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The Light of the Falling Stars Hardcover – August 4, 1997

3.5 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

The effects of a plane crash on the friends and family of the victims, and especially on the lives of the young couple who witness the crash, is the subject of this sporadically interesting but ultimately weak first novel. As the book opens, Paul and Anita Beveridge are sitting outdoors opening Paul's birthday presents when an airplane goes down in flames, destroying part of their house in the Montana woods. Then the scene shifts to people waiting for the plane's arrival, including Lars Cowgill, whose girlfriend Megan was on the plane, and Trixie, whose long-time ex-husband, Hamish has shocked her with the news that he is coming to Montana to see her. The crash also gives Bernardo, the sole survivor, a chance to rebuild his life after fleeing Italy in disgrace. Lennon occasionally shows flashes of real talent?the book's first chapter is particularly good?but he has included too many characters and failed to adequately develop them, using successively fewer interesting subplots. Skip this and wait for Lennon's next.?Nancy Pearl, Washington Ctr. for the Book, Seattle
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From The New Yorker

Lennon's impressive first novel--psychologically nuanced, richly detailed, unexpectedly comic--offers us an unsentimental examination of the ways in which we find and lose those we love, both before and after death.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 307 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover; First Edition edition (August 4, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1573220663
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573220668
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,182,055 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
There are some books that beg to be read. You're standing in the bookstore or the library, scanning titles and one catches your eye. You pick it up, hold it in your hands and flip open the front cover to scan the synopsis. You think, "Well, maybe." You open it up, check out the font, the spaces between the lines, the way the pages look and think, "Possibly." You turn to the first page and begin to read, "A plane crashed. It was August, a hot, dry day." And you continue reading as you head to the check out counter (or click your mouse to add it to your shopping cart). THE LIGHT OF FALLING STARS is one of those books for me. A first novel for J. Robert Lennon, I first read it three years ago, just before my first trip to Montana where this book just happens to take place.
The book carries you through the aftermath of the plane crash and its effects on the people in Marshall, Montana. You come to know them on a level that is both intimate and real through Lennon's descriptive and easy-flowing prose and dialogue.
This is a book you'll be glad you found.
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Format: Hardcover
"The Light of Falling Stars" is a debut novel by J. Robert Lennon. In light of events of September 2001, I found this book to be haunting and insightful. It follows several residents of the small town of Marshall, Montana after a plane crashes in some woods on the outskirts of town. Of the over 50 passengers kiled in the crash, 31 of them are from Marshall. But the book doesn't tell the tale of those who were killed, it instead focuses on those that they left behind.
Paul and Anita Beveridge live in a renovated fishing cabin on the edge of a National Wilderness area. They are a young married couple whose relationship is faltering. They are out in their backyard arguing on a hot August evening when the plane's engine clips the corner of the roof of their cabin and they witness the plane crashing in the nearby forest. Lars Gowgill is a young man who goes with his friend to pick his girlfriend, Megan, up at the airport after she spent the summer in Seattle with her family. Trixie Bogen is a lonely, old women who lives by herself in Marshall and she is awaiting the arrival of her ex-husband.
The novel explores the story of these characters in the aftermath of the crash. It shows how they handle the loss, how it effects each of them, and how they learn to continue with their lives after the tragedy. The story delves into love, loss, mourning, and relationships.
The writing in "The Light of Falling Stars" is simple and beautiful. The writing captured my attention immediately and kept me turning the pages. The novel offers an excellent exploration of human emotions in the aftermath of tragedy.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the second J. Robert Lennon book I've read, but this book, THE LIGHT OF FALLING STARS, was his first novel, and an amazingly complex and multi-layered work of fiction. It's hard to believe it was his first. A plane crash in Montana is the event that unites the several stories given us here. The central characters are all somehow connected to that crash - relatives, lovers, ex-spouses and eye-witnesses. The stories, which slowly converge and - mostly - come together, are fairly compelling. You want to know what happens next, in other words. The main problem I had with the book was that I didn't particularly like any of the people. None of them seemed to come across as very admirable or sympathetic characters. The younger ones seem directionless and vague in their aspirations - if indeed they have any defined goals or aspirations. And even the older ones - Trixie and Bernardo - are not very likeable. There is not much resolution to be found in any of the separate stories. But life goes on; maybe that's what the novel is about. In any case, perhaps Lennon bit off just a little more than he could chew with so many characters and subplots.

For my money, I preferred the other Lennon novel I read a while back, called ON THE NIGHT PLAIN. A much tighter book with better-defined and sympathetic characters. (See my review.) So I don't think I'll give up on J. Robert Lennon yet. If I run across another of his books, I'll probably give it a try.

- Tim Bazzett, author of the memoir BOOKLOVER
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Format: Hardcover
This was one of the most engrossing reads I've ever experienced. From the first page to the last I was thoroughly involved with the story and all the characters. I was very sorry when the book ended.
There are many things I liked about the book. The story is compelling and certainly more than holds the attention - the whole theme of the loss of love, the crushing disappointment of chances recognized too late and missed, and then the process of redemption that may or may not come later, is one of the most poignant imaginable in literature as far as I'm concerned. This author handles it magnficently well.
The characters represent a very diverse range of personalities, and they are developed very well by the author. I felt as if I knew them. I also liked them - they all came across as knowable, likable people.
Finally, many of the readers'reviews that I've read on Amazon.com have been critical of the ending of this book. The feeling seems to be that the endin! g is unsatisfactory and leaves too many things dangling and unresolved. While I can see where people are coming from with this, I nevertheless strongly disagree. Certainly it is true that things are not resolved with any sense of finality, and we wish we knew what was going to happen next in the lives of these people. However, each of the major characters in the book reaches a significant node, or turning point, in their life at the end of the book. In the last section of the book something happens to each of them that represents the possibility of a significant new beginning. Go back and look at the last three-four chapters and see if you don't agree. To me it seemed that the ending was extremely subtle and quite satisfying. In fact, any sort of neatly tied up ending to this story would simply not have been believable nor would it have worked. I think the author handled the ending perfectly.
In summary, I can't recommend this book enough - it is a superb piece of wo! rk.
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