That Old Cape Magic

That Old Cape Magic

by Richard Russo
3.2 168

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That Old Cape Magic by Richard Russo

For Griffin, all paths, all memories, converge at Cape Cod.  The Cape is where he took his childhood summer vacations, where he and his wife, Joy, honeymooned, where they decided he’d leave his LA screenwriting job to become a college professor, and where they celebrated the marriage of their daughter Laura’s best friend. But when their beloved Laura’s wedding takes place a year later, Griffin is caught between chauffeuring his mother’s and father’s ashes in two urns and contending with Joy and her large, unruly family. Both he and she have also brought dates along. How in the world could this have happened?
By turns hilarious, rueful, and uplifting, That Old Cape Magic is a profoundly involving novel about marriage, family, and all the other ties that bind.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307273307
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/04/2009
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 98,042
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Richard Russo lives with his wife in Camden, Maine, and in Boston. In 2002 he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Empire Falls.

From the Trade Paperback edition.


Gloversville, New York

Date of Birth:

July 15, 1949

Place of Birth:

Johnstown, New York


B.A., University of Arizona, 1967; Ph.D., University of Arizona, 1979; M.F.A., University of Arizona, 1980

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That Old Cape Magic 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 169 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
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
sarali2 More than 1 year ago
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.
WordDoc More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
MacZapper More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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?
W_Brown More than 1 year ago
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!
Betharu More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
AndyAC More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very slow moving in some areas; maybe you have to be a New Englander to fully appreciate.
montana-gal More than 1 year ago
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.
emmaEW More than 1 year ago
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.
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This was a good read but it jumped from past to present alot. Sometime it was hard to follow.
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