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Waking Samuel Paperback – August 26, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A nurse finds solace in her work with a mysterious brain-injured patient in this poignant, brooding first novel by Coyle, a contributing editor at Outside magazine and the author of the nonfiction book Hardball: A Season in the Projects. In the suburban Seattle hospital where she works, Sara Black is assigned to care for an anonymous patient in his early 20s who was found on a nearby beach with a bullet in his head. She has some success with her patient, who is in "a state of suspended disrepair," but she is preoccupied with her own suffering: two years ago her four-year-old son was killed in a car accident; she was the driver. One day, her patient begins to speak. Giving his name as Samuel, he slowly provides a fragmented account of having been stranded on a remote Alaskan island. Despite the misgivings of her husband, Tom, Sara's involvement with Samuel deepens, until she begins reliving her accident by telling him stories about her son. The suspense heightens when Sara finally learns her patient's full name and contacts his family in Chicago, only to discover that the police have verified his death. But the island story line turns lurid and cartoonish as Coyle delves deeper into Samuel's involvement with a mysterious young man named Kjell, his sister and their diabolical marine biologist father, Dr. Spero. Despite this lapse in tone, Coyle tells Sara's story with graceful eloquence and authority, tracing the subtle trajectory of her return to a state of emotional equilibrium.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

This moving first novel from an accomplished nonfiction writer--Coyle is the author of Hardball: A Season in the Projects (1993)--deals with loss, identity, and responsibility. At the center of the story is a woman named Sara Black, a 41-year-old nurse who has recently lost her young son in a car crash. Haunted by the boy's death, Sara occupies herself with thoughts of a mysterious patient in her care, the so-called tall man. She becomes obsessed with the nameless patient, a gunshot victim who was discovered by a traveling junior-high class in the Pacific Northwest. Despite many rumors, his entire life remains an enigma to all those around him. Coyle is a clever writer, and he ably weaves his main character's jumble of emotions into a satisfying whole. The novel takes a handful of unforeseen turns--for one thing, the tall man becomes an ever more perplexing figure--generating considerable excitement in what is essentially a character-driven story. An impressive debut. Kevin Canfield
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA (September 13, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582344426
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582344423
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.7 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,380,589 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Daniel Coyle is the New York Times best-selling author of The Secret Race, The Little Book of Talent, The Talent Code, Lance Armstrong's War, Hardball: A Season in the Projects and the novel Waking Samuel. He is a former editor at Outside Magazine and a two-time National Magazine Award finalist, and his work has been featured in The Best American Sports Writing. He lives in Ohio and Alaska with his wife, Jen, and their four children.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer M. Humbard on January 12, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
This book is a waste of time. I did not like his writing style in the least. Don't waste your time.
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By A Customer on November 17, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Coyle does a terrific job of interweaving the stories of two people whose lives have intersected. He has a talent for getting inside the mind of the main character, Sara, and capturing the interplay with her husband. At the same time he keeps the suspense going with the unfolding story of Samuel.
This is an excellent read. I highly recommend it.
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By A Customer on October 22, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I was completely drawn into this book-by the compelling story line and by Coyle's wonderful writing style. I really got into the characters and could not put the book down--the way the whole story of Sara, Tom, and the tall man unfolds. I definitely recommend this one.
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