Long Way Gone

Long Way Gone

by Charles Martin
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Overview

Long Way Gone by Charles Martin

USA TODAY bestseller from the author of The Mountain Between Us, now a major motion picture!

A radical retelling of the prodigal son story, Long Way Gone takes us from tent revivals to the Ryman Auditorium to the tender relationship between a broken man and the father who never stopped calling him home.

“No matter where you go, no matter whether you succeed or fail, stand or fall, no gone is too far gone. You can always come home.”

At the age of eighteen, musician and songwriter Cooper O’Connor took everything his father held dear and drove 1,200 miles from home to Nashville, his life riding on a six-string guitar and the bold wager that he had talent. But his wager soon proved foolish.

Five years after losing everything, he falls in love with Daley Cross, an angelic voice in need of a song. But just as he realizes his love for Daley, Cooper faces a tragedy that threatens his life as well as his career. With nowhere else to go, he returns home to the remote Colorado mountains, searching for answers about his father and his faith.

When Daley shows up on his street corner twenty years later, he wonders if it’s too late to tell her the truth about his past—and if he is ready to face it himself.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780718084738
Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date: 07/04/2017
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 48,058
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Charles Martin is a New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of thirteen novels. He and his wife, Christy, live in Jacksonville, Florida. Learn more about him at CharlesMartinBooks.com; Facebook: Author.Charles.Martin; Twitter: @storiedcareer.

Read an Excerpt

Long Way Gone


By Charles Martin

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2016 Charles Martin
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-7180-8472-1


CHAPTER 1

I'd seen him before. Old guy was probably seventy-five. Maybe eighty. Gnarled, arthritic fingers. Four-packs-a-day voice. Cottony-white hair with yellowed ends. Wrinkled ebony skin. A high-mileage chassis. He wore threadbare, blue-and-gray striped pants that had previously belonged to a wool suit and a soiled white button-down that he'd fastened clear to the top. To complete the ensemble, he wore two-toned classic oxfords. The white was dull and cracked, but what remained of the black had been polished to a spit shine.

And his guitar was as road-worn as he. It was an old Gibson J-45 and he'd strummed holes both above and below the sound hole, exposing some of the bracing. At some point he'd slapped duct tape around the back and sides. His tuners were different colors, and even at a distance his strings looked rusty. But when that old man cut loose, both he and his guitar came alive. His feet tapped in rhythm with his strum hand, adding a percussive beat and suggesting he'd also played drums somewhere. The smile on his face spoke of the memory of who he'd once been. Or believed himself to be.

I'm not picky about much, except guitars. Six strings are a passion. A polyphonic concert in which each majestic string has a voice. Truth is, I am mesmerized by the idea that we can glue together disparate pieces of wood into an hourglass-shaped box, wrap it in bracing, binding, and phosphor-bronze strings, and then apply a little of the right pressure to give rise to a voice — the sum of which is exponentially greater than the pieces it comprises and as distinctive as the hands that play it. Deep, throaty, boxy, punchy low end, scooped middle, accentuated highs ... I can make an argument for each.

That old man's guitar had lost its voice. It was played out. So was he. But while his mind might have forgotten more music than most would ever know, his fingers had not. Where most folks saw an itinerant drunk, I tasted the residue of musical genius. At one time, this guy had been somebody.

The last few Saturdays he'd set himself up on Leadville's Main Street, sat on a bench, and played until the tips carpeted the bottom of his guitar case. Then he closed his case and disappeared inside a bottle until about Thursday. Come Friday, he was thirsty. Parched.

Like now.

I slowed with the traffic and pulled over to park. The sidewalks were crowded. He'd do well today. I parked, tucked my notebook between the small of my back and my belt, took a swig of Pepto-Bismol, downed two Tums, grabbed my guitar, and heard him before I saw him. He was sitting on a bench across from a well-known biker filling station.

Leadville is a hot spot for weekend warriors out of Vail, Aspen, Steamboat, Breckenridge, even the Springs and Fort Collins. Expensive, chromed-out, low-mileage, no-muffler bikes driven by midlife men flaunting well-decorated, siliconized, tucked-and-lifted toys. It's an old mining town and one of the highest towns in the US, as it sits above ten thousand feet. Once a prolific producer of silver, today it's a shell of its former self. The population ebbs and flows with the seasons. In the summer it's a destination spot for folks on two wheels, both motorcycles and bicycles. It's home to the Leadville 100, a grueling all-day mountain bike ride; to High Mountain Pies — some of the best pizza in the Rockies; and to Melanzana, a small, privately owned company that makes the world's best fleece jackets and sweaters right out of its shop on Main Street. The "Mellie" is standard-issue among serious Coloradans. You see one and chances are you're dealing with a native. Or a wannabe.

The old man sat just across the street from the saloon so his sound projected into the bar. Smart. He had picked a good spot, but he had two problems. The first was the smell. He hadn't showered or thought of deodorant in weeks. Possibly months. The second was the inharmonious sound coming out of both his mouth and guitar. He might make some mercy money, but little more.

My next move was a little dicey. For all intents and purposes, this was his fire hydrant and I was the new dog sniffing around. The trick was to come in alongside him, or underneath him, and make him feel like he was riding on a carpet of notes. I wanted him to like my being there before he even knew I was there. Working in my favor was the fact that he was focused on his next bottle, so his peripheral vision didn't extend too far. Working against me was the fact that he was focused on his next bottle, and he'd probably want to fight if he thought I was a hindrance to that.

I knew the song he was playing, so I matched the key, and since he was strumming (or banging on the strings pretty hard), I picked around him. To the ear I was a complement, not a distraction. After about sixty seconds he noticed me, stiffened a bit, turned one shoulder, and began to sing and play louder. The sound coming out of his mouth wasn't in the same key as the sound coming out of his guitar, and shouldn't have produced the smile spread across his face. He was definitely lost in the memory of what it once sounded like.

My gamble was this — I had the feeling he'd played with other musicians before and he'd know when somebody was making him sound better. He was loosely playing in the key of E, so I sat just off to the side and continued to flat-pick an answering lick underneath him. He frowned, raised an eyebrow, and started hammering out a few riffs his fingers knew but his mind had long since forgotten. I clamped on a capo and filled the air around with a percussive strum that gave beat and timing to the old blues riffs he was sporadically hitting.

Irritated, he switched keys and began barking out an old ballad he'd probably sung ten thousand times. I adjusted the capo and played an embellishment around him, lightly filling the air with color and melody while not taking the spotlight. This was a delicate dance. His dramatic increase in volume told me he wasn't quite sure he wanted to be my partner. Not if it meant sharing his tips.

He was pivoting on his backside to stare me down when a guy in black leather dropped a twenty-dollar bill in his case. The old guy saw it, glanced at me, and actually stopped strumming to reach for it. But when I slid ever so slightly away from him — and from his case — my message must have registered somewhere in his foggy mind, and he returned to his song.

By the time it ended he was staring at forty-five dollars, and I could see the panic in his eyes; he'd hit the jackpot and was weighing the decision to cut and run.

Seeing I was about to lose him, I stood and dropped two twenties in the case. "Mind if I play along?"

He hooked the guitar case with his right foot and pulled it closer between his legs, then pointed his right ear at me. "Huh?"

I leaned in, pushing past the smell. "I won't be any trouble."

He stared at me, at the growing crowd, back at me. Finally his eyes settled on my guitar. His words were garbled. "J-forty-fi'?"

I nodded.

He pointed once with his strumming hand, directing me back toward my post, out of his limelight. I did as instructed.


* * *

When I was a kid I had a box of sixty-four crayons — the kind with a built-in sharpener in the back. I was so enamored of all those different shades that I thought it'd be neat to melt them and see what swirl of color would result. Bad idea.

This old guy reminded me of my experiment. What was once beautiful and distinct had lost its brilliance. All the colors bled into one muddled mess of dark brown. But people are not crayons. And where wax melts and can never be recovered, the color of people is part of their DNA. We're more like stained glass in a cathedral. Somewhere along the way, something dark had been thrown over this guy, preventing the light from shining through.

In a rather inexplicable phenomenon, music makes up a small part of the frequency of waves we see with our eyes. That's right, music and light are part of the same spectrum. It's just that we hear part of that spectrum, suggesting that the angels both hear and see light, which adds a whole new dimension to the idea of daybreak, high noon, or sundown.

My job was to shine light on old glass. And when I did, that cathedral window shone glittering blue, crimson red, and royal purple.

The old man came to life.

Twenty minutes in, he glanced at me and then at the space on the bench beside him. I accepted the invitation. One of the mysteries of music is that two can achieve together what one never could do alone. The effect is exponential. It's also the only activity on Planet Earth that can transport those who hear it from place A to place B in about two beats. It can shift a mood from laughter to tears to I-can-conquer-the-world to what-if and hope. It's the original time travel machine.

The faces of the growing crowd around us spoke volumes. Moments before they had written him off as a faceless drunk. Now they were asking, "Who is this guy?" That look wasn't lost on him. The old man stood on the sidewalk and belted out melodies I doubt he'd thought of in thirty years. In his mind he was standing on the stage, and it wasn't long before his laughter mixed with his tears, proving that glass can't lose its color. It can become darkened by shadow, or painted in error, or dimmed by drink, but you can no more take the music out of a man than you can peel apart the fibers of his DNA.

Soon two girls in dresses were dancing and twirling in front of us, and when the old guy launched into "Over the Rainbow," folks started singing along. He fed off the smiles and tears and stared in amazement as bill after bill fluttered down into his case. Finally he broke out an a capella version of "What a Wonderful World" that would have made even Louis Armstrong smile.

At an hour he had run out of tricks. And breath. He was played out and huffing. It's always better to leave the audience wanting more, so I stood, signaling my time here was done.

His bloodshot eyes were having trouble focusing. Must have been several hundred dollars piled in his case. He asked, "You don't want none?"

The crowd was clapping. Whistling. I knelt in front of the old guy.

"You paid me plenty." Then I placed my guitar in his case on top of the bills.

To some, a guitar is just wood and string. To others, it's a shoulder, a jealous mistress, danger, sabbath, a voice in the wilderness, a suit of armor, a curtain to hide behind, a rock to stand on, a flying carpet, a hammer. But sometimes, in moments where light meets the dark, it's a stake we drive in the ground and the darkness rolls back as a scroll.

As I made my way through the crowd, a little kid wearing a cowboy hat and a buckle almost as big as the hat tugged on my shirt. "Mister?"

I turned. "Hey there."

He held up a piece of paper. "Can I have your autograph?" He looked up at the man next to him. "My daddy says I should get your autograph now 'cause even though you look like you live way back in the mountains, you're gonna be somebody someday."

"Really?" I signed his paper, handed it back, and knelt beside him. "You play?"

"Yes, sir." He stood a little straighter. "Banjo."

"You practicing your rolls?"

He nodded, then pointed at the scars on my right hand. "Does that hurt?"

"Not anymore."

"What happened?"

I held it up, opening and closing my fist. "When I was young and foolhardy, some stuff fell on me."

"Like a barbell or a brick or something?"

"No, more like the ceiling."

He pointed toward my voice box. "You always whisper when you talk?"

"Unfortunately."

"Why?"

"I got caught in a fire."

"A fire made it sound like that?"

"Actually, the flames weren't too bad, but the heat mixed with some toxic fumes and did this." I smiled. "Makes me sound like I'm angry all the time."

"Daddy says he'll blister me if he catches me messing with matches."

I laughed. "You should probably steer clear."

As I started to stand, he tugged on me again. "Mister?"

"Yeah."

He touched my beard, allowing his fingers to tell his mind that I was real and not the scary man behind the scars. "I don't think you sound angry."

His words filtered down and into my heart where they met the welcoming echo of my father's voice. Out of the mouth of babes you have perfected praise so that you might silence the enemy and the avenger.

I liked that kid. "Thanks, pal."

When I turned around and looked back a block later, the old guy was playing my guitar. His eyes were as wide as his open mouth, and the smile on his face was worth a lot more than that pile of cash.

CHAPTER 2

I drove south playing the kid's words over and over in my mind. The rearview reflected me back at myself, speaking a truth I'd long tried to bury. Shoulder-length, dirty blondish hair. Darker beard showing some gray. Scruffy would be one impression. Mountain man might be another. Homeless wouldn't be a stretch. Over the years I'd tried to hide the scars on my chest, back, neck, and right ear. When I "covered up" I found that people reacted more favorably to me. That said, I did look a bit scary. My right hand on the steering wheel caught my eye. I straightened my fingers and then made and remade a fist. Other than wearing a glove, there wasn't much I could do about that. Some things you just can't hide.

The Jeep was thirsty so I stopped for gas on the edge of town. Ambient noise filled the air around me. The slosh of gasoline filling the tank. Trucks on the highway muffled with the hum and womp womp of snow tires. A couple arguing as they came out of the mini-mart. A semi driving over a steel manhole cover, first the front wheel, then the back. A bulldozer and an excavator working in tandem in a lot behind me. A siren several blocks off, followed by a second. Kids playing basketball somewhere over my shoulder.

Given the mix of noise, any single sound was tough to follow. Like gnats at a barbecue. But every few seconds the noise would thin, and above it hung a melody. Someone was singing.

I looked down the road and saw a woman standing in the dirt, just off the highway. Thumb in the air. Too far away to see her features, but I could tell she wasn't young. Peroxide-blonde hair falling out of a purple beanie. Sky-blue Patagonia puffer jacket. Faded jeans tucked into scuffed cowboy boots. A backpack at her feet. And a guitar case. A little thin. Looked like she could use a cheeseburger.

I would not say her voice was overly strong. In fact, it sounded tired. But weary or not, it possessed one thing that most did not. Near perfect pitch. Not to mention she had canary-like control of her vocal cords.

There was something oddly familiar about it. But just as quickly as I latched onto it, it ended. The wind swirled, brushed my face, and brought the memory of a smell I once knew.

As I watched, a rusted-out, green, long-bed Ford with a snowplow attached to the front pulled over. Not unusual for late September in Colorado. Three people sat in the front seat, two in the bed. I saw the woman nod, then lift her pack and her guitar into the bed and climb over the tailgate, displaying strength, grace, and a distance-setting amount of self-confidence. The truck descended into the valley in a cloud of smoke.

Lost in the distant residue of something familiar that I still couldn't place, and trying to gather the last of those notes as they faded off into the air, I was suddenly snapped back to earth by gas spilling out of my tank and sloshing onto my shoes. Up here the veil is thin, and it's easy to get lost.

Plus, I've always had a thing for girls who can sing.

I pulled back onto the road and stared out into one of the more majestic windshield-framed settings in all of Colorado: the road west and south out of Leadville toward Buena Vista. Through the glass in front of me the sun had set behind the snowcapped peaks of La Plata, Mt. Elbert, and Mt. Massive. The sheer enormity stretched beyond my side mirrors. Between them lay the deep scenic and historic cut of Independence Pass that led into the jet-set lifestyles of Aspen and Snow Mass.

Colorado is like a girl I once knew. Beautiful in any light. When the light or angle changes, something new is revealed. Something hidden rises to the surface. In late September and early October, the light in Colorado shifts. Snow dusts the peaks. The color in the trees has peaked and begun draining out. Colorado in the fall is a peek into the throne room. Colorado in winter is majesty defined. A declaration.

When God carved this place with His words, He lingered.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Long Way Gone by Charles Martin. Copyright © 2016 Charles Martin. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Long Way Gone 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 30 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the first book I've read by this author but it definately won't be the last! Written so vividly, with detail that will make you feel like your watching a movie with an aray of interesting characters. A lovely story of love, redemption and forgiveness mixed with excitement and suspense. A page turning must read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Such an amazing writer. This story is so well told. I thought I was there.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Simply beautiful.
Anonymous 10 months ago
If I could give in more stars I would. Amazing writer and have purchased all his books for my nook since I read life intercepted 2 years ago!! Just purchased/ his new preorder that came out. Read one and you will be hooked! He gets better with every book of that is even possible!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a music lover, this story touched my heart immediately upon reading the first chapter. What a beautiful story with incredible detail. I felt like I was in every scene. Loved it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My book club read Water From My Heart this year and we loved it. When I came across this book, I was interested in finding out whether another of his books could be as good. I was not disappointed! As a music lover this book spoke to me on a level that his other book could not. I came to understand the struggles of the main characters. I could not put this book down because I wanted to know what would happen next. The only complaint is that sometimes I was uncertain if what was happening was present day or from the past. But overall you will not be disappointed in th this book and its message.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another great novel.
Anonymous 15 days ago
A poignant story told with beautiful craftsmanship. It touched deep places in my soul. Thank you.
Anonymous 6 months ago
Love love love this book!!
TheGrumpyBookReviewer More than 1 year ago
Soulful, heartwarming, heart wrenching -- that only begins to tell the effects of Long Way Gone, Charles Martin's masterpiece of non-fiction. This novel spoke to me in a way that very few others ever have. No surprise he is a bestselling author. Through characters who step right off the page and into your heart, Martin takes the reader through both the creative and the dark sides of the music industry. In the process of telling this story, Martin shares the history of the songs, "O Danny Boy", and "How Great Thou Art", was well as the differences in the construction and, therefore the sounds of different guitars. Charles Martin either knows a lot about music, or he did extensive research to create a book that will not only educate you, it will peer into your soul.   Cooper ("Coop") O'Connor is a classically trained pianist, turned songwriter who can play several musical instruments including the guitar. Coop leaves home at the naive age of 18, and travels to Nashville, where his money and his guitar are stolen. Working a menial job at the Ryman Theater, he meets the up-and-coming singer, Daley Cross. Now he has returned to his home in the mountains of Colorado.   Daley Cross is now a down-and-out former star with perfect pitch, who had four hit songs (written by Coop) before her producer began giving her poorly written songs after she refused his advances. When she is picked up while hitchhiking, then beaten with her own guitar and dumped on a sidewalk in Colorado, Coop is in the right place at the right time to assist her.   Long Way Gone is about a father's love for his son, about giving back, about losing love and finding it again. It's about facing our shortcomings, our self-doubts, and overcoming them. It shows us that it is never too late -- we can always go home.   I can't say enough good things about this book. It would be a great book club selection. It should be required reading for anyone seeking a career in the music industry. I gave it five stars on GoodReads, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.   What Makes This Book Reviewer Grumpy?   -- Incorrect use of the phrase: "beg the question"; in this case it should have been "raise the question". Begging the question means to make a conclusion or an argument based on a premise that lacks logical support. "Raises the question" means a  statement brings up an additional question. "Begs the question", means that your argument is weak, at best -- worthless, at worst. -- Misspelled words:  a McPherson guitar "filled the air with a sonic tapestry....and leant itself to..." "Leant" should be "lent". This is most likely a computer error, but a good proofreader should have caught it. -- Single-sentence paragraphs - a huge no-no unless you're in the newspaper business. -- Sentences beginning with "and" or "but". Usually, the conjunction could be dropped from a stand-alone sentence. Often, the sentence could be combined with the preceding sentence.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
At first I wasn't sure I was going to like this book, but the more I read the more I enjoyed it. Cooper grew up as a preacher's son and could see things others didn't. He had a talent for music. At the age of 18, he took his father's truck, money & guitar and set out to make a name for himself. Soon he realizes it's not as easy as he thought. Then he meets Daley and falls in love and they begin to make a career in music when tragedy threatens his life and career. Will he survive? Will he and Daley find a new course in life? Does Cooper finally return home and make amends with his father? A great story about a prodigal son!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
RachsRamblings More than 1 year ago
Really enjoyed this read. The writing style is so different, and the storyline is incredibly well done. Giving this five stars because it touched my heart and brought a tear or two. Very few books do that. The characters seem so real, and the plot ( though not original) is so very touching. This was my first by this author, but I don't expect it will be my last. This had a strong faith theme...and a bit of the unseen spiritual world. Recommend. I received this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.
bookbloggerKB More than 1 year ago
Long Way Gone by Charles Martin Young Cooper O’Connor leaves his father and heads off to Nashville to make a fresh start for himself. He takes everything of value from his father, expecting that he will make it big there and be able to return after having proved himself. The years pass and he never sees his father again, but carries the lessons his father taught him in his heart. Years after a devastating tragedy, Cooper meets up with his long-lost love and wants to make amends but doubts that she will believe the truth. He must decide if his love for her is worth the risk of rejection yet again. Charles Martin weaves a beautiful tale of love and second chances set to lyrical prose. It gives the reader hope that reconciliation and God’s purposes are being worked even in difficult relationships. I loved this book: its characters, story line, plot twists, and the satisfying conclusion. I received a free copy from the publisher for my honest opinion.
MichelleKrim More than 1 year ago
This book was such a pleasant surprise! Martin is a new-to-me author, so I wasn't sure what to expect, but I was completely drawn into the story. Packed full of emotion, this modern day prodigal son story really tugs at the heartstrings. Plot: Cooper O'Connor grew up in the shadow of his father, a tent revival preacher. At eighteen, following an argument with his father, Cooper steals his favorite guitar and money , taking off for Nashville in search of his big break. Things don't go as planned, but his pride won't let Cooper go crawling back to his father. As he gradually scrapes his way to the top, he meets Daley Cross, an amazingly talented singer. Cooper shares a song he wrote with Daley which turns into a big hit. Tragedy strikes, ruining Cooper's chances to win Daley's heart and the two go their separate ways. Many years later, they're reunited when Cooper returns home, but it may be too late for him to reconcile. The story's told through Cooper's point of view. I enjoyed how it was divided into parts, telling both the past and the present, so the reader learns all about the events that have shaped Cooper's life. As a music lover, I really enjoyed the in depth look at some music history. And how about that gorgeous cover? I love the subtle way they made the road and guitar blend together. Recommendation: I'd highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian fiction with a great message of hope and redemption. I found it comparable to Nicholas Sparks. I'd suggest making sure you have plenty of tissues handy, as you'll probably need them several times. I will definitely be looking to read more books from this author. Rating: 4.5/5 stars I received a copy of this book from the Thomas Nelson Fiction Guild. This review is my honest opinion.
AngelaBycroftNZ More than 1 year ago
There are books which one reads and puts down at the end - satisfied and entertained but equally ready to move on to the next tale to escape into. Then there are stories which take a hold of your heart so tightly and resonate in some mythical way that putting the book down at the end almost feels like a wrench on one’s heart and which tale stays in the back of one’s mind long after the titles is sitting comfortably back in the bookshelf - or achieved in the e-reader in these modern times. Long Way Gone by Charles Martin is just such a tale. I travelled with Cooper - from big tent revivals, to Nashville and the historic Ryman Theatre. From the character’s to description of places I’d love to visit - to details around music that left me both impressed and fascinated. This modern retelling of the prodigal son is both moving and soulful. It’ll wrap around you like a warm blanket and reminds us all that truly there is no too far gone. A message I for one an not hear enough.
Cynthia181 More than 1 year ago
I received this book for an honest review from The Fiction Guild. It was a wonderful story written about the Prodigal Son, but with a twist of it being about what he did and how things ended up in his life. With all the twist and turns, he didn't get a chance to thank his father and make amends before he father died but he found his belief in God helped him in some of the worse times in his life. And found out his father really did love him and forgave him before he died. This a wonderful read and take the time to take the story into your heart.
Deb-Krenzer More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! It wasn't in chronological order, but I think the author did an absolute great job in telling the story. The way he broke it up, you just kept wondering, what happened to Cooper that he gave it all up. The author doesn't tell you until like the middle of the book. And what about Daley Cross? What went on with her? The author just gets you so intrigued just how he wrote the book. I was mesmerized from the very first chapter. A boy, at first, whose love for the guitar and all things musical leads him to Nashville. He's got everything it takes to make it. However, he has several bumps in the road and decides that he will just work in a store that restores guitars and puts his dreams aside. Not long after starting work at the guitar store which just happens to be next door to the Ryman Auditorium, he gets a night job as jack of all trades where he works for several years. Until one day, he's caught playing Daley Cross's guitar singing one the many songs he's written. His career takes off. It's not too long after that, he learns personally about the snakes in the music business. Which takes a huge turn in his career. There is also the relationship with his father who is a tent preacher. So, there is some religion, but not so much that it turned me off. I just cannot say how much I enjoyed this book. I didn't want to put it down. I couldn't put it down. And I was very sad at the end when I had to put it down. There will be tissues involved when reading this, so be prepared. I HIGHLY recommend this book. It is one of the best books I've read during 2016. Thanks to Thomas Zondervan for sending me this book for an honest exchange. I have been telling all my friends that they NEED to read this one!!
Ellen-oceanside More than 1 year ago
LONG WAY GONE by Charles Martin. Beautiful story, of the reimagining of the prodigal son of the Bible. Cooper at 18, wants to be rid of his straight laced father. Yet, takes his father's beloved guitar and sets out to make a name for him self. Then when life and music hit the bottom for him, he returns to Colorado, to find answers. The description grabs you from the beginning, the guitar with tape now, the fingers move across the strings. You realize the fingers hadn't lost the music. As he belts out the songs and crowds gather, they wonder who this man is, a drunk, or somebody. Given ARC by Thomas Nelson for my voluntary review and my honest opinion I have given.
Trully More than 1 year ago
It was great that this book got read right before two natural disasters a wildfire and a tornado close by. It was already read right before Thanksgiving. And what a great reminder it was as Christmas is approaching, then New Years, and Valentine's. It reminds of staying renewed, what giving is for, and what true love really is. Do you want to read something that touches your soul, entertains you, helps you assess and think of your own life and your close relationships, how you were raised, what your spiritual connection is, your musical likes and abilities or of those you have that aspire you? This book, Long Way Gone had me thinking just that as the characters showed me many aspects of life and how rich we can go to dig out or true meaning for living. We have to get it own answers regardless of our past and this book points one in that direction as we all have a journey and a path! Charles Martin wrote a book that is able to give a really clear parable similar to that of the Prodigal Son and let's one see is there a Prodigal son in us? Are we somehow lost not knowing it at times? Do we still know how to truly be on the planet for a higher calling and be whatever we were meant to be, not in just a temporary way? This book moves one way beyond words, spirit speaks and everyone can learn! Thank you for this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An excellent modern day version of the story of the Prodigal Son. Peg has the special talent for song writing, singing and playing the guitar. His father is a traveling preacher and realizes his sons potential. He tries to guide him and warns him of the ways of the world and the need to be true to himself. Peg chooses to go his own way. This is a beautifully written story that won't be forgotten.
Nicnac63 More than 1 year ago
Charles Martin is one of my favorite male authors. I mainly read Women’s Fiction, which is usually written by…well…women. But there are some male writers who can capture the essence and heart of a woman’s psyche. Charles Martin is one of the best. “No matter where you go, no matter whether you succeed or fail, stand or fall, no gone is too far gone. You can always come home.” ~excerpt Long Way Gone is a beautiful and heartbreaking story of a prodigal son and his journey through life wishing he’d done things differently. Raised by a well-known, pragmatic, yet pure-hearted father, Cooper ‘Peg’ O’Connor wants what he wants, how he wants, when he wants it, so he strikes out on his own—against his father’s wishes. Cooper is a brilliant songwriter with many gifts and abilities, but his life quickly falls on hard times. He searches for a way to right his wrongs, but listens to his head, rather than his heart. Charles Martin brilliantly weaves a myriad of people into Cooper’s path. They are purposeful, life changing, and exceptional. I loved nearly every character—Mr. O’Connor, Mr. Slocumb, Daley, Blondie—but my heart melted every time Big-Big graced the page. This gentle giant has depth, meaning, and a loyal heart of gold. If I had to pick one character from this book to be the subject of a new book, it would be him. “That was the night I learned the value of an old hymn. How something so old and “out-of-date” could say words my heart needed to hear and didn’t know how to say.” ~excerpt Though this is a love story of sorts, it is much more—music, heartbreak, history, and things unseen... It rips a heart open, gives equal portions to the heart, soul, and mind, and yearns for a salve to heal all three. To be completely honest, the story started a little slow for me, but gradually pulled me in and hooked me. This story, and its characters, will stay with me for a long time. I’ve never read a book like it. It encapsulates a spiritual-ness (could only find a non-word to fit) that can only be fully absorbed by an open and eager heart. Once you finish the book, you’ll understand what I mean. I highly recommend Long Way Gone. It may even solidify the way you see life, death, and the hereafter. Yeah—it’s that powerful. 5 Stars Cover: Love Title: Love Publisher: Thomas Nelson Pages: 320 Pace: Steady ISBN: 978-0718084714 First Lines: I’d seen him before. Old guy was probably seventy-five. Maybe eighty. I received a complimentary copy from the publisher.
MelissaF More than 1 year ago
What a beautifully written book. If you haven’t read anything by Charles Martin you really need to. His books take you to a depth rarely found in books. There is a spiritual tone to everything. I loved this retelling of the prodigal son. The book actually starts after Cooper is older and we catch up with him. Then the book flashes back to how he got where is today. I also appreciated the music in this book (since I’m a music person). Charles describes what music can do to a person in wonderful pictures. Overall, this is a great book that I highly recommend to anyone looking for a new perspective on a story you already know. A copy of this book was given to me though the BookLoook Bloggers program. All opinions are my own.
NadineTimes10 More than 1 year ago
It's quite heavy and intricately woven, this contemporary prodigal son story: Long Way Gone by author Charles Martin. I was in for a surprise when I received this book. While I'd seen the wooded path and the man in the distance on the book cover, I didn't notice the most telling feature of the cover until I held the book in my hands: the path is a guitar. This is certainly a tale where music is a living, breathing creation, and musical instruments are virtually people. The author gives illustrations of gifting that goes beyond talent, beyond what's tangible, and fierce love (of different kinds) that does the same--that goes beyond. I did have some minor issues with the plot development. I didn't fully buy into how drastic the protagonist's turn on his father is, perhaps because the severe change happens in a rather short amount of time, reading wise. And the story may have what I call "too many endings," when it seems a climax or conclusion stretches a bit too long or keeps unfolding so much that the zenith or plateau it reaches begins to lose its effect. But that's of little matter here, considering all the areas of the soul the novel explores, and the powerful depiction of a love that is, again, so fierce that I had to set the book aside for a while and just breathe. I couldn't even cry. They may be what Wordsworth would call "Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears." But, knowing myself, and being sure that my thoughts from this novel will stick with me, I may very well cry later. _________________ BookLook Bloggers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review.
GinnaL More than 1 year ago