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Losing Julia Hardcover – February 15, 2000

4.6 out of 5 stars 171 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In a nursing home in California, WWI vet Patrick Delaney is fighting new battles: against old age (he's 81), stomach cancer and the knowledge of his encroaching death. This earnest, elegant first novel takes the form of Patrick's diary, in which he details the humbling infirmities of an aging body and looks back at the defining moments of his life--the war itself, when he lost his best friend, Daniel, and the brief but intense love affair he had 10 years later with Daniel's grieving lover, Julia. The diary layers these two stories with scenes from the nursing home in short alternating sections. Like the dots in a pointillist painting, they merge into the larger work, a story of love and death. "Our lives--all our lives--are a struggle between love and loss," Julia tells Patrick in Paris, where their affair unfolds over one week in 1928. Hull is ultimately better at depicting war than--Patrick's memories of Julia are tinged with romantic cliche: her eyes are like "precious stone" and her smile suggests a "combination of strength and vulnerability." But his descriptions of the war are frightening and physical, with dirt dislodged by artillery shells filling Patrick's mouth and flares illuminating severed body parts in the trenches. Hull's research is assiduous; he seamlessly incorporates period detail, referencing the toiletries the enlistees received in their trench kits and how the weather affected the roads at the Battle of Verdun. Equally honest and effective are the unsparing descriptions of the loneliness, physical decrepitude and indignities of old age. Patrick is a winning narrator, charming and honest and direct, and the reader will root for him right through the book's Hollywood ending, where he makes one last stand against death, his final enemy. Major ad/promo; author tour. (Feb.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

The nightmare of World War I, a brief interlude in Paris, losing friends and family, winding up in a nursing home with a failing body and a million memories: Patrick Delaney is the central character in this story of a man's life told in three time periods. The narrative moves smoothly from the end of Delaney's life back through his war experience in the trenches in France forward through a short time in Paris in the late 1920s where he meets the beautiful girlfriend of his dead army buddy, Daniel. Julia and Patrick find love, which becomes more intense and romantic by the complications of Patrick's wife and child. The cycles of war, love, loss, and death in a lifetime are nothing new. Yet the tale is so beautifully woven and the nostalgia so deep and true that the listener is captivated. Actor Ralph Waite's voice is perfectAgravelly and poignant and full of expression as Patrick in three stages of life. Public libraries will want this.ABarbara Valle, El Paso P.L., TX
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Press; First Edition edition (February 15, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385333757
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385333757
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.8 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (171 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,350,810 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By D. Jenkins on February 17, 2000
Format: Hardcover
How many of us find the time to truly take stock of our life at various stages of our stay on this planet? Jonathan Hull's superb novel "Losing Julia" provides the reader the rare opportunity to experience the love and regrets of a good and decent man from his youth through old age. This exceptional story is told through the journal of Patrick Delaney, a story stretching from the trenches of World War I France to the experiences of an old man fighting a terminal disease while living in an assisted care facility. Holding the story together perfectly is Patrick's experiences and descriptions of love at various watersheds in his life; from his love of his fellow soldiers experiencing the agony and utter waste of war, to the experience of finding and then losing a woman who is a perfect spiritual fit to what Patrick needs and what he can give in return, and finally to an old man living out his remaining months trying without success to remain distant from others because they all die too soon and too frequently. Hull's writing is brilliant, conveying Patrick's thoughts and emotions perfectly as he matures. While the major thrust of "Losing Julia" is every person's need to love and be loved, the novel conveys the suffering and misery of war as no mere history could. War is more than casualty counts and property destruction. Hull very effectively conveys the emotional scars that war burns into the souls of its participants...and even its observers. "Losing Julia" is an altogether engrossing read, an emotional and thought provoking experience. Readers will remember and savor this story and these characters for a very long time.
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Format: Hardcover
I bought Losing Julia after the passenger next to me on my flight to Denver, was crying while reading it. After hearing her review I bought the book. During my trip in the mountains, I could not put the book down!
Hull somehow intertwined several time periods around this story of a war veteran who is comming to grips with loved lost and old age closing in on him.
The book was amazing to me, as one page would have me laughing out loud, then the next minute I was riveted with the detailed descriptions of war and then a moment later Hull would hit me with a wonderful description of how love can affect us all. Hull has such a unique yet universal way of looking at life. For example, there as not one analogy of love I had ever heard before, yet I felt I had agreed with them all.
Ironically, my experience with this book ends on my return flight home from my trip. I somehow arrived at the conclusion of the book during the final minutes of my flight, and then I (and I thought I was stronger than this) started crying. All these time periods come to a dramatic conclusion.
I stongly recommend you buy this book and I hope it makes it to the big screen.
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Format: Hardcover
I have not read a fiction book in years that was as insightful as to the human condition - what we think and feel on a daily basis, but fail to say to others. It made me realize that my own internal ramblings, strange as they may seem, exist in others. This book, a phenomenal achievement, made me laugh throughout, take personal stock of my life and had the power and depth to make me cry at the end. I was moved by all these emotions during the reading of Losing Julia. It is so exciting and rare to find a book that is virtually impossible to put down, once commenced. My only criticism is that I wished it could have lasted longer. I was truly sad to have to let it go. I am eager to follow this gentleman's career and future books.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have never read a book like this one. I almost didn't pick it up to read again because the going-backs to the past and heading into the future were making me dizzy ... till I got the hang of the story. And I couldn't put it down from then on. If I could, I would rate it a 10! It's that good!!
Patrick Delaney was facing the end of his life and began contemplating the past ~~ to revisit the memories of his buddies from World War One, especially Daniel, his best friend who was killed in the war. Daniel was one of the rare men who have found love with Julia and through her letters to Daniel, Patrick fell in love with her. By a chance meeting in Paris ten years after the war, Patrick and Julia meet and fall in love. Patrick was married at the time and had a child and the confusion, longings and desires he had felt were so heartrending that one can't help but feel his pain and sorrow with him. Years later when Patrick's marriage fell apart, he never married again as he was haunted by his love for Julia.
Hull writes so convincingly of the days of a man facing death, shut up in a nursing home; traveling down memory lane wishing he had done things differently and trying to find the purpose of his life so he doesn't feel he lived in vain. You are trapped in an old man's body with Patrick and you feel the young man inside bemoaning how fast time travels. One day he was a jaunty soldier on his way to France ~~ his jauntiness hiding his fears and loneliness. Then the next day, he's an old man dying alone.
This is the most beautifully written book I have ever read. It sounds depressing on the blurbs but I advise you to ignore that. It is really not depressing ~~ it does have its depressing moments ~~ but it is freeing too.
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