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Life Among Giants: A Novel Hardcover – November 13, 2012
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Roorbach's characterizations are deadly on target as is his depiction of the 1970's. Strangely, after the murders, time becomes almost irrelevant, for Lizard and Kate the murders stay as fresh as they were when they first happened. The horror doesn't subside. It's hard to believe that 17 year old Lizard is as mature as he seems even given that the murders cause him to grow up quickly. Also much of the story is told from his adult perspective but it's still hard to believe someone so young could be so wise. He has his blind spots though. His hormones and heart dictate many of his decisions much to the consternation of his older sister Kate though she doesn't have much right to complain since she's caught in the same vortice. At 17 and 19 their reactions are a bit caught in amber, so is their struggle to get on with their lives. There are so many unanswered questions. The court decisions don't make sense. The pain of their lose keeps them planted in 1970. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder wasn't recognized and there were few treatments at that time.
I've said this is a mystery but that's not strictly true.Read more ›
Again not a 'page turner' in the classic sense of the Grisham world, but a page turner in a beautiful prose sense of the world. I certainly didn't want to put it down...
Under the surface is Kate's relationship with Dabney, his father's frantic failing, Lizard's deep lust for Sylphide, and the many mysteries of High Side.
This book moves back and forth over decades, revealing secrets through the years. Early on, Lizard's parents are killed on their way to a witness protection home and in front of Lizard and his sister. Dabney is already dead in a horrific but questionable car accident. The rest of the book carries the murder mystery sub plot.
But for me the important plot is the growth of Lizard as he comes to love the people around him. After his football career, he becomes a restauranteer meeting the wonderful Etienne and his love Ruangela, a masculine cross dresser. He loves and lusts for Sylphide who appears episodically through his life. He grows into the giant body of his birth.
Secondary character is the wonderful High Side, possibly the most fabulously imagined wonderland of literature. It has every luxury I never imagined and seems to grow and contract as needed. The best part is the fantasy small scale suite in the pool house, a nook of waterfall showers and snug nests. The restaurants take on another character and entice us with wonderful food, always fully realized.
The one flaw for me was the actual murder mystery which dragged through the book.Read more ›
Roobach's chacters are all but secondary. His beloved sister, Katie, is bi-polar (what we would term it today) and is married to man who worships her despite all odds. And there are many odds; she flits from activitiy to activity in her manic states and has no compunction of almost alluring her own brother.
Across the pond from the Hockmeyer's abode, is the High Side, a real mansion with rooms, secret rooms and a staff. Living there is Sylphide, a sprite, a world-class ballerina and the widow of an international rock star. High Side is reminiscent of Gatsby. Lizard's relationship with Sylphide is odd but drenched in full adolescent longings. He also has Emily Bright, a sexual mix of Korean and black, who attracts David in his prime.
The story is a 40 year arc of David's grief and his coming of age. Roorbach careens us back and forth from the present to the past with alacrity, actually he snakes from timeframe to timeframe to excess. I began to wonder if any narrator is reliable.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Kept me engaged, wanting to see how the characters evolved. Good twist , nicely done. Would recommend for a satisfying light read.Published 26 days ago by Anders
This has become one of my most favorite novels. Bill Roorbach is able to pull aspects from so many areas of interest and put them into one intriguing story. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Kyle C.
A lot like a John Irving book, only it was missing any truly lovable characters, and the end when it finally happened ( yes this book is slow to get to the point, and annoyingly is... Read morePublished 3 months ago by P. M.
I really enjoyed this book. A variety of characters that were engaging. It goes back in forth in time, but you can easily follow. A mystery weaves in and out of the story line. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Stacey R Carkhuff
While I enjoyed some of the characters the story lacked cohesion and left me feeling unsatisfied. Felt his fathers story was not adequately explored despite being a major player... Read morePublished 9 months ago by BrenLec
Bill Roorbach is my current favorite novelist. Unguessable plot, great characters.Published 12 months ago by Reed Bertolette
I had to force myself to finish this book, chapter by chapter. The characters are bizarre and highly unlikely (and unlikeable), the story jumps back and forth in time and is a... Read morePublished 16 months ago by MN Book Worm