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The Hungry Season

Average Rating 4
( 36 )
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(16)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

16 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

The Basic Human Need for Sustenance

I knew Greenwood was coming out with a new book, but I was a slacker and did not know when it was to be released. So I was browsing at Barnes & Noble (a thing I love to do and am well-known for...when friends ask me what I'm doing most of the time the answer is...hangin...
I knew Greenwood was coming out with a new book, but I was a slacker and did not know when it was to be released. So I was browsing at Barnes & Noble (a thing I love to do and am well-known for...when friends ask me what I'm doing most of the time the answer is...hanging out at B&N...sad to be so predictable...) and, again, happened upon Greenwood's latest book by accident. It was a sweet surprise. I barely even read, registered, thought about what the book was about because I knew I just had to read it.

Greenwood writes beautifully. Her descriptions are vivid, her characters are realistically portrayed and each have identifiable flaws, and she actually uses symbolism and parallelism! All these things are must-haves for a good book. Symbolism is becoming a lost art in literature, but Greenwood proves that it can make a comeback and there is a place for it.

Enough gushing about this awesome talent (of which I am jealous). The plot of the story, which I really read after I purchased the book (if you know me you know this is really strange for me to do) really hit home for me. It's about a family who take a summer trip to Lake Gormlaith in Vermont in the aftershock of losing their daughter and sister (respectively). The whole time we don't really know what happened to Franny. We just know she is no longer alive and the family is trying to pick up the pieces and stay together.

One of the interesting things about this story is the idea of HUNGER. Greenwood says, in the back of the book, that she became fascinated with it because it is the basest of human needs and something we take for granted. Within the book, the writer father named Sam discovers how hunger plays in religions and cultures with fasting and such. And there were some fanatics who starved themselves on purpose to gain euphoria and something like nirvana.

So there is the idea of literal hunger, right? But then here's where it gets interesting. Greenwood explores the idea of figurative hunger. Each of the characters hunger for something different. Mena, the mother, hungers for affection from her husband. Sam, the father, hungers for the return of his creative juices and the virility (through most of the book he battles impotence)of his youth. Finn, Franny's twin brother, hungers for peaceful sleep, normalcy with his parents, and trust. Throughout the story, each of them try to fulfill their hunger but they go about it the wrong way.

The family is grieving the loss of Franny and, instead of exploring their grief as just plain grief, Greenwood uses HUNGER to explain what they are feeling. When I realized this I came to understand feelings I myself have felt over the last two years.

There is another character, Dale, who also hungers. She is a psychotic fan of Sam's. The reader gets to see her gradual dive into the deep end as she goes from mere fan to stalker to lunatic. She hungers for completion through Sam. I tend to think she sees him as a father figure because her father was never there for her. It's hard to say, though, what is really driving Dale. She, too, goes about fulfilling her hunger in the wrong ways.

I will not spoil the book by telling you how it resolves. Greenwood is a good enough writer that she doesn't really have to feed you the answers b

posted by JakeTaylor on April 11, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Good

Would have liked it if there would have been a thread of positivity through the story. Everything dark and hopeless then (spoiler alert) all of a sudden at the end everything works out.

posted by Anonymous on November 22, 2012

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  • Posted April 11, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    The Basic Human Need for Sustenance

    I knew Greenwood was coming out with a new book, but I was a slacker and did not know when it was to be released. So I was browsing at Barnes & Noble (a thing I love to do and am well-known for...when friends ask me what I'm doing most of the time the answer is...hanging out at B&N...sad to be so predictable...) and, again, happened upon Greenwood's latest book by accident. It was a sweet surprise. I barely even read, registered, thought about what the book was about because I knew I just had to read it.

    Greenwood writes beautifully. Her descriptions are vivid, her characters are realistically portrayed and each have identifiable flaws, and she actually uses symbolism and parallelism! All these things are must-haves for a good book. Symbolism is becoming a lost art in literature, but Greenwood proves that it can make a comeback and there is a place for it.

    Enough gushing about this awesome talent (of which I am jealous). The plot of the story, which I really read after I purchased the book (if you know me you know this is really strange for me to do) really hit home for me. It's about a family who take a summer trip to Lake Gormlaith in Vermont in the aftershock of losing their daughter and sister (respectively). The whole time we don't really know what happened to Franny. We just know she is no longer alive and the family is trying to pick up the pieces and stay together.

    One of the interesting things about this story is the idea of HUNGER. Greenwood says, in the back of the book, that she became fascinated with it because it is the basest of human needs and something we take for granted. Within the book, the writer father named Sam discovers how hunger plays in religions and cultures with fasting and such. And there were some fanatics who starved themselves on purpose to gain euphoria and something like nirvana.

    So there is the idea of literal hunger, right? But then here's where it gets interesting. Greenwood explores the idea of figurative hunger. Each of the characters hunger for something different. Mena, the mother, hungers for affection from her husband. Sam, the father, hungers for the return of his creative juices and the virility (through most of the book he battles impotence)of his youth. Finn, Franny's twin brother, hungers for peaceful sleep, normalcy with his parents, and trust. Throughout the story, each of them try to fulfill their hunger but they go about it the wrong way.

    The family is grieving the loss of Franny and, instead of exploring their grief as just plain grief, Greenwood uses HUNGER to explain what they are feeling. When I realized this I came to understand feelings I myself have felt over the last two years.

    There is another character, Dale, who also hungers. She is a psychotic fan of Sam's. The reader gets to see her gradual dive into the deep end as she goes from mere fan to stalker to lunatic. She hungers for completion through Sam. I tend to think she sees him as a father figure because her father was never there for her. It's hard to say, though, what is really driving Dale. She, too, goes about fulfilling her hunger in the wrong ways.

    I will not spoil the book by telling you how it resolves. Greenwood is a good enough writer that she doesn't really have to feed you the answers b

    16 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2012

    Anorexia

    What a remarkable book. This book was very realistic. The author does a fantastic job depicting the aftermath of an unexpected death. She depicts grief from everybodies perspective. She even gets twin loss which is a whole seperate issue. A must read. You wont be sorry!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 31, 2013

    Very good read

    I loved this book, it kept my attention and I couldnt put it down. The author is one of my favorites too. You must read this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2013

    Very good!

    This was my first book by this author and I could not put it down. Interesting plot development. A sad but believable story about a loving contemporary family dealing with a great loss. I would highly recommend it. Doesnt play out in a predictable way.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2012

    Intense, Gripping, and Familiar

    A powerful novel which explored the dynamics of a shattered family following the tragic death of their daughter. The relationships are vividly described in a way that made it impossible to put the book down. I found myself rooting for their successes, crying for their pain, and by the beautiful end of the book, exhausted and content as if I myself had been through their journey. I read the last page and immediately began back at the first.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2012

    Highly recommend

    Very very excellent book!!!!!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 23, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Outstanding! Another Winner by T. Greenwood

    This is my fifth book by T. Greenwood and starting my sixth, (Two Rivers) today. As you can see, am not reading them in specific order. Once you have read one book by this talented author, you cannot stop until you read everything she has written-while anxiously awaiting her next masterpiece. I actually this one and finished it in same day.

    It is so hard to say which book is my favorite, as each and every one is a unique story. The author has a way of taking flawed characters and developing them into beautiful stories which will warm your heart and soul, and leave you pondering for hours after the book ends. T. Greenwood is in a class by herself and is hard to compare her to other writers; she gets to the heart of social issues, and not afraid to tackle them--put them out there in order for her characters to begin healing and starting over.

    “The Hungry Season” is no exception, as the readers guide and discussion questions are worth hours of book club and on line further discussions. Wow, what I would give to have her as a writing teacher – can you imagine?

    The Mason family is suffering after the loss of their daughter and heads from San Diego to Vermont (one of my favorite places), to their favorite summer lake house which they now buy, in order to escape the city and try and bring their life back to some sense of normal.

    Each one of them has issues to overcome: Sam, the father is suffering from writer’s block with a deadline hanging over him . His wife, Mena is trying to fix her family desperately, and her marriage to get back what they have lost. Lastly, Finn (the twin left behind) is acting out in all sorts of ways in order to feel something.

    Of course at the center of the novel is Franny. The book begins and ends with her presence and is about those she left behind. At the time of the novel she has died; however, the cause of death is not disclosed until towards the end, as this family tries desperately to forgive themselves, to begin nourishing one another.

    Love the way the author uses “hungry” throughout the novel as it relates eating disorders, strong needs, desire, or force. There are also secondary characters which experience hunger in different ways.

    As a note from the author, she so eloquently describes, “For some people deprived of necessary sustenance, hunger is suffering. Conversely, for some it can be a source of power and this love affair with hunger is irresistible to some, despite its often lethal consequences.”

    What a beautiful and compelling story, articulated with clarity and sensitivity.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2013

    I beg to differ with the comment that "the whole time we do

    I beg to differ with the comment that "the whole time we don't really know what happened to Franny..."  This book is ALL about what happened to Franny from the title of the book to the last sentence!  
    This book held me captivated the entire time I was reading it.  Not only did it deal with major grief and how different people handle it, but it also showed how the people involved grew from the grief.  The twisted way this story ends was just that - twisted.  But it was also very funny!  I loved the wry sense of humor that threaded its way throughout the pages of this book - very impressive writing style!

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    Posted May 21, 2012

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