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The Good Neighbor: A Novel Paperback – December 13, 2005
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When Francie and Colt Hart drive past an abandoned 150-year-old farmhouse in rural Pennsylvania, they both fall head-over-heels in love with it -- but for entirely different reasons. Colt, an ambitious, hard-charging stock trader, sees it as a potential showcase for his wealth. Francie, long dependent on antidepressants, hopes it will inspire her to resume the literary life she abandoned when she married Colt ten years before; perhaps, she thinks, it will save their faltering marriage. But the more they learn about the house, and especially the tragic history of its previous occupants (whose descendants are their new neighbors), the more it threatens to drive them apart.
This P.S. edition features an extra 16 pages of insights into the book, including author interviews, recommended reading, and more.
Praise for THE GOOD NEIGHBOR: “Kowalski’s vigorous storytelling will keep the pages turning.” — Publishers Weekly
“Atmospheric, emotional and beautifully eloquent, Kowalski weaves an engrossing story.” — The Daily Record
“[Kowalski] meticulously brings the strands of his narrative together, building toward a credible moving conclusion.” — Booklist
“The story is enchanting as the house. The plot is powerful…it surges forwards with tremendous pace and vigour.” — The Observer
“[Kowalski] has the knack of making you care for his characters.” — The Guardian
“Kowalski has a gift for storytelling.” — The Tampa Tribune-Times
“Kowalski is a gifted storyteller who deserves a following.” — San Antonio Express News
“Kowalski is a talented stylist.” — New York Times Book Review
“This is a mature novel by an unassuming writer. Kowalski is the real deal.” — Buffalo News
“A coming-of-gender story.” — Library Journal
“A book with characters that sing with life, dialogue that is lovely and real and images that resonate.” — Globe and Mail (Toronto)
“An appealing and original story.” — Kirkus Reviews
“SOMEWHERE SOUTH OF HERE is one of the sweetest–tempered books around.” — East Valley Tribune, Mesa, AZ
“Somewhere South of Here has a large heart and disarming voice.” — Baltimore Sun
“It is hard to resist the feel–good mood that Kowalski creates.” — Booklist
“Sheer enchantment.” — The Providence Sunday Journal
“Kowalski’s characters could be escapees from a Kerouac novel. [The] novel has all the bravado of a barstool reminiscence…entertaining.” — New York Times Book Review
“Kowalski is adept at keeping the story tight and moving at a comfortable pace.” — Rocky Mountain News
“A grand debut. Eddie’s Bastard is a beguiling blend of narrative con brio, human-heartedness, and zany surprises.” — Gail Godwin, New York Times bestselling author of Evensong
“A mesmerizing debut...skillfully crafted and highly imaginative.” — Tulsa World
“A notable literary debut...Here’s one satisfying novel by a writer of great promise.” — America Magazine
“Entertaining.” — Kirkus Reviews
“The 28 year-old author gives his first novel an appealing Dickensian flavor.” — People
Exhuberant...Kowalski is a talented stylist. — New York Times Book Review
“Vividly impressionistic prose.” — London Times
About the Author
William Kowalski is the author of Eddie's Bastard, Somewhere South of Here, and The Adventures of Flash Jackson. He was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1970 and raised in Erie, Pennsylvania. He lives in Nova Scotia with his wife and daughter.
- Publisher : Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (December 13, 2005)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 406 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0060936258
- ISBN-13 : 978-0060936259
- Item Weight : 11.4 ounces
- Dimensions : 8.37 x 5 x 1.05 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #4,893,626 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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If an Author wants to write a character driven Novel then I think he should be very careful to create believable situations for those characters. I just don't believe that Francie would have been on the same medication for 10 years with nobody ever questioning if it was necessary. She spent 10 years married to Colt and never worked. What the heck did she do? If she couldn't come up with a single poem in 10 years, then buying a new house was not likely to suddenly give her inspiration.
She appeared to know nothing about her husband at all. Never questioned who or where his family were and she was married to him for 10 years! She never even asked how much they wanted for the house. Colt never told her what the house was on the market for and then what he paid for it. If he was the person he was written to be, then that character would have been bragging to her how much the house should have cost and what a great price he paid for it.
The long forgotton relatives return at the end was rediculous. He mentions a number of times how sick he is and dying, but it seems to take a couple of weeks before Colt even asks what is wrong with him. As if, you wouldn't have asked straight away. Plus the relative would have been on a veratable cocktail of different drugs and he appears to only arrive with a tiny bag of a few clothes.No bottles of pills rattling around in that transparent see through bag!
How many times was the box of comics mentioned. A couple of hundred dollars would have helped Randall's family immensely. Francie mentions inumerable times she will sell them. She tries one store in NY, finds it closed. (Not even going to try to enter into this deadend of a storyline!) And doesn't try anywhere else.its NY! There are thousands of places in NY she could have sold them. Finally what type of Author doesn't have a computer and the internet? Months after she has moved in, she still doesn't have it connected up. The novel was written in 2004 not 1975!
Francie, Colt, and Francie's brother Michael are all irritating characters; it is difficult to root for any one of them in this story. Each experiences a transformation that is not quite believable given the circumstnaces. This is even more true for their neighbor, Randy, who acts in a manner which is completely out of character--although this is acknowledged within the book, it still seems unreasonable. More interesting and engaging are the house's original occupants, the Musgroves, who built Adencourt one hundred and fifty years before. The author weaves the tale of the Musgroves into that of the Harts through occasional "historical digressions" as well as hints sprinkled throughout the house. This aspect makes the novel readable, making the book worthwhile for the patient and tolerant reader.
"The Good Neighbor" is a surprisingly accomplished and mature work for an author of Kowalski's still young age and marks a departure point for him. While his earlier books seem written from overpowering talent and passion, "The Good Neighbor" is clearly the work of an author who has grown into conscious mastery of his craft. While his prose is as expressive and flows as effortlessly as ever, "The Good Neighbor's" plot is masterfully constructed, and every element of the story falls into place with the precision of a Swiss clockwork. The characters are alive and drawn with astounding psychological accuracy, particularly Francie, the unlikely hero of the novel. Kowalski is not preoccupied with the fleeting moments of pop-culture. Instead he is an author of substance, concerned with the humanity of his characters in which we all recognize ourselves. In the case of "the Good Neighbor" is Francie Hart's courageous and inspiring story of self-discovery that will leave no one untouched.