Customer Reviews for

That Old Cape Magic

Average Rating 3.5
( 168 )
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(36)

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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 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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  • 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 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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  • Posted October 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A novella really

    Not one of Russo's better works but I think it may be because it is a little shorter. Some of the story development just wasn't there. But nevertheless, I enjoyed it. Having just been to the Cape, it was amusing to reflect back on that old Cape magic. And yes the houses are too expensive or I wouldn't have them as a gift.

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  • Posted September 30, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Another enjoyable novel by Russo

    Fans of Richard Russo should enjoy his latest book. This is only the third book by Russo that I have read. While I did enjoy this book, I thought both Straight Man and Empire Falls were better. The typical Russo themes are present in That Old Cape Magic. I believe this book will resonate well with most married middle-aged couples who are dealing with aging/dying parents, grown children, their own evolving relationships, and life-goals in general. I think Russo hits the issues right on target. He can hang a shingle outside his door and offer family counseling services when not writing novels! Overall, an enjoyable read which takes the reader up and down the range of human emotions.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2009

    A must read if you have ever travelled New England or Cape Cod

    I loved all the references to Cape Cod. Spent many summers there as a child. Thoroughly brought back. Perfect summer reading.

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  • Posted September 26, 2009

    Charming but Not Exciting, Funny nor Memorable

    Russo can write well. This time he has crafted a charming and readable tale of a marriage unraveling at a wedding on Cape Cod. What he has not done is make his characters unforgettable as in Empire Falls. Also nowhere near the humor found in Straight Man. The chaotic wedding scene pushes too hard with Marx brothers content where more charm and fewer pratfalls would have been more congruent with the rest of the writing.

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  • Posted September 26, 2009

    A Good Read

    I love the Cape, so I was attracted to the cover and title and I had read Richard Russo before so I was looking forward to this. It didn't disappoint!

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  • Posted September 26, 2009

    A Pleasant Read

    Richard Russo's characters are worth knowing. That Old Cape Magic is a quick and satisfying read...

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  • Posted September 26, 2009

    Worth Reading

    I did enjoy the book.. it was well written and engaging... would definitely recommend it as a good summer light read... perfect for the beach.

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