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He's Gone: A Novel Paperback – May 14, 2013

3.7 out of 5 stars 269 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

On Sunday morning after a wild party, Dani wakes up alone and hopes her husband has gone to get coffee and muffins. A little later, she thinks maybe he is angry about a tiff the night before and decided to spend Sunday at work. It isn’t until dark is falling and she finds his car in the parking lot near their home that she begins to worry. What follows are agonizing days of searching and hoping. Did something awful happen, or is his disappearance voluntary? Neither answer is comforting, and Dani proceeds to rethink every moment of their marriage, from their first meeting to the party right before his disappearance. With every memory, painful or joyous, Dani dissects their relationship and asks deep questions about the meaning of happiness and fidelity. Readers will find themselves swept up by the crisis, made palpable by Caletti’s believable characters and their raw emotions. As much a gripping emotional thriller as it is a book about love and relationships, Caletti’s newest work will please old fans and garner new ones. --Cortney Ophoff

Review

"Caletti makes a striking adult debut with this tale of a husband's mysterious disappearance. . . . Well-written, strongly characterized and emotionally complex fiction." ---Kirkus Starred Review --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (May 14, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345534352
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345534354
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (269 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #352,849 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

First of all, a confession. I am a literary addict. I read endlessly, voraciously. In lieu of a book, I will read cereal boxes (Cap'N Crunch breakfast jokes, Special K Heart Smart facts), shampoo bottles, pamphlets in doctors' offices about kidney stones and allergies (neither of which I have), and even those self exam charts with the little arrows going around in circles. My books are multiplying, becoming furniture themselves - end tables, nightstands. On one wall, I have a bookshelf, minus the shelf. I get restless, even sad, when I leave a fictional world I love and am not yet immersed in another. The highest compliment I've gotten about one of my books was from a reader who said she read slower as she approached its end, rationed out the remaining pages because she couldn't bear for it to be finished. Oh, joy. I knew just what she meant.

I was happily hooked at a young age. I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, and was one of those quiet kids carting home a stack of books. Was? Still am. My mother says there were several years where they never saw me; they just shoved reading material and food under my door (not true, but pretty close). My parents said I'd mess up my eyes reading at night in the back of the car. They were probably right.

Writing, too, was part of my life since I was six or seven. I would get an idea, then bolt off to write it down. A hippie teacher of mine gave encouragement. "Groovy," he'd scrawl, and I had a sense I was on to something. After we moved to the Seattle area when I was twelve, I continued writing - short stories, bad poetry, and later, lyrics.

Being a writer was the only thing I ever wanted to be, but I didn't have the courage to study creative writing in college. I pictured rooms full of people wearing berets and dressed in all black, talking about Turgenev, which sounded a lot like the noise that escaped my throat whenever I was in one of those courses where they asked you to read your work aloud. I worried I wouldn't have the talent, since I didn't own a beret and never wanted one. So I studied journalism. I worked on the radio station, reading the news. What I learned more than anything was that I wasn't a journalist. I earned my B.A. degree from the University of Washington, got married, won the Nobel prize (just seeing if you were still awake) and did PR work. I got serious about fiction writing after my children were born. I didn't want to be one of those people who talked about their dream but never did anything about it. That seemed sad. I worried I would end up sitting alone at the counter at Denny's eating pie and smoking cigarettes, and I've never even smoked. So I made a decision. I would write and keep writing, at least until I was published. No giving up, no going back. I would have the determination and persistence of a dog with a knotted sock.

I read everything on the craft, studied, took notes, wrote and wrote, until finally, finally my fifth book, QUEEN Of EVERYTHING, was published. I would say I'm self-taught, but it isn't true - all my years as a reader, all of those authors I read, taught me. From Mrs. Piggle Wiggle to Tess of the D'Urbervilles. From Encyclopedia Brown to The World According to Garp. Books are what inspire me to write, and to write better. I believe in their power. Books teach empathy and define our lives and times. Writers are our truth tellers, and I strive for honesty in my writing. I want my readers to recognize their own experiences and to see our shared humanity in my work - our mistakes, our triumphs, our pain, those small moments of rightness. I want my readers to miss my characters when the book is set down. If my reader says, "Oh yes, that's just how it is. I know - that's how I feel, too," then I've done my job. I've given what I can to my fellow addict, and maybe, just maybe, I've added a piece to her nightstand.


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Dani Keller's husband disappears at the beginning of Deb Caletti's new novel, "He's Gone". I'd never read a Caletti novel before but I was intrigued by the notion of a husband disappearing into thin air, and Caletti does not disappoint. This story grabs you from page one as Dani Keller first assumes her husband, Ian, has gone out to get them coffee and pastries. But as the day passes and phone calls go unanswered, Dani slowly realizes that Ian is gone and soon she realizes that either he CAN'T contact her or he WON'T.

Thus Dani proceeds to fill us in on their back-story and the lives they have had that led up to the morning of Ian's disappearance. This is not always a pretty story, and that makes Dani and Ian true-to-life characters because they are far far from perfect people. But as all avid readers know, it's the flaws in characters and their bad choices that make for riveting reading. Dani is a fairly reliable narrator; her internal monologue is well written and mature. The character doesn't hide her sins or make too many excuses for them, although I suspect some readers will be set against her on principle. (Over the years of writing reviews I've noticed that there are certain readers who decidedly do not like stories that involve adultery. If you are one of those readers, this book is definitely not for you.)

I found "He's Gone" to be a compulsively readable novel. Through frantic Dani, Caletti creates suspense and a high desire to FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENED. But even more than this, and what gets it a 5-star in my opinion, is that while Dani tries to figure it all out she is basically giving us a inside view on modern marriage. Sure, not everyone's marriage, but some people's for sure.

Ultimately Dani has to realize that you shouldn't look to other people to rescue you from your life; only you can do that. That's a worthy moral, in my opinion.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
What if you sacrificed everything for the promise of escape...and then it wasn't worth it? How far would the guilt and disappointment make you go?

He's Gone is a story of two people who need each other desperately. That is, until they get what they wish for. Unfortunately they find out after it's much too late that "people bring their same selves to every situation, to all their relationships."

And just as the shine is beginning to wear off, the unthinkable happens.

I read this book in two days--and it's not a short or a light read. I read it while cooking dinner, I read it when I should have been working, and I read it waaaaaay too late at night because I truly could not put it down. Sure, it's a mystery and all, but it's much more than your average whodunnit.

For one thing, every single character (even the missing one!) is richly, beautifully developed. You KNOW these people. And Dani in particular is wonderfully crafted. It's easy to identify with her need for rescue, her misgivings, her guilt, and her self-doubt. Maybe you haven't been in her exact situation before but you have felt her emotions. And maybe you don't suspect the worst of yourself, but you probably have similar fears about what you're capable of, if pushed too far.

The relationship between Ian and his daughters post-divorce was spot-on, as was the encounter between Dani and Mary. Even old Pollux was a great character. And the butterfly symbolism throughout the book was masterfully done.

Fantastic read. Five stars and definitely one of my new favorite novels ever.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book will hold your attention - even when you wish the plot would move a little faster. The title lets you know what it's about "He's Gone" - her husband disappears from their boat house one morning after they return late, and arguing, from a party. She had been drinking and just drops into bed. He is not there the next morning and she has no memory of him coming to bed. No notes, his car is still there, but his wallet and cell phone are gone. They have a complicated relationship - both had been married before and they had an affair and broke up both of the old marriages. Kids and ex-spouses make for complications. The book is written in the first person and it starts out right away with her gradual realization that he is truly gone. And she tortures herself with questions about their relationship, the old marriages, why can't she remember him getting into bed, etc. The police are called in and they begin to suspect her. Tiny clues get dropped which heighten your curiosity but resolve nothing - and add to her emotional torture. Fortunately she has a feisty mother and a devoted daughter who stand by her because she is about to go over the edge. The whole book is a self-discovery for her about her motives in both marriages. It is hard to put down. I definitely recommend it.
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Format: Paperback
Deb Caletti is an award-winning author of young-adult fiction. With her new book, “He’s Gone,” Caletti drops all trappings of young adult literature and tackles a weighty adult theme head-on: can we ever really know another human being, especially someone close like a husband, or are we destined always to interpret our loved ones ineptly and imperfectly through our own experiences?
 
“He’s Gone” is narrated entirely in the first person from the wife’s point of view. Dani, the wife, lives with her second husband, Ian, on a houseboat near Seattle. They’ve been married for three years and their marriage seems, at first appearance, to be loving and close. However, we soon learn that their marriage is the result of both having indulged in a steamy adulterous affair while still married to their first spouses.
 
The book opens in the present day with Ian’s sudden disappearance after the two of them return from a night at a party. Dani has had too much alcohol and immediately goes to sleep. When she awakes the next morning, her husband is gone. There are absolutely no overt signs indicating what may have become of him.
 
At the end of this novel, readers do find out what happened to Ian…but this is not, by any means, the arc of the plot that drives this novel forward. Rather, this book is about Dani and how she deals psychologically and emotionally with the loss. At first, Dani has to deal with the day-to-day problems of her husband’s disappearance. Eventually, she starts to dig deep into her memory to try to figure out if there is any clue there about what may have happened to her husband. In particular, Dani is looking for any reason why Ian might be motivated to abandon her. Was there some flaw in the marriage that caused him to leave?
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