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So Near Paperback – September 6, 2011


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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Liza Gyllenhaal is a graduate of the Iowa Writing Workshop and former chairperson and current board member of The Academy of American Poets.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 311 pages
  • Publisher: NAL; 1 Original edition (September 6, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 045123457X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451234575
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,991,575 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Liza Gyllenhaal was raised in a small, close-knit community in Pennsylvania. First drawn to poetry, she attended the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, then moved to New York City where she worked in advertising and publishing for many years. She is the author of BLEEDING HEART, A PLACE FOR US, SO NEAR, and LOCAL KNOWLEDGE, all published by New American Library. She and her husband divide their time between New York City and the Berkshire Hills in Massachusetts. Sign up for her blog "A writer in the garden" when you visit her website: www.lizagyllenhaal.com

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
5 star
56%
4 star
33%
3 star
11%
2 star
0%
1 star
0%
See all 9 customer reviews
I devoured So Near in about 2 1/2 days...simply couldn't put it down!
Beverly Gyllenhaal
The writing is what we have come to expect from Gyllenhaal - effortlessly efficient and powerfully effective.
H. Debiel
The whole bit with Daniel, while a necessary plot point, never made sense.
book lover

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Phyllis Azar on September 6, 2011
Format: Paperback
Once again, I am impressed with the power of Liza Gyllenhaal's storytelling. So Near, the author's follow-up novel to Local Knowledge, is a deeply moving story of a loving, young married couple struggling with the devastating consequences of their actions, or non-actions depending on who's doing the telling. With an alternating point-of-view structure, the details are revealed as the couple volley between self-doubt, blame, and brazen conviction. Excellent characterization, crisp emotional perception, interesting premise (you'll learn just enough about product liability), and a satisfying conclusion that answers most questions: for me, that's a winning combination. Once again, I look forward to Gyllenhaal's next book. Thanks for reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Staci on September 7, 2011
Format: Paperback
First thoughts: "This was a bit heart-wrenching."

So Near broaches a topic that many of us wish not to ever read about let alone experience...the loss of a child. I felt that the author did a great job of showing each parent's side and their emotional roller-coaster that they were riding. I've heard it said many times that the death of a child can tear even the most devoted couple apart and the Horigan's marriage was certainly not exempt from the unbelievable stress. Cal and Jenny each were allowed to tell their story from the first person POV and at first I was a bit annoyed with this style. But gradually it just fell into a rhythm and I felt that I actually got to know them a little bit better because of it. The author delves into the aftermath of a tragic event and makes you think about how each person grieves and tries to deal with one of life's most earth-shattering events.

Recommend? Yes, I would tell friends about this book. I thought it was a solid read and could even make a great book selection for book clubs.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Beverly Gyllenhaal on September 6, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I devoured So Near in about 2 1/2 days...simply couldn't put it down! The engaging story-telling and pitch-perfect tone and wonderful Berkshires setting would have been enough to hook me, but So Near has SO much more to offer. The compelling story digs deep into the heart of loss, healing and the exploding/piecing back together of relationships. Today I ordered the e-book version because I just have to read it again -- slowly this time! Gonna recommend it to all my friends in book clubs around the country.
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Format: Paperback
One minute, a father is worry about his father's business turning sour in a changing economy. Then the same father is enjoying a baseball game, having a few beers, and thinking how great life is, while his wife is preparing for a large barbecue party. Half an hour later, their lives are turned upside down with a terrible, terrible loss, and the horrific future seems to be an impossible reality to get through. Everyone tries to ensure that there is no guilt to be carried but each parent believes he or she is to blame for this nightmare they are now living second by second, minute by minute...

How does one cope with the most devastating death one would not want to imagine? Cal's brother says a lawsuit is the answer, yet Cal suspects his brother Edwin's motives are questionable. They are and the further shock that eventually is disclosed is expected because of certain moments when the reader is expecting something financially crushing is about to happen, so aptly does the author foreshadow each phase of this world-shaking event.

Little by little, Cal and Jenny Horigan mourn in different ways and learn not to speak in order not to expose blame or self-recrimination. It reaches a point where each turns elsewhere for desperate communication. Before the Horigan marriage totally sinks into a hole beyond redemption, a stranger comes into their world in a way that could put the finishing touches on a doomed relationship or perhaps provide something else of a more miraculous nature.

So Near is a heart-rending, honest, pragmatic, searing look at love that is called to endure far more than any person should ever have to bear but a love that is so deep that a spark remains to be kindled by a series of miraculous mistakes and interactions. Read it and weep! Read it and celebrate the gift of life! Tender, compelling novel, Liza Gyllenhaal - you so obviously know of what you write!!!
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By H. Debiel on September 24, 2011
Format: Paperback
The wait is over! It's been over two years since Local Knowledge came out and now we know what writer Liza Gyllenhaal was up to during that time. Like Local Knowledge, So Near takes place in the Massachusetts-New York border area of the Berkshires and examines the oft-fraught confluence of country and city (this time not just New York City but also Albany).

So Near is told through the alternating points of view of its two main characters and very quickly the reader realizes that Cal and his wife Jenny are nothing like the heroic main character of the last novel. Gyllenhaal is showing us this time that just getting through a day in the trenches of everyday life may be more perilous than presumed. Making an honest living, taking care of your toddler, and communicating with your spouse are sometimes frustrating, but they are usually not overwhelming - that is, unless something goes wrong, very wrong.

The writing is what we have come to expect from Gyllenhaal - effortlessly efficient and powerfully effective. There's an extra delight awaiting the reader - the plants and flowers, so exquisitely described, that populate this lovely book and are a constant reminder of life's beauty, and fragility.
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