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That Old Cape Magic Audible – Unabridged

3.5 out of 5 stars 250 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 9 hours and 7 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Random House Audio
  • Audible.com Release Date: August 4, 2009
  • Whispersync for Voice: Ready
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002KE9CAI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank:

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Richard Russo made his mark in the literary world with his books Empire Falls and Bridge of Sighs. His newest novel, That Old Cape Magic, is about a middle-aged man that is having a difficult time coping with reality. Yet, while Jack Griffin is having trouble letting go of the past, the present is filled with slapstick-type comedy that Mr. Russo delivers with impeccable timing. And this, gives the reader a future filled with searches into their own life, lighten with comedy. It really was an enjoyment to read.

Well, let's get a little more in depth, shall we? As I mentioned prior, Jack Griffin, is the focal point of the story. He is a well-respected professor going through a mid-life crisis. At 55, he just lost his dad and will soon lose his daughter (she is getting married) this forces Jack to rethink his life. Most of the book is flashbacks from Jack's life. Jack's childhood was filled with despair. His parents were highly trained and brilliant professors, but their attitudes forced them to work demeaning jobs, well below their status.

As such, they also had a difficult time coping with reality. Always believing "the grass was greener on the other side" This leads to the title of the book. During the family's summer vacations, they would sing Frank Sinatra's song, That Old Black Magic, but since they vacationed in Cape Cod, they changed it to, That Old Cape Magic. This is key.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Since reading Straight Man, I have eagerly anticipated the release of each new Richard Russo novel, and That Old Cape Magic was no exception. The danger in anticipation, of course, is that the real thing just might not live up to your expectations. Following Bridge of Sighs and Empire Falls is no easy task, either. Can you guess where this humble review is headed? Yep, I was a bit disappointed in TOCM. Not overly so, and it's still a fine book and a very good story, and Russo still does his amazing job of capturing the essence of fascinating, but somehow still believable characters. His delicate mixing of humor and tragedy is still strong. His ability to get the reader into the scene is amazing, and he writes the marital argument better than anyone, I think. This book was missing some of the more comedic foils in Russo's other books, but he's still drawn together an impressive cast. So what's wrong with the book? Maybe it's just a bit short. Maybe there was more story to tell. That was the feeling I came away with. If you are already a Russo fan, by all means, pick it up and read it; it's better than 99% of the other novels on the shelf. If you are new to Russo, however, save this one for later. Go back to Nobody's Fool or The Risk Pool or the Pulitzer Prize winning Empire Falls. Solid three stars for now, but I reserve the right to come back and bump it a bit after I've reflected for a while.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Jack Griffin is an irresolute 50-something guy driving around with a lot of dead weight, both figuratively and literally. As the novel opens, he is placing the ashes of his dead father (9 months in the urn now) in the wheel well of his car, (they have been in the trunk) intending to scatter them in Cape Cod. He is meeting his wife and daughter there for the wedding of his daughter's best friend. During this time, the lacunae of memory begin to break free and combat with the credo and convictions of his consciousness and close orbit. The bittersweet reminiscence of family vacations on the Cape with his parents and the tart taste of the "Truro Accord" he made with his wife on their honeymoon over three decades ago provide the propellant fuel for this story of late middle-age angst and awakening.

Russo navigates the banks of this novel with a constrained and firm hand on the tiller, with not too much wind in the sails and with a decidedly inner-directed course. And he seamlessly flows from the sober and contemplative to an uproarious physical comedy, placing him in the same league as Bellow, Roth, and Irving, with a laconic protagonist possessing tragically comic (or comically tragic) inner demons. Griffin's inability to complete a short story that he started years ago, for example, opens a chasm to a dark abyss that plagues him up and down Route 6 through the Cape, through the story. A rehearsal dinner for another wedding is headed for an imbroglio when a wheelchair ramp does the unexpected.

Russo triumphs when he concentrates on Griffin, a thoroughly three-dimensional character whose perceptions and failings and desires are authentic and prismatic. It is Griffin's character that illuminates his parents' and underscores the pathos of his wife, Joy.
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18 Comments 17 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
I would like to think of Russo as being one of my favorite authors but don't feel qualified to make that statement since this is only the third book I've read by him....Empire Falls and Bridge of Sighs being the other two. But I will say that I've loved all three and look forward to going back and reading some of his earlier works. So when writing this review, I'm not sure if his writing style has changed or if he has, in fact, gotten better. All I know is that I think he's a great storyteller and That Old Cape Magic keeps proving that point over and over with each page you turn.

I've been so looking forward to August '09 because there were four books coming out that I've been eager to read....South of Broad by Pat Conroy, Rules of Vengeance by Christopher Reich, The White Queen by Philippa Gregory and That Old Cape Magic by Richard Russo. I thought I'd start out with the Russo book and right off the bat I've hit a home run. I loved it!!!!!

There are many authors out there who write stories with very little dialogue and, most times, they are not my favorite books simply because the author's storytelling capabilities aren't good enough to pull this off. In Russo's book, I didn't care if the characters said one word to each other because the story he was telling was just so interesting that I failed to notice the lack of discourse.

And this is an author who definitely loves his bridges. As I've already mentioned, I've only read three of Russo's books but each one prominently mentions a bridge. In Empire Falls, it was the Iron Bridge that separated the mansion of the Whiting's from the rest of blue collar Empire Falls.
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13 Comments 36 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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