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Every Visible Thing: A Novel Paperback – August 7, 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (August 7, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060937424
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060937423
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,256,495 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In her graceful, affecting fourth novel, Carey (Love in the Asylum) revisits themes from her previous books—family, tragedy, grief and resilience—with visceral drama and pathos. In the mid-'80s, on the outskirts of Boston, 15-year-old Lena and 10-year-old Owen Furey are coming of age in the aftermath of their older brother Hugh's disappearance. Two years on, Hugh is presumed dead, and the Furey parents have buried themselves in their work: mother Elizabeth as a medical student, father Henry as an editor of religious books. Left to their own devices, the Furey children flirt with self-destruction, giving flesh to the mythic symbolism of their last name. While Lena pursues a dangerous search for proof of Hugh's fate, tracking his movements through images from his old camera, Owen calls on Hugh as a protecting angel to help him deal with his stirring sexual attraction to best friend Danny (and with Danny's harsh reprisals). Though the novel suffers from an unwieldy structure, switching between Lena's first person and a third-person portrayal of Owen, the play between sections devoted to each child proves rewarding, suffused in lucid grief and delicate longings. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School–Five years after the disappearance of their oldest son, Hugh, the Furey family is functioning, yet shattered. Parents Henry and Elizabeth live in the same house, but not in the same world. When Lena, 15, finds a cache of Hugh's undeveloped film, she masquerades as a boy and begins to skip school and hang out with the dangerous older crowd she identifies from his photos, with the hope of discovering what happened to him. Meanwhile, Owen, 10, is dealing with severe bullying issues at school. He becomes fixated on guardian angels, a topic his theologian father researched before he lost his job. As Lena's and Owen's lives threaten to implode, the Fureys must finally deal with their grief and strained relationships in order to survive. Carey's depiction of Lena's obsession and guilt about her beloved brother, and her yearning for resolution and absolution, drives the story. She has an intense desire to know one brother while remaining unaware of the depth and violence of the other's situation. Owen's problems illustrate how difficult it is for victims to talk about what is happening, even if support is offered.–Charlotte Bradshaw, San Mateo County Library, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

I love her characters and the way she draws you in as a reader.
Millicent Jackson
I just loved this book and couldn't put it down even after trying several times to make tea in between chapters, BUT...the story won out every time!
Louise Jolly
Henry is supposedly writing a book about angels, though for a long time it seems he's hardly qualified.
lisatheratgirl

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By lisatheratgirl VINE VOICE on December 4, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The Furey family (interesting name, there's a lot of it repressed) hasn't been the same since the oldest child, Hugh, disappeared. It's never really specified what happened to him, but that is less important than the effect it had on his parents, sister and brother. This is one of the darkest books I've read this year, but the author sure got me to care what happened to the characters. Owen is bullied by a former older friend, who likes sexual abuse and playing with a loaded gun. He fakes an illness for months to avoid going to school. Lena gets involved with a drug dealer and starts cross-dressing, passing as a boy to the extent of becoming physically involved with girls. In the search for her missing brother, she ends up in a nonstop party scene that is reminiscent of Bret Easton Ellis's Less than Zero. As the children slip into life-threatening nightmare, the parents pay them little or no attention, focusing on their own grief. The mother, Elizabeth, doesn't get out of bed for months and drives her own mother out of the house. The father, Henry, is fired from his job, and not for sympathetic reasons. These two seemed like the most self-centered irresponsible people ever. After one child attempts suicide, they get angry with her! They always seem to focus on the child in obvious trouble and ignore the others. Fortunately, Owen at least does have some positive adult interaction in his life, from unexpected people.

Angels are a big theme in this book, which I really liked. The title has to do with angels, and is a great thought. Henry is supposedly writing a book about angels, though for a long time it seems he's hardly qualified.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Susan K. Schoonover VINE VOICE on May 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover
EVERY VISIBLE THING has much to offer but it involves the reader in the main characters' lives to the point of discomfort. There is much symbolism in the novel including the names of the protagonists. The family surname if Furey and their three very troubled children are Hugh (who has been missing for years after a disastrous encounter with a very horrid girlfriend) Lena who seems to be clinically depressed and whose parents seem oblivious to her problems and Owen who is also largely ignored by his parents and is mercilessly bullied by some almost unbelievably precocious fifth graders. There is also a lot of angel symbolism which doesn't seem to be quite as well realized as the author hoped. The setting of the story is suburban Boston in the 80's and Ms. Carey provides enough detail about the decade to bring it back to life. In fact for such a slim novel Ms. Carey provides the reader with an amazing amount of information regarding all her major characters' lives.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Yolanda S. Bean VINE VOICE on January 22, 2009
Format: Paperback
Carey writes beautifully - it had been a few years since I had last picked up one her novels, but a few pages into this one, it struck me again what a gift she has. I really enjoyed reading this book. It initially took me a little bit to get into it, though that may be more to do with the last few books that I've read than anything else (they were all rather humourous essays, rather than an actual novels)! Once the plot unfolded, it became a very sad but engrossing story. Despite its rather depressing subject matter, Carey did a good job writing it, and the ending felt very satisfying. There weren't too many loose ends left over. All in all, I will continue to look out for this author's work. And while I thought that her debut novel, The Mermaids Singing, was a much stronger piece of fiction, her talents are certainly not wasted in this latest novel. I can't wait to see what she writes next!
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Format: Paperback
I just loved this book and couldn't put it down even after trying several times to make tea in between chapters, BUT...the story won out every time!

Five years ago the Furey's eldest son, Hugh, disappeared without a trace. His parents are naturally grief stricken and trying hard to put this senseless tragedy behind them. Hugh's mother has an emotional breakdown and hunkers down in her bed rarely getting up. This leaves Hugh's father to care for their two youngest children, Owen 10 and Lena 15 but due to his own grief, this is a half-hearted effort often leaving Owen and Lena to fend for themselves.

Their father, once a theology professor has completely lost his faith and has seemingly left his job and for awhile, tries to put his energy into his two young children but falls far short of the goal.

Owen and Lena are trying to hold onto Hugh's memory as neither parent will even so much as say his name. For Lena especially, Hugh becomes more than just a brother disappeared. She sets out to find out what really happened to him and meets Sebastien, a rough and tumble drug addict. Through this meeting, Lena ends up experimenting with alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes, and as a result, ends up having sex for the first time.

Owen, in the meantime, becomes involved with Danny, a bad boy who introduces Owen to masturbation which they begin experimenting with. Danny eventually turns on Owen, making up stories about him at school and now the entire school is calling him horrible names and chasing him down. Terrified, Owen keeps two thermometers in his room to fool his mother with so he can stay home from school on the pretense that he is just too sick to go with such a high fever.
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Every Visible Thing: A Novel
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