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The Resource Going home again, Dennis Bock

Going home again, Dennis Bock

Label
Going home again
Title
Going home again
Statement of responsibility
Dennis Bock
Creator
Subject
Language
eng
Summary
"After two acclaimed historical novels, one of Canada's most celebrated young writers now goes contemporary with the vibrant story of a man taking stock of the shape his life has taken, and why, and what--as a husband, a father, a brother, and an uncle--his responsibilities truly are. Charlie Bellerose leads a semi-nomadic existence, traveling widely to manage the language academies he has established in different countries. After separating, somewhat amicably, from his wife, he moves from Madrid back to his native Canada to set up a new school, and for the first time in his life he forges a meaningful relationship with his brother, who's going through a vicious divorce. Charlie manages to make a fresh start in Toronto but longs for his twelve-year-old daughter, whom he sees only via Skype and the occasional overseas visit. After a chance encounter with a college girlfriend, he works through a series of memories--including a particularly painful one they share--as he reflects on how he ended up where he is. But two tragic events (one long past, the other very much in the present) finally force him to reevaluate his priorities and his relationships with everyone around him. "--
Storyline
Pace
Tone
Review
  • Well-regarded Canadian author Bock (The Communist’s Daughter, 2007) seems to pose a rhetorical question with the title of his newest novel, Going Home Again, given that no one can return to what their memories have made of their actual past. Narrator Charlie Bellerose is a successful businessman and owner of several language schools. He lives in Madrid with his wife, Isabel, and his beloved daughter, Ava. When his marriage fails, he returns to Toronto, where he grew up, and reconnects with his brother, Nate, whose marriage is also unraveling. Charlie recalls his old life: his dear friend Miles; his first love, Holly; and the tragedy that rocked his youth. Charlie can’t quite wrap his head around what has happened, but he has more grace than Nate, a self-absorbed boor. “Wasn’t this the greatest irony, that what you need to leave behind are things you’re unable to abandon?” Bock offers a pleasant if sentimental take on whether character is fate and what, if any, preparation the past actually provides for life in the present. -- Autrey, Michael (Reviewed 08-01-2013) (Booklist, vol 109, number 22)
  • Although it opens with a murder, the third novel by the acclaimed author of The Ash Garden is a tale with modest reach about regret, the faded promise of youth, family and marital dynamics, and realizing limitations while moving forward. Narrator Charlie Bellerose recounts “a hell of a year” during which he separated from his wife Isabel, left her and their daughter Ava in Madrid, and returned to Toronto to establish his fifth language school. There, Charlie encounters Nate, his selfish elder brother, who reminds Charlie of his discomforting past. Nate is an affluent lawyer likewise facing “a divorce full to overflowing with discord and grievance,” and the two brothers maintain an uneasy peace. Charlie runs into his first love, Holly Grey, prompting meandering episodes of remembrance: about the death of his parents; his university days in Montreal and close friendship there with both Miles Esler and Miles’s girlfriend, Holly; Miles’s seemingly accidental death; Charlie and Holly’s deepening bond; and his solitary wanders through Europe and eventual arrival in Madrid, where he meets Isabel. Charlie’s middle-aged ethical dilemmas about manhood, marriage, and family provide pleasant contrast to lengthy youthful travelogue that occasionally fails to make a strong impression. (Aug.) --Staff (Reviewed June 10, 2013) (Publishers Weekly, vol 260, issue 23, p)
  • /* Starred Review */ After two novels (The Communist's Daughter, 2007, etc.) prominently featuring politics and war, Bock offers a deceptively modest domestic drama about a man returning to Toronto from Italy after the breakup of his marriage. After his Italian wife, Isabel, leaves him and takes up with another man, expat Canadian Charlie decides to escape his emotional pain by returning to Toronto to open a new branch of the language school chain he owns. He plans to be gone for one year and to stay in constant touch with his 12-year-old daughter, Ava. In Canada, Charlie reconnects with his older brother, Nate, from whom he's been estranged since chauvinist swine Nate behaved particularly boorishly to Isabel years before. Now going through his own ugly divorce and desperate to maintain his relationship with his two sons, Nate at first seems chastened. But Charlie gradually realizes that Nate has not changed as much as he'd like to pretend and is rabidly bitter that the boys prefer staying with his ex-wife and her easygoing boyfriend. Charlie, who desperately misses Ava and questions why he decided to take himself out of her life, becomes increasingly protective of Nate's boys. He is still pining for Isabel as well as Ava when he runs into his long-lost first love, Holly; he was running away from their troubled relationship when he first met Isabel. Once Charlie corrects his misreading of past events, he begins to take responsibility for his life. And by the time Nate spirals out of control, Charlie understands how fundamentally different a man is from his brother. The elliptical narrative, which sometimes leaves out connecting details, is more intriguing than confusing as Charlie sorts out the truth. On one level, the novel captures the difficulty men have reading women; on a deeper level, Bock plumbs issues of memory, moral responsibility and what constitutes a man's real love for a woman. Finely crafted, disarmingly casual prose that quietly penetrates the reader's mind and heart.(Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2013)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10192753
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1964-
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Bock, Dennis
Index
no index present
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
Divorced men
Label
Going home again, Dennis Bock
Instantiates
Publication
Note
"This is a Borzoi book"--T.p. verso
Carrier category
volume
Content category
text
Control code
000050533818
Dimensions
22 cm.
Edition
First edition.
Extent
257 pages
Isbn
9781400044634
Isbn Type
(hardback)
Label
Going home again, Dennis Bock
Publication
Note
"This is a Borzoi book"--T.p. verso
Carrier category
volume
Content category
text
Control code
000050533818
Dimensions
22 cm.
Edition
First edition.
Extent
257 pages
Isbn
9781400044634
Isbn Type
(hardback)

Library Locations

    • Lionel Bowen Library and Community CentreBorrow it
      669-673 Anzac Parade, Marouba, NSW, 2035, AU
      -33.938111 151.237977
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