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Safe Passage Mass Market Paperback – November 1, 1994

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The 1983 Marine barracks bombing in Beirut provides the crisis element in this moving novel about a family waiting to hear if a son and brother has survived the blast. During the course of the three long days between news of the bombing and the call that they alternately hope for and dread, the Singer family is transformed by the agony of suspense. Held hostage in the limbo of expectation, each of the six other brothers develops his own response to thoughts of Percival's death. The youngest, Simon, born with a missing ear, decides that he will make a deal with God to have reconstructive surgery if Percival has survived. Gideon, long Percival's rival at track meets, develops a phantom paralysis. Their father Patrick has periodic bouts of inexplicable blindness. The central figure, their mother Mag, is riddled with guilt and doubts. "I never wanted children," she says. "This is the punishment." Finally, bone-weary and numb with grief, she vents her frustrations on a neighbor's menacing dog. In these desperate hours, the family first turns on itself but then slowly begins to heal, as if in preparation for the blow, if Percival is indeed among those lying crushed beneath the wreckage. Bache's language is fluid and funny, and one comes to care about every one of her characters. There are echoes of John Irving in her evocation of this all-American family, but she skillfully avoids the cute or disgusting possibilities, and the results are vivid and heartwarming. Literary Guild alternate.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

In October 1983, terrorists bombed the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut. Debut novelist Bache has used this event as a backdrop and the fictional Singer family as a vehicle in this work, distinguished by a fine sense of irony and comic detail. Starting with each person's own history with Percival, the family member stationed in Beirut at the time of the bombing, Bache unfolds, then layers these perspectives, creating a complete picture of the Singers and their inter relationships. Individuals are demystified and the family organism revealed in richly entertaining, yet poignant and believable episodes. The conclusion brings the reader to an understanding the family has just begun to share. A wonderful character study likely to appeal to adults and young adults. Susan E. Parker, Harvard Law Sch. Lib., Cambridge
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Bantam (November 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553569643
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553569643
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 4.2 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,414,369 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I started writing when my first two children were toddlers, we were living in a tiny apartment in West Virginia where I knew no one, and my husband and I were sharing one car. I got out only a few days a week and desperately needed some "adult" work for those long, homebound afternoons. When I volunteered to write a press release for the humane society, it appeared in the local paper, complete with my byline. I was hooked! I think I've written something almost every day in the 30+ years since.

I started out as a freelance newspaper journalist -- something even a stay-at-home mom could do -- and spent six years teaching myself to write fiction (six years of rejections!) before my first stories began appearing in magazines like McCall's, Good Housekeeping and Seventeen, which published lots of fiction in those days, and in literary magazines like The Carolina Quarterly.

I wrote my first novel, SAFE PASSAGE, after the youngest of my four children went to school, and I've been writing novels ever since. In 1995, SAFE PASSAGE became a movie starring Susan Sarandon, a great thrill, and many of the other books have received various recognitions and awards. But the greatest thrill has been the privilege having a long, satisfying career that has also let me spend so much time with my family. What more could any writer want?

Information about all my work is on my website,, and there's a radio interview about my latest book, "The Art of Saying Goodbye," at

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Bernadette Sullivan O'Hirlihy on December 16, 1999
Format: Paperback
Safe Passage tells the story of Mag Singer, a mother of seven boys. Mag admits that she is a detatched mother. She never wanted her boys, until they were born. But when her middle child, Percival, a marine and the most troubled of the seven is feared dead in the midst of a terrorist bombing, the family gathers together and suddenly Mag realizes how important her family really is.
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By Beach Grammie on January 12, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A wonderful read. Interesting family dynamics and of course the perfect ending to the story. Brought me back in history.
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