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The Children's Crusade
by Ann Packer and Cotter Smith and Santino Fontana and Thomas Sadoski


Overview - From the New York Times bestselling, award-winning author of The Dive From Clausen's Pier , a sweeping, masterful new novel that explores the secrets and desires, the remnant wounds and saving graces of one California family, over the course of five decades.  Read more...

 
Audio Compact Disc - Unabridged
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More About The Children's Crusade by Ann Packer; Cotter Smith; Santino Fontana; Thomas Sadoski
 
 
 
Overview
From the New York Times bestselling, award-winning author of The Dive From Clausen's Pier, a sweeping, masterful new novel that explores the secrets and desires, the remnant wounds and saving graces of one California family, over the course of five decades.

Bill Blair finds the land by accident, three wooded acres in a rustic community south of San Francisco. The year is 1954, long before anyone will call this area Silicon Valley. Struck by a vision of the family he has yet to create, Bill buys the property on a whim. In Penny Greenway he finds a suitable wife, a woman whose yearning attitude toward life seems compelling and answerable, and they marry and have four children. Yet Penny is a mercurial housewife, at a time when women chafed at the conventions imposed on them. She finds salvation in art, but the cost is high.

Thirty years later, the three oldest Blair children, adults now and still living near the family home, are disrupted by the return of the youngest, whose sudden presence and all-too-familiar troubles force a reckoning with who they are, separately and together, and set off a struggle over the family's future. One by one, the siblings take turns telling the story--Robert, a doctor like their father; Rebecca, a psychiatrist; Ryan, a schoolteacher; and James, the malcontent, the problem child, the only one who hasn't settled down--their narratives interwoven with portraits of the family at crucial points in their history.

Reviewers have praised Ann Packer's "brilliant ear for character" (The New York Times Book Review), her "naturalist's vigilance for detail, so that her characters seem observed rather than invented" (The New Yorker), and the "utterly lifelike quality of her book's everyday detail" (The New York Times). Her talents are on dazzling display in The Children's Crusade, an extraordinary study in character, a rare and wise examination of the legacy of early life on adult children attempting to create successful families and identities of their own. This is Ann Packer's most deeply affecting book yet.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781442383876
  • ISBN-10: 1442383879
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
  • Publish Date: April 2015
  • Page Count: 464
  • Dimensions: 5.64 x 6.14 x 1.13 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.69 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Literary
Books > Fiction > Family Life
Books > Fiction > Coming of Age

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2015-06-29
  • Reviewer: Staff

In 1954, pediatrician Bill Blair buys three acres of land in California and marries his girlfriend, Penny. They have four children. Dissatisfied as a housewife and mother, Penny moves into the shed, becomes an artist, and eventually abandons the family. The children grow up but still bear the emotional scars and resentments of childhood, which come to the fore when the youngest wants to sell their childhood home. This novel presents a challenge for audio: its chapters jump around among different time periods nonchronologically, and different chapters are told from different points of view—some are written in the omniscient third person, and others are told in first person from the grown children’s perspectives. Even with different actors for each first-person character, the story is hard to follow. The narrators all read with expression, but none makes any effort to differentiate the characters’ voices at all, save for a slightly higher pitch for female characters. So in scenes of all the adult children arguing, it’s difficult to keep track of who is saying what, especially since three of the four main characters have names beginning with R. This is one book that’s better fit for print. A Scribner hardcover. (Apr.)

 
BAM Customer Reviews