The Laments

  • by George Hagen
  • Narrated by Richard Matthews
  • 10 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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.


What the Critics Say

"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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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Wonderful narration, well-written character study

Would you listen to The Laments again? Why?

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.

What other book might you compare The Laments to, and why?

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.

What does Richard Matthews bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

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.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

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.

Any additional comments?

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.

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Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-06-2004
  • Publisher: Books on Tape