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Very Old Bones Unbound – January, 1992


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Unbound, January, 1992
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Product Details

  • Unbound
  • Publisher: Books on Tape (January 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 5557121412
  • ISBN-13: 978-5557121415
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,258,806 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
I have read Very Old Bones and thought that the theme is true to life. Many people look at their ancestors to discover something of themselves. I found the narration interesting using Orson Purcell, the illegimate child of Peter Phelan to portray the Phelan family. I have also read Ironweed and found that some of my questions about protagonist Francis Phelan (in Ironweed) answered or more informative anyway. Enjoyed both books. I love Kennedy's style.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Gwyneth Calvetti VINE VOICE on July 23, 2005
Format: Paperback
I picked up "Very Old Bones" at a book sale, based on the back cover blurb. Having finished the book, I can't say it really had much to do with that blurb. To be fair, this is the first of Kennedy's books I've read, so perhaps there's some back story I'm missing. I found it to have rich character development, the kind that evolves as one reads about the actions of a character. Building the characters in that way is more satisfying to me as a reader than constant description and enumeration of a character. I appreciate that an author lets me figure these things out on my own. To me, the characters were the most interesting part of the read, and kept me plowing through a storyline that didn't hold my interest that much.

For one thing, at times that narrator's voice seemed to break down. I was confused on occasion, as it seemed to shift from the third person through Orson's eyes to some indeterminate character. Maybe that was my own fault, reading on a bus full of teenagers, but nonetheless it jarred my reading of the narrative.

I found the ending somewhat anti-climactic. All this buildup for this? Maybe if I re-read the book in a different setting, I'd have appreciated it more. After all, sometimes life is full of drama and struggle, and ends up to be anticlimactic. Perhaps this is the true brilliance of the book?
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By nickpai@hotmail.com on June 19, 1998
Format: Paperback
William Kennedy is one of America's best living writers. This is far away his best book. Although it shares characters and events with other books in Kennedy's 'Albany Series', its not necessary to have read any of Kennedy's previous work to enjoy Very Old Bones. Kennedy's greatest skill is in his dialogue. He allows his characters to speak for themselves, rather than mouth his own intentions. As a result, his work gives wonderful insight into one family, one city, and one point in time. Despite the fact that his most recent work, The Flaming Corsage, was a waste of paper, Kennedy will one day be the deserving winner of a Nobel Prize. After reading Very Old Bones go back and read the jury's commentary on the Nobel Prize given to John Steinbeck. Their words could just as easily been written about Kennedy. His is a fine American voice.
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By Alfred Johnson on January 22, 2010
Format: Paperback
Recently, in reviewing an early William Kennedy Albany-cycle novel, "Ironweed" I mentioned that he was my kind of writer. I will let what I stated there stand on that score here. Here is what I said:

"William Kennedy is, at least in his Albany stories, my kind of writer. He writes about the trials and tribulations of the Irish diaspora as it penetrated the rough and tumble of American urban WASP-run society, for good or evil. I know these people, my people, their follies and foibles like the back of my hand. Check. Kennedy writes, as here with the main characters Fran Phelan and Helen Archer two down at the heels sorts, about that pervasive hold that Catholicism has even on its most debased sons and daughters, saint and sinner alike. I know those characteristics all too well. Check. He writes about that place in class society where the working class meets the lumpen-proletariat-the thieves, grifters, drifters and con men- the human dust. I know that place well, much better than I would ever let on. Check. He writes about the sorrows and dangers of the effects alcohol on working class families. I know that place too. Check. And so on. Oh, by the way, did I mention that he also, at some point, was an editor of some sort associated with the late Hunter S. Thompson down in Puerto Rico. I know that mad man's work well. He remains something of a muse for me. Check."

Although "Very Old Bones" is structurally part of Kennedy's Albany-cycle of novels it is far more ambitious than the other novels in the cycle that I have read.
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