Constantly moving, from South Africa to the Persian Gulf, to Rhodesia, to England, and ultimately to suburban New Jersey, the Laments are a quirky and lovable family who live by the motto "anywhere but here." The main character, Will Lament, whom the Laments take home from the hospital as a result of a bizarre mix-up, grows up feeling that he doesn't belong. For after all, there is his father, an idealistic engineer; his mother, a woman of indomitable spirit with a passion for Shakespeare; and his brothers, twins Marcus and Julius, who are nothing but trouble. What makes this quirky family so universal is Will's search for identity and the Laments' unwieldy love for one another, even in the most difficult of times.More
"A family story on speed, with a jolt of black comedy that makes it a close relative to that greatest of all American family stories, The Simpsons." (The New York Times Book Review)
"A funny, touching novel about the meaning of family." (Publishers Weekly)
"Mr. Hagen has shaped an affectionate family portrait in which the characters come vividly to life, no matter how adrift they may be." (The New York Times)
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Wonderful narration, well-written character study
The characters stay with you though it may be due as much to the identities created by Richard Matthews' narration as the written word. This book certainly stays on my virtual bookshelf.
The wrily funny observation of events and rights of passage make this novel sound as autobiographical as novels of the genre of To Kill A Mockingbird - you become part of the community as a listener.
Perhaps Richard Matthews narration is probably what brings this audio book to life - he manages to create characters that have substance, with their own accents and intonations, and that remain identifiable throughout.
So many times when listening to this book while commuting on public transport I found myself laughing out loud and, on a couple of occasions, misting up.
My only question at the moment? Where's the sequel? There's a timeline and stepping off point established at the end of this very entertaining novel.