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Condition: Used: Good
Comment: exlibrary hardcover book in mylar jacket with light wear, shows some light reader wear throughout ,all the usual library marks and stamps.
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Going Home Again Hardcover – Deckle Edge, August 13, 2013

24 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Although it opens with a murder, the third novel by the acclaimed author of The Ash Garden is a tale with modest reach about regret, the faded promise of youth, family and marital dynamics, and realizing limitations while moving forward. Narrator Charlie Bellerose recounts a hell of a year during which he separated from his wife Isabel, left her and their daughter Ava in Madrid, and returned to Toronto to establish his fifth language school. There, Charlie encounters Nate, his selfish elder brother, who reminds Charlie of his discomforting past. Nate is an affluent lawyer likewise facing a divorce full to overflowing with discord and grievance, and the two brothers maintain an uneasy peace. Charlie runs into his first love, Holly Grey, prompting meandering episodes of remembrance: about the death of his parents; his university days in Montreal and close friendship there with both Miles Esler and Miles's girlfriend, Holly; Miles's seemingly accidental death; Charlie and Holly's deepening bond; and his solitary wanders through Europe and eventual arrival in Madrid, where he meets Isabel. Charlie's middle-aged ethical dilemmas about manhood, marriage, and family provide pleasant contrast to lengthy youthful travelogue that occasionally fails to make a strong impression. (Aug.)

From Booklist

Well-regarded Canadian author Bock (The Communist’s Daughter, 2007) seems to pose a rhetorical question with the title of his newest novel, Going Home Again, given that no one can return to what their memories have made of their actual past. Narrator Charlie Bellerose is a successful businessman and owner of several language schools. He lives in Madrid with his wife, Isabel, and his beloved daughter, Ava. When his marriage fails, he returns to Toronto, where he grew up, and reconnects with his brother, Nate, whose marriage is also unraveling. Charlie recalls his old life: his dear friend Miles; his first love, Holly; and the tragedy that rocked his youth. Charlie can’t quite wrap his head around what has happened, but he has more grace than Nate, a self-absorbed boor. “Wasn’t this the greatest irony, that what you need to leave behind are things you’re unable to abandon?” Bock offers a pleasant if sentimental take on whether character is fate and what, if any, preparation the past actually provides for life in the present. --Michael Autrey

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; First Edition edition (August 13, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400044634
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400044634
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,869,301 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Peeking Man on January 19, 2014
Format: Hardcover
The work opens on the eve of protagonist Charlie’s daughter Ava’s thirteenth birthday in Madrid. Charlie is estranged from his wife Isabella and Ava and leads a high class itinerant lifestyle, shuttling between his various language academies in Europe and Canada. On his arrival, Monica, the estranged wife of his brother Nate, calls to tell him that Nate’s sailboat has been found adrift off the Florida coast.

The story goes more or less entirely into flashback at this point, interweaving Charlie’s college life and relationship with his boorish jock brother and his recent post-marital breakup reconciliation with Nate, occasionally resurfacing when Charlie interacts with his wife and child in the here and now. .

GOING HOME AGAIN is the kind of book we associate with the Ian McEwan of twenty years ago, but without much of the intelligence or wordcraft, which just about sums it up. A devastating event occurs, or is rumoured to have occurred, and the lonely single male protagonist goes on a long meandering walk through his whole life that brought him to this impasse with a few chapters of aftermath.

Bock’s writing is very nice: any single chapter makes a good read and in any single chapter there is always something interesting going on, with one important proviso. Every scene that involves Charlie and Ava, or any time Ava crosses Charlie’s mind, the writing becomes nauseatingly saccharine. The father and daughter scenes and mood, which Bock clearly thinks are the main point of the work are just simply repulsive.

The book lurches from being quite hardboiled to soft-centred chocolate box every few pages. It takes a long time get anywhere and it’s never quite clear why. The writing is good enough to keep one going, but it becomes frequently dreary. There are red herrings everywhere and ominous portents. It’s rambling and packs no punch.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Friederike Knabe VINE VOICE on October 23, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Dennis Bock's GOING HOME AGAIN intrigued me by its title, suggesting a subject matter that I relate to in more ways than one. It also sounded like a very different novel from his earlier ones, THE ASH GARDEN and THE COMMUNIST'S DAUGHTER that are both anchored in a historical context and that I liked very much. GOING HOME AGAIN then is a contemporary story as much as a timeless private and even intimate story about love and loss, winning and losing, and making choices.

The story follows the journey - physical and especially emotional - of Charlie Bellerose, the narrator, who flees Canada for Europe in an effort to distance himself from the recent and not so recent tragedies and upheavals in his life. Now, twenty years later, the middle-aged, successful and confident father of an adored daughter, returns to Toronto, hoping to restart his life back "home". Bock's writing is affecting and personable as he follows the ups and downs of his hero's journey and inner struggles. We see the world through the eyes of Charlie, including his friends, his past and present lovers, and, last but not least, his brother Nate. His depiction of places, such as Montreal, Toronto or Madrid, where he eventually establishes himself in Europe, is lively and colourful.

It is often said that you have to leave home before you appreciate it fully. For Charlie his journey home is much more complex and difficult than that. He and his brother Nate, orphans since a young age, grow up into very different individuals and, not surprisingly, clash in ways that lead to emotional tension and separation. Will reconciliation be possible upon his return?
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'd rate this 4.5 stars.

As the owner of several language academies across the globe, Charlie Bellerose is a successful businessman, and he has the opportunity to travel all over the world. His personal life, however, isn't as successful at the current point. His recent separation from his wife motivated him to leave Madrid, where he has lived for nearly 20 years, and return to his native Toronto, where he plans to set up another school. This leaves him far away from his 12-year-old daughter, Ava, who is highly intelligent and resentful of Charlie's absence, which can't be ameliorated by a few visits back and forth and periodic conversations via Skype.

If there's a silver lining to his return to Toronto, it's that he's able to forge a new relationship with his older brother, Nate, to whom Charlie had always felt inferior, and his young nephews, Titus and Quinn. Nate is going through a vicious divorce, and is having trouble adjusting to the fact that his soon-to-be ex-wife has begun living with another man, a man with whom his sons feel comfortable.

At a book festival one weekend, Charlie runs into his first love, Holly, with whom he had a relationship during college. Holly is married and has children of her own, but Charlie can't help but think that she might be interested in starting over again with him. Seeing Holly makes Charlie long for his college days and the intensity of their tumultuous relationship, but it also reopens old wounds, as the two experienced a painful tragedy that affected them in different ways.

As he struggles with the feelings—good and bad—that Holly reignites, Charlie also must deal with his desire to be a good father to Ava. Can he be a presence in her life if he isn't living in Madrid?
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