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Familiar: A Novel by [Lennon, J. Robert]
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Familiar: A Novel Kindle Edition

3.3 out of 5 stars 50 customer reviews

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Length: 224 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Returning from her annual pilgrimage to her son Silas’ grave, Elisa Brown is suddenly struck by a sense that things have changed. The car she is driving isn’t hers, her body has transformed, and in the seat next to her sits a conference binder addressed to a Lisa Brown. The old Elisa’s son died at age 15; she was having an extramarital affair; and she was very close to her living son, Sam. This new Lisa is estranged from both of her children and lives in quiet tension with her husband in a home devoid of life. As the old Elisa tries to parse out what has happened to her, she discovers that her new reality is as sad and complicated as her previous life, and she begins to feel trapped between both worlds. Readers who enjoyed Lennon’s previous novel Castle (2009) will see some common themes here, as Elisa questions her own understanding of reality and memory and tries to unravel the emotional mystery that surrounds both of her lives. --Heather Paulson

Review

“[An] allusive and mysterious novel . . . one of [Lennon's] finest.” ―The New York Times Book Review

“This is an important book, one that reflects the 21st-century human's fragmentary condition in both content and form, told in a manner so thrilling that it achieves an almost magical propulsion. It's very funny, too. . . . Lennon has created a woman for our times, no matter how many of our times are happening at once. Familiar is a terrific novel, unnerving and, ultimately, true.” ―Boston Globe

Familiar is as tightly wound as a great Alfred Hitchcock movie. . . . He keeps Familiar balanced at a perfect pitch between allowing us to believe what has happened to Elisa is real and to think that she's had a mental breakdown brought about by anxiety and depression. In the scientific shadows, Lennon has executed a literary puzzle, a marvelous trick of the mind.” ―Los Angeles Times

“The questions posed by this novel shift over time from the metaphysical to the moral, and in the end, Familiar stands as a resonant and haunting riddle.” ―Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

“Like Vonnegut, Lennon is able to defy genres. . . . Sad and captivating, Familiar explores the depths of loss and the limits of reality, leaving us to consider our susceptibility to the lives we create for ourselves.” ―The Outlet, the blog of Electric Literature

“Lennon's smart, chilling prose and the urgency of present tense carry this story to its dramatic, if ambiguous, conclusion. . . . A smart, fast-paced novel.” ―Shelf Awareness for Readers, starred review

“A novel that imposes itself on the imagination from the opening sentences . . . Lennon's brisk prose is both vivid and precise; the dialogue is clear and authentic, often funny. In fact, considering that this is a deadly serious, often bewildering and affecting novel, Familiar is witty and satiric. It is obvious that its genius lies in Lennon's feel for metaphysical contradictions that consistently undercut the realism . . . a similar approach to the theme of parallel universes and altered experiences within shifting time frames has also been explored in novels such as Haruki Murakami's 1Q84 or Tom McCarthy's Remainder, neither of which achieves the unsettling mastery of Lennon's far shorter and infinitely superior novel, which could inspire a brilliant screenplay … Familiar is fresh and original; it is also disturbing in its strangeness, because that strangeness is eerily real.” ―The Irish Times

“The direct present-tense narration and instantly engaging plight prove an irresistible combination. . . . One of the clever things about the set-up here is how neatly it invigorates some of the drearier procedures of conventional fiction . . . a meditation on family and identity likely to stir brain and heart alike.” ―The Observer

“Lennon is an American writer whose novels delicately probe the psychology of their protagonists. . . . In Familiar Lennon uses his sci-fi vehicle to create eerie fiction. The notion of parallel universes becomes a metaphor for life choices and their results . . . immersion in her alternate realities prompts reflection upon the aleatory nature of our own life, in all its uncanniness.” ―The Independent on Sunday

“This highly convincing nightmare reads like a thriller; Lennon is painfully truthful about grief and parenthood.” ―The Times

“Tight in focus and construction and written in a steady present tense. . . . Lennon generally resists the comic and narrative possibilities available to his structure in favour of exploiting its capacity for generating metaphors and analogies--and by refusing to work his way through to a moment of sensible closure, ending instead at a point when things are at their most blurry and brain-teasing, he has constructed an otherworldly narrative that feels fleshed out but not stretched thin.” ―The Evening Standard

“J. Robert Lennon's beautifully written new novel bristles with menace and suspense--a terrific and disturbing read.” ―The Daily Mail


Product details

  • File Size: 3158 KB
  • Print Length: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Graywolf Press (October 2, 2012)
  • Publication Date: October 2, 2012
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009A9LKTW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #306,849 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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on January 16, 2013
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on February 11, 2013
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