Sunday, April 8, 2018

Book Brief: The Gunners by Rebecca Kauffman


by Rebecca Kauffman
Counterpoint Press
March 2018
224 pages



Motivation for reading:
Tara and Susie recommended it... and it's been compared to The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer, a favorite from a few years ago.

Source: Ebook downloaded from my library via hoopla. (an amazing service - so glad my library offers it!)

Publisher's summary:

Following her wonderfully received first novel, Another Place You’ve Never Been, called “mesmerizing,” “powerful,” and “gorgeous,” by critics all over the country, Rebecca Kauffman returns with Mikey Callahan, a thirty-year-old who is suffering from the clouded vision of macular degeneration. He struggles to establish human connections—even his emotional life is a blur.

As the novel begins, he is reconnecting with “The Gunners,” his group of childhood friends, after one of their members has committed suicide. Sally had distanced herself from all of them before ending her life, and she died harboring secrets about the group and its individuals. Mikey especially needs to confront dark secrets about his own past and his father. How much of this darkness accounts for the emotional stupor Mikey is suffering from as he reaches his maturity? And can The Gunners, prompted by Sally’s death, find their way to a new day? The core of this adventure, made by Mikey, Alice, Lynn, Jimmy, and Sam, becomes a search for the core of truth, friendship, and forgiveness.

A quietly startling, beautiful book, The Gunners engages us with vividly unforgettable characters, and advances Rebecca Kauffman’s place as one of the most important young writers of her generation.

Opening line:

Mikey Callahan discovered something about himself when he was six years old.

My thoughts:

I recently gathered a small pile of books to sample before choosing my next read. The Gunners was on top and by the end of the first page, I knew I wouldn't even open the others.

In The Gunners, I found a complex, satisfying, well-written novel about lifelong bonds evolving from childhood friendships. The suburban Buffalo setting felt comfortably familiar and, especially remarkable for such a short novel, I felt I knew and understood each character.

Reminiscent of both The Interestings and The Big ChillThe Gunners  is my favorite novel so far  this year. I've added Kauffman's debut novel, Another Place You've Never Been, to my reading list.

My rating:

26 comments:

  1. You've convinced me I need to read this. I'm adding it to my wish list.

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  2. sounds intense and kind of lovely. You always seem to find books like this....

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    1. Patty - This is just the kind of book I love!

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  3. Wow glad it was such a good read & experience for you. I'm on the wait list for it at the library!

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    1. Susan - I have a feeling you'll like it, too! ;-)

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  4. This sounds good. I tend to like these reunion type books when old friends and old problems reappear. The macular degeneration angle sounds like a creative twist.

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    1. Brian - These reunion style books always appeal to me, too. This author has packed a lot into just 225 pages... looking forward to more from her!

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  5. I would like to read this one. He is only thirty years old. I don't know much about this disease at all. I thought that only older people were struck with it.

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    1. Tea - It is pretty unusual for someone so young to be afflicted... the condition moves the plot forward though.

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  6. This sounds like a winner! I know I'll get to it someday, but I really need to start concentrating on the books I bought back in December!! We're on a roadtrip for three weeks and I haven't read more than a half dozen pages.

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    1. Les - I'm sure there's not much time for reading on your trip... loving the photos you're sharing on instagram! Reading books I already own needs to be a priority for me, too, but there's so much temptation! ;-)

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  7. It's on my Goodreads list! I am working on my BBC Culture book challenge (personal) and an Australian author challenge at present.

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    1. Tina - You've been reading some very interesting books lately! Good luck with your challenges.

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  8. Oh boy I must add this one to my list. Sounds like has a lot of the elements that I like in a novel!

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    1. Iliana - I know what you mean... this novel checked all the boxes for me, too.

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  9. I was gonna say that this reminds me of The Big Chill. I love books like this one. Kind of quiet and thoughtful but stays with you. Plus, anytime childhood is involved it's just so poignant, and special.

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    1. Ti - I think it's time for me to watch The Big Chill - yet again! This is definitely your kind of book.

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  10. I love the sound of this, thanks for sharing!

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    1. Diane - I think this is the first real book review post I've written in months, lol. Think you'd like this one.

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  11. Well then, I must read this!! I love books about lifelong friendships and I'm interested in the macular degeneration angle too. (I was having trouble commenting, so sorry if this comment appears multiple times!)

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    1. Beth F - This is definitely a must read! So sorry about commenting difficulty... I am so frustrated with blogger and have no idea how to fix the problem :(

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  12. First I've heard of this, but sounds like something I would like very much. Good review!

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    1. JaneGS - This is a VERY recently released novel... I'm usually not on new books so quickly! This type of story always appeals to me.

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  13. This does sounds like an interesting read and I will add it to the ever-growing list. However, what I really love about this post is the format!! I've struggled with writing adequate but concise book reviews for SO long. I think I might copy this style for future reviews, if you don't mind.

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    1. Molly - Feel free to use or adapt this format! I've gotten away from formal book reviews, but hopefully this book brief format will help me get started again.

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Thank you for taking the time to comment. These conversations are my favorite part of blogging. Please check back, I almost always respond to comments!

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