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Loon Lake: A Novel Paperback – September 11, 2007
Intrusion: A Novel
A loving couple, grieving the loss of their son, finds their marriage in free fall when a beautiful, long-lost acquaintance inserts herself into their lives. Learn More
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Top Customer Reviews
Part of the rationale for this, as the confused reader eventually learns, is that one of the focal characters is a failed poet. Loon Lake follows two intersecting story lines, and initially reads like two different books smashed together: one about the failed poet and one about Joe the hobo. Though the poet's tale contains evocative descriptions of formative experiences in Colorado and Japan, his story feels largely irrelevant to the main thread of the book. And while Joe's lean, haunting journey through Depression-era America is often vividly engaging, the shifty, inconsistent style of his narration renders him seemingly unreliable and strangely alien.
The New York Times' 1980 review of the book suggests that Joe's transgressions of narrative form are emblematic of the degree of freedom he finally achieves. For me this seems like a real stretch. Loon Lake ends so abruptly that it's difficult to know whether Joe's fate is a triumph or a tragedy, whether his 'achievements' ultimately satisfy or disappoint. I found the book to be a compelling but unfulfilling read, and would only readily recommend it for E.L. Doctorow completists or those interested in the time period. Unfortunately, despite a wealth of rich material, Loon Lake seems inexpertly cobbled together and oddly unfinished.
The narrator is a tough street kid who grows up in Paterson, New Jersey, but who cons his way into a rich man's life. It is a rags-to-riches novel, but one that unfolds in an entirely original and experimental way.
The narrator, who has lived like a hobo, is adopted by his wealthy patron, and he winds up with an Ivy League education and the rich man's name. What I especially love about this book is the way Doctorow mixes the diction, so that the narrator's voice is alternately crude and polished. The idea that a voice could sound like this--and convincingly so--has been a great lesson to me.
I can understand why this book would turn off and confuse an average reader, but if you are a writer yourself, or if have an interest in experimental prose, this really deserves your attention.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I'm not saying Fitzgerald's Gatsby isn't a great book, but it is limited in scope, whereas this is more panoramic, dramatic, darker, and kind of the "adult" version. Read morePublished 4 months ago by beltway-bidder
This is not the easiest book to follow, with its multiple narrators and changing person, sometimes from first to third in the same paragraph and referencing the same character. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Patti
It is well written with very descriptive narrative. Unfortunately, it's a bit hard to follow and the story doesn't tie in until the end.Published 9 months ago by Claire Dillon
Very confusing with multiple plot lines and narrators. Unlikely plot twists and an ending that just doesn't make any sense at allPublished 16 months ago by Bob Schurter
After enjoying six previously read Doctorow novels, Loon Lake is a major, major disappointment. The story line is incredibly disjointed, making for a difficult read. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Robert W Edwards
A positively captivating story by one of America's foremost contemporary authors. A great summer or vacation read.Published 23 months ago by D. Mcguinness
It has been a long time since I read a book through so quickly. The story plot kept my interest, especially about the old time carnivals and the unions, but it was the writing... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Susan
Just an amazing book about America as it was in the great depression, and the amazing story of this boy who came from nothing and ended up working for the CIA. Read morePublished on June 3, 2014 by bempa
Unlike most of e l doctorow's novels, this one did not grab my interest. I put it down half way through and donated it.Published on April 13, 2014 by Joyce E Palmer