Friday, November 5, 2010

In the Company of Others by Jan Karon

In the Company of Others by Jan Karon (Rated: C)
ISBN: 978-0-670-02212-0
Viking Press
Published October 30, 2010
Hardcover, 399 pages

Reviewed by Sandra

The unlikely protagonist is a 70-year-old retired Episcopalian priest named Tim. He and his 64-year-old wife of 8 years spend a vacation in Ireland, “getting in touch with his roots.” While staying at a seemingly charming family-run fishing lodge they encounter a variety of harmless characters… idyllic vacation lies ahead. But…. an intruder appears in a bedroom, a valuable painting is stolen, the fishing lodge loses its charm and a mystery begins.

At the heart of the story is the dysfunctional family who own the lodge. Each one has their own secrets and intrigues. “Father” Tim is at the helm trying to help them deal with their issues. Cynthia, too, is sympathetic to their challenges and when she finds a journal dating back to the 1800’s, something in the journal helps to solve the mystery of the missing painting and more.

The descriptions are creative. An example is “the water’s surface was golden now, hammered by the afternoon sun. Bees droned in the flower beds; the trunks of the beeches convened like patient elephants.”

I could hear the Irish lilt in some of the dialogue and this made the story real for me. At one point someone says about prayer to God, “He wouldn’t be after hearin’ from me.” Someone was “overly fond of the table.” A nurse was “familiar with the backside of Gehenna.”

Biblical references and Yeats’ poetry fill this bitter/sweet, slow-moving Irish tale that is essentially about the liberating power of confession, forgiveness, and redemption.

I recommend this book to anyone looking for a story with a happy ending.

Disclosure: Thanks to Barbara Bower from Viking Press/Penguin Group for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.

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  1. I love Karon's work, and I'm glad to see she hasn't lost her touch.

  2. Great review, Sandra! You have a way of showing a book in its best light.

  3. Great review! I loved this book too... Jan Karon's books are like a breath of fresh air!

  4. Thanks for your kind comments, Laura and Kate.


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