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Almost Heaven [Kindle Edition]

Chris Fabry
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (237 customer reviews)

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Book Description

2011 ECPA Christian Book Award winner for fiction! 2011 Christy Award Winner for contemporary standalone novel.
Billy Allman is a hillbilly genius. People in Dogwood, West Virginia, say he was born with a second helping of brains and a gift for playing the mandolin but was cut short on social skills. Though he’d gladly give you the shirt off his back, they were right. Billy longs to use his life as an ode to God, a lyrical, beautiful bluegrass song played with a finely tuned heart. So with spare parts from a lifetime of collecting, he builds a radio station in his own home. People in town laugh. But Billy carries a brutal secret that keeps him from significance and purpose. Things always seem to go wrong for him.
However small his life seems, from a different perspective Billy’s song reaches far beyond the hills and hollers he calls home. Malachi is an angel sent to observe Billy. Though it is not his dream assignment, Malachi follows the man and begins to see the bigger picture of how each painful step Billy takes is a note added to a beautiful symphony that will forever change the lives of those who hear it.


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Fabry (Dogwood; June Bug), who writes for children and adults, will certainly delight his ever enlarging fan base with this mesmerizing tale about a man whose gifts are clear to anyone interested in seeing past his obvious outer limitations. Billy Allman, gifted intellectually and especially skilled at playing the mandolin, lives his life as an offering to his divine creator. Billy epitomizes humility as he quietly works to build his own radio station with limited resources and against tremendous spiritual opposition. Day by day, year after year, Billy stays the course despite significant losses that follow him through life. Fabry's story will surprise readers in the best possible way; plot twists unfold and unexpected character transformations occur throughout this tender story of a single gentle soul who chooses to live by faith despite hardship, failure, and disappointment.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Billy Allman has a hard life. His humble home is destroyed and his dog killed by a wall of mud when the poorly constructed dam overlooking their West Virginia valley breaks. His brother dies in Vietnam. His father commits suicide. His mother suffers from Alzheimer’s. His love is unrequited. But Billy goes from Job to Noah when he begins to build a radio station from bits and pieces in his little mining community. Fabry’s inspirational story is narrated in turns by the beleaguered hero and his often-absent guardian angel. With his lyrical style and haunting descriptions, Fabry shows that, with a strong determination and a lot of faith, if you build it, they will listen. --Shelley Mosley

Product Details

  • File Size: 670 KB
  • Print Length: 385 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (September 21, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0045Y235W
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #227,573 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
78 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Almost Heaven- Purpose and Pain October 8, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
My favorite lines from Almost Heaven - "I believe every life has hidden songs that hang by twin threads of music and memory. I believe in the songs that have never been played for another soul. I believe they run between the rocks and along the creekbeds of our lives. These are songs that cannot be heard by anything but the soul."

Author Chris Fabry wrote this story based on the life of my friend Billy Allman, who passed away in Jan 2009. It is a uniquely written and very touching fictional account of the struggles and hardships Billy faced, the supernatural forces going on behind the scenes, and a man living out his purpose strengthened only by his faith in God. It is inspiring to anyone who has a dream, big or small, to serve God with whatever skills, talents, and resources they possess even in the midst of difficult circumstances. We indeed are more than conquerors. Thank you Chris.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Incredibly Beautiful Book October 30, 2010
Format:Paperback
This is a stunningly beautiful novel. You don't have to be a bluegrass aficionado to appreciate this story. Chris Fabry has created a tale that tugged at my heart. The discordant parts of Billy Allman's life song are part of a grander work composed by a Master who places each note with purpose. If only the minor chords were played, it would be a cacophony of noise. The final piece, however, is richer because of, not in spite of, the dissonance. The perspective of Malachi, Billy's unseen angel, adds to the depth and hope of this story, yet even Malachi is limited in his knowledge and understanding of the events impacting Billy. Malachi's musings concerning the incomparable love and grace which God lavishes on humans will make your heart sing.

Although Chris Fabry's books are not written as a series of sequels, they are connected by their setting in Dogwood, West Virginia, and it was a delight to discover a pivotal role played by someeone special from his previous novel, June Bug.

Don't miss this beautiful story. I highly, highly recommend it!
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finding Meaning in Darkness and Imperfection October 22, 2010
By Melanie
Format:Paperback
Every good story has a clear purpose. Thousands of writers crank out worthless junk, and many times their purpose in writing is less than worthy. Sometimes it is just because they couldn't effectively put their vision in words. But any writer who has nothing of importance to him to convey is not worth reading. Chris Fabry is not such a writer. I've read all three of his Dogwood novels (Dogwood, June Bug, Almost Heaven). Almost Heaven is a fresh story, yet classic Fabry. As he did in his previous works, he delves straight into the darkness that many of us struggle with, sometimes alone. My mind went back to reading Dogwood, where I had a bad taste in my mouth through much of it just because of the darkness in many of the characters and their deeds. He wrestles with the question of why. In Almost Heaven, we are introduced to an angel. But even the angel wrestles for a time with the shadow of doubt. The angel is only watching and performing his duty. He doesn't grasp the full picture from the start. All Fabry's characters are flawed and struggling people, sometimes almost excessively so. This has kind of gotten me down as I have plodded through Fabry's books. But I am seeing now what it is that Fabry is trying to convey. In Star Wars, audiences were touched by the redemption of Darth Vader in `Return of the Jedi', but it wasn't until `Revenge of the Sith' that people could see the pain and the darkness behind the man in the black mask. And the redemption is more powerful now. Fabry takes us into the darkness of the failings of humanity because it is the only way to really bring the reader to the point of the story he is driven to tell. In any heartfelt effort by a writer, there are thing with which we will disagree. Read more ›
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good story, but Dogwood and June Bug were better November 6, 2010
Format:Paperback
Chris Fabry writes sweet, character-driven stories. In Almost Heaven, Fabry tells the fictional story of Billy Allman, a West Virginia backwoods native and master mandolin player. It's Billy's dream to run his own radio station, and he pours his heart and soul into making that longing come true. But things always seem to go wrong. Billy's life is fraught with tragedy, from a devastating flood to the tragic loss of his parents to the evil behavior of a father figure. Behind the scenes, the reader catches glimpses of an angel named Malachi who is active in Billy's life, watching over him and protecting him.

Over the past few years, Fabry has been through his own tragedies, and this book captures a message that comes straight from his heart and personal experiences. We don't always know why things happen, but we can always trust in the One who creates beauty from ashes.

I found it interesting that the idea for the character Billy Allman and his radio station is based off the life of a real man. A reader wrote Fabry a letter, telling him about a man who poured his life into serving God and had recently died. I just would like to say, a lot of people didn't know Billy... [But] I know when he walked into heaven yesterday, heaven knew Billy. He was an important person to them.

Chris Fabry's book Dogwood had one of the best twists I've every read. His book June Bug captured my heart and is one of my all-time favorite books. Almost Heaven, although good, didn't capture my heart like his other books. I didn't connect with the characters this time and the plot felt slow. But Fabry is still one of my favorite authors and he writes great stories, and I look forward to his next endeavor.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Enjoyable.
Published 5 days ago by Pauline Creager
5.0 out of 5 stars stellar story teller
Chris Fabry has a way with words and crafting a story. His portrayal of the kind of person I would like to be is well worth the time to read.
Published 1 month ago by Leslee
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
loved the book-ordered two more by Chris Fabry-great story-strong message
Published 1 month ago by Papa Jim
5.0 out of 5 stars Question Mark
This book is beyond profound. Each word was measured and meaningful. Each idea was followed to its spiritually logical conclusion, which can be much different from this world's... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Penny Schwickerath
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
A slow read.
Published 2 months ago by Larry Paxton
5.0 out of 5 stars Almost Heaven
Very interesting, thought provoking, I had to stop and meditate frequently as I read. I understood what he was saying about the music. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mary
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
It's ok, but would rather read Peretti or Dekker.
Published 2 months ago by Phil Alderman
5.0 out of 5 stars a story that speaks from the heart
So well written it flows from the pages, from word to word and chapter to chapter, you will be mesmerized with this story. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Nancy L. Moureau
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
It was an awesome book.
Published 2 months ago by BusyMom
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
If you see 5 stars I liked the book if you see less then I liked it less.
Published 2 months ago by Jerrold Wharton
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More About the Author

What if this is as good as life gets? Are you okay with that?

This question has haunted me over the past few years. Five years ago we moved to the desert for health reasons. Looking for recovery in a dry and thirsty land. And I realized my soul was more thirsty than anything.

Every Waking Moment is my effort to take some of the pain and loss of life and sift it through the life of a young woman who's been marginalized in society, working among people who are marginalized (the elderly). This character, Treha, has an extraordinary gift that few observe because she's "different."

Like most of my tales, it's a love story, a mystery, part thriller--but mostly a character sketch of lonely people looking for hope. And it's my intent that you find hope and meaning for your own life through Treha's journey.

ABOUT CHRIS

I was born in West Virginia in 1961. I read a lot, but not very fast, and wrote poems, songs, and transcribed Marx Brothers movies and memorized dialogue.

In 1984 I met Jerry Jenkins at Moody Bible Institute. He offered to help me learn to write and I took him up on the offer. In 1998, Jerry and Dr. Tim LaHaye hired me to help write the Left Behind: The Kids series. After that I worked on several other series for children and then published my first adult novel in 2008. It took more than six years to write Dogwood and find a publisher. It received a 2009 Christy Award.

My next novel, June Bug, drew its themes from the classic Victor Hugo tale, Les Miserables. Then, Almost Heaven released and also won a Christy Award, as well as the 2011 Christian Book Award for Fiction.

Not in the Heart is another riveting, suspenseful, and yet relational story. A mystery within a mystery within an addiction. I dedicate it to all who have someone in their life who is addicted. This story also received a Christy award.

Borders of the Heart is my nod toward some of the great western writers--Cormac McCarthy and Larry McMurtry. It's a love story, a painful story of loss, a mystery, and an edge-of-your-seat thriller. I hope you enjoy the ride through Tucson and the surrounding area as much as I did.

I graduated from the W. Page Pitt School of Journalism at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia. I have been married to Andrea since 1982. We have nine children. In October of 2008 our family evacuated our house in Colorado, leaving behind all our belongings because of a toxic mold situation. Since then we have been living near Tucson, Arizona, working on recovering our health after the mold exposure.

Stop by my website at www.chrisfabry.com to learn more about my writing and radio endeavors, and be sure to sign up for my online newsletter, the FABRYGRAM. I can also be found on Facebook and Twitter, or you can email me at chris@chrisfabry.com.

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