Customer Reviews for

That Old Cape Magic

Average Rating 3.5
( 168 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(36)

4 Star

(45)

3 Star

(36)

2 Star

(27)

1 Star

(24)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

10 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

This is an intriguing look at relationships

When Jack Griffin was growing up in New England, he vowed to never follow in the footsteps of his academia parents, both professors. Instead he fled to Los Angeles where he became a screenwriter and ultimately married Joy.

Ironically, after his parents die, he and h...
When Jack Griffin was growing up in New England, he vowed to never follow in the footsteps of his academia parents, both professors. Instead he fled to Los Angeles where he became a screenwriter and ultimately married Joy.

Ironically, after his parents die, he and his spouse move east as he accepts a position as a professor of film. As Jack has the urns containing the dust of his parents in his trunk, he looks back at his life wondering is that all there is. He thinks of his honeymoon with Joy at the cape where he demanded they go and a year later to Maine where she demanded they go. He reflects on the marriages of his parents and her parents while pondering whether he needs to call its quits on his.

This is an intriguing look at relationships with the emphasis being on marital, parent-adult offspring, and parent adult offspring's spouse. How haunting these combinations can be is accentuated by Jack's inability to spread the ashes. With flashbacks, the audience sees how dynamics change over time due to age and marital status. Although Jack can overkill a poetic soliloquy with a passionate display of motor mouth, fans will appreciate Richard Russell's deep look at relational magic.

Harriet Klausner

posted by harstan on July 17, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

No Pulitzer Prize Winner but enjoyable

Richard Russo wrote a "beach book" this time around. Enjoyable, light, superficial story. I agree with some of the other reviewers that he definitely overused certain phrases - not a lot of originality. Same with a number of the characters, e.g. Joy's twin brothers, ...
Richard Russo wrote a "beach book" this time around. Enjoyable, light, superficial story. I agree with some of the other reviewers that he definitely overused certain phrases - not a lot of originality. Same with a number of the characters, e.g. Joy's twin brothers, Sunny Kim. Just so stereotypical. Wait for the paperback and take it to the beach. It can be read in a day or so. I would give the book a 2.5.

posted by MaureenML on October 13, 2009

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  • Posted July 17, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    This is an intriguing look at relationships

    When Jack Griffin was growing up in New England, he vowed to never follow in the footsteps of his academia parents, both professors. Instead he fled to Los Angeles where he became a screenwriter and ultimately married Joy.

    Ironically, after his parents die, he and his spouse move east as he accepts a position as a professor of film. As Jack has the urns containing the dust of his parents in his trunk, he looks back at his life wondering is that all there is. He thinks of his honeymoon with Joy at the cape where he demanded they go and a year later to Maine where she demanded they go. He reflects on the marriages of his parents and her parents while pondering whether he needs to call its quits on his.

    This is an intriguing look at relationships with the emphasis being on marital, parent-adult offspring, and parent adult offspring's spouse. How haunting these combinations can be is accentuated by Jack's inability to spread the ashes. With flashbacks, the audience sees how dynamics change over time due to age and marital status. Although Jack can overkill a poetic soliloquy with a passionate display of motor mouth, fans will appreciate Richard Russell's deep look at relational magic.

    Harriet Klausner

    10 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 18, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    My Favorite Richard Russo book so far!

    I loved, loved, loved everything about the novel 'That Old Cape Magic.' The characters were so well drawn; the family quirks charming and "laugh out loud" funny.
    I'm recommending this book to friends as a great read.

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 26, 2009

    Russo's ironic humor rules in "That Old Cape Magic"

    Richard Russo's fiction may appeal more to mature readers than to those who like bodice-rippers and romans de clef. Its ironic look are modern marriage won't appeal to those who yearn for everything to work out all right in the end. It's far too realistic for that kind of formulaic reader's taste. But it does look without blinking at the capacity of people to live according to their own self-imposed formulas, and to affect the lives of their children and friends with their stubborn refusal to adapt their lives to conditions. Indeed, the stubborn adherence to formulas which reflect their snobbishness is the strongest aspect of the characters whose determined unhappiness makes their actions so interesting that we can no more turn away from them than we can drive past a wreck along the highway without slowing down.

    There is little escapism in this book for the reader who seeks it. Instead there is a hard look at those who seek to escape from their unhappy lives by denying that they are unhappy. There is plenty to think about in this book.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2009

    No Pulitzer Prize Winner but enjoyable

    Richard Russo wrote a "beach book" this time around. Enjoyable, light, superficial story. I agree with some of the other reviewers that he definitely overused certain phrases - not a lot of originality. Same with a number of the characters, e.g. Joy's twin brothers, Sunny Kim. Just so stereotypical. Wait for the paperback and take it to the beach. It can be read in a day or so. I would give the book a 2.5.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted October 10, 2009

    lazy redundancy

    this could be a really good book - it's about the residue of family on you and being an academic on vacation and marriage - but the author spoils it by repeating stupid catch phrases (the "mid-f**kig west", and dining with Al (al fresco))) he also exaggerates - making the story un-believable (his parents ruining countless rental house - fire and flood) but not comic which would redeem the extremity-I am so disappointed- how many times do I read a review (NPR!!, NYT!) and believe the praise to the degree that I buy a hardcover book. Never-! now the question is whether to finish it--almost toxic to read about people with selfish bad attitudes?

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2009

    Has some lighter moments for a serious topic; disappointing overall plot

    Very slow moving in some areas; maybe you have to be a New Englander to fully appreciate.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 31, 2009

    I couldn't finish this book

    This book is so boring, I couldn't finish it.
    Don't waste your money.

    3 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 6, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    psychobabble

    While I thought I'd be reading about the Cape, and certainly there were some references to the Cape, most of the book had to do with the mental anguish of the characters.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Not the Russo we know and love

    Russo tried to leave the world of affable, pitiable bar hangers but the result read as though he rushed through to put out something new. The characters do not grab one at all as his folks typically do. The main character was a whiny guy still tied to his parents at age 50 or so. The other characters were not defined at all. I am a huge Russo fan but this one disappoints.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 12, 2011

    A great holiday read!

    It seems that we have to accept the downside of writers having to support themselves by giving creative writing courses. It feels like every protagonist in modern American literature is a middle-class professor nowadays... But this is an artfully constructed book, with one standout comic scene, whihc is the equal of Richard Ford's baseball incident in 'Independence Day' in its ability to distil the poignancy and heart of the entire book. That scene (which involves a wedding, a wheelchair and a ricketty veranda) is worth the cover price on its own!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 18, 2011

    The book that would NEVER end

    I got to the final 20 pages and just wanted it to be over! If you are in to analyzing the thoughts and emotions of characters, this is your book.

    I found myself craving dialogue! Although the scene with the father-in-law and the hedge was pretty funny! Best part of the book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2010

    Not Recommend

    This book was a struggles to get into. The story was just not interesting.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2010

    Really enjoyed

    I really enjoyed Richard Russo's new book. As always he write in a way to keep you interested through out the whole book. It is a great read and a lot of fun.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 28, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Wonderful

    If only I could do anything as well as Richard Russo writes. Once again when reading a book of his, one feels that they know these people and care about them. He writes about real people with their imperfections, their conflicts, their warts and all.

    I laughed, I cried, I commiserated .... I couldn't put it down and was sorry to see it end. Well done!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2009

    Old Cape Magic hits home

    I laughed out loud at this latest effort of Russo's. It was poignant and brought up so many memories. We're old Cape Codder's ourselves and truly understood the feeling of going over the bridge onto the Cape. His reflections on his parents and his later revelations were so insightful. Loved the book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 26, 2009

    Richard Russo; always a good read.

    This is very different from other Russo works. At first you are not sure you are liking it, but you get drawn in. I really liked the book, and Russo is always a pleasure to read. There is always a mixture of pathos and humor in his work,and this is no exception. One particular event was the singularly most side-splitting sequence I have ever read. I won't spoil it by saying anything about it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 29, 2009

    Another great Russo book

    A thoughtful and touching look at parental and marital relationships. A work as much about things said as things left unsaid. A little reminiscent of "Straight Man" as far as the main character. Russo continues to develop deep empathy for his characters as will his readers. Russo seems to have taken a simpler approach than such previous works as "Empire Falls". Less detail about place but very deep insight into relationships as well as some welcome comic relief. A worthwhile read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2012

    recommend

    This was a good read but it jumped from past to present alot.
    Sometime it was hard to follow.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2010

    SKIP THIS ONE - DO NOT RECOMMEND!!!

    The story is not that great and we can surely do with out the foul language written here. I think writer's can surely tell a good story without the use of such language. I do not recommend this for anyone. Don't waste your time on this book.

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  • Posted March 30, 2010

    Great Read for Married Person

    Russo explores love and marriage from several different angles and confirms the complexity of these human relationships.

    I love the way he writes and the way he spills out the story. He kept me turning pages but I savored each one.

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 168 Customer Reviews
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