines. Edward has many abilities, but his rigidity and difficulty communicating with others have kept him from holding down a job. He is supported by his father, a wealthy developer and county commissioner.

Edward is often baffled by other people's behavior, and he vents his frustration by writing letters of complaint. After his complaints to a popular Country-Western singer escalated to the point where he faced legal action, an event later known as "The Garth Brooks Incident," his father decided Edward needed to move out. He now lives in a house his parents purchased and structures his life around careful routines. Edward is sliding into middle age; like T.S. Eliot's J. Edgar Prufrock, he measures out his life in coffee spoons, focusing on quotidian household tasks, errands, visits to his therapist, and his favorite television program, Dragnet.

However, changes are coming. Through his tentative forays into internet dating, his budding friendship with a neighbor -- a single mom recovering from an abusive relationship -- and her 9-year-old son, and a crisis that strikes his family, Edward finds his life changed in ways he'd never expected.

This is not a fast-paced edge-of-your seat kind of story. We're guided through 600 hours of Edward's life, an existence that is defined, in many ways, by repetitive routines. However it is a wonderful character study with several interesting twists. As an Aspergian with OCD, Edward dislikes ambiguity.
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