The hour I first believed

Wally Lamb

Book - 2008

Relocating to a family farm in Connecticut after surviving the Columbine school shootings, Caelum and Maureen discover a cache of family memorabilia dating back five generations, which reveals to Caelum unexpected truths about painful past events.

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FICTION/Lamb, Wally
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Subjects
Published
New York : HarperCollins Publishers 2008.
Edition
1st ed
Language
English
Item Description
"A novel."
Published in paperback (with different pagination) by HarperPerennial in 2009.
Physical Description
740 p.
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references.
ISBN
9780060988432
9780060393496
0060393491
Main Author
Wally Lamb (-)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Lamb has enjoyed phenomenal popularity ever since being annointed by Oprah for inclusion in her book club two years in a row. She s Come Undone got the nod in 1997, and I Know This Much Is True was chosen in 1998. This is his first novel in 10 years, and, continuing his practice of taking his book titles from songs lyrics, the title is a line from "Amazing Grace." In a sprawling narrative that contains enough tragedy for three novels, Lamb tells the story of 47-year-old English teacher Caelum Quirk and his third wife, Maureen, a nurse. After almost breaking up over Maureen s infidelity, the two move to Littleton, Colorado, hoping for a fresh start. There they take jobs at Columbine High School. That s where Maureen ends up cowering in a cabinet for hours while Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris methodically execute students in the library before taking their own lives. Maureen never recovers from this tragedy, which sends her on a downward spiral that eventually encompasses addiction to prescription medicine, vehicular homicide, and a lengthy prison stint. Meanwhile, Caelum rents out his home to refugees from Hurricane Katrina and researches his own family history via old diaries and letters found in the far reaches of his house. It will come as no surprise to readers that the history is a dark one. Lamb s overlong narrative and endless recitation of tragedy dilute the power of his story. Still, his particular brand of hope-and-despair fiction holds a powerful allure for his fans, who will be lining up for this long-awaited novel. Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Lamb digs deeper here, examining issues of faith and the consequences of war. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Relocating to a family farm in Connecticut after surviving the Columbine school shootings, Caelum and Maureen discover a cache of family memorabilia dating back five generations, which reveals to Caelum unexpected truths about painful past events.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

New York Times BestsellerThe profound and compelling story of a personal quest for meaning and faith from Wally Lamb, #1 New York Times bestselling author of She’s Come Undone and I Know This Much Is True“The beauty of The Hour I First Believed, a soaring novel as amazingly graceful as the classic hymn that provides the title, is that Lamb never loses sight of the spark of human resilience. . . . Lamb’s wonderful novel offers us the promise and power of hope.”—Miami Herald When 47-year-old high school teacher Caelum Quirk and his younger wife, Maureen, a school nurse, move to Littleton, Colorado, they both get jobs at Columbine High School. In April 1999, Caelum returns home to Connecticut to be with his aunt who has just had a stroke. But Maureen finds herself in the school library at Columbine, cowering in a cabinet and expecting to be killed, as two vengeful students go on a murderous rampage. Miraculously she survives, but at a cost: she is unable to recover from the trauma. Caelum and Maureen flee Colorado and return to an illusion of safety at the Quirk family farm back east. But the effects of chaos are not so easily put right, and further tragedy ensues. In The Hour I First Believed, Wally Lamb travels well beyond his earlier work and embodies in his fiction myth, psychology, family history stretching back many generations, and the questions of faith that lie at the heart of everyday life. The result is an extraordinary tour de force, at once a meditation on the human condition and an unflinching yet compassionate evocation of character.  

Review by Publisher Summary 3

New York Times BestsellerThe profound and compelling story of a personal quest for meaning and faith from Wally Lamb, #1 New York Times bestselling author of She's Come Undone and I Know This Much Is True'the beauty of The Hour I First Believed, a soaring novel as amazingly graceful as the classic hymn that provides the title, is that Lamb never loses sight of the spark of human resilience. . . . Lamb's wonderful novel offers us the promise and power of hope.""Miami Herald When 47-year-old high school teacher Caelum Quirk and his younger wife, Maureen, a school nurse, move to Littleton, Colorado, they both get jobs at Columbine High School. In April 1999, Caelum returns home to Connecticut to be with his aunt who has just had a stroke. But Maureen finds herself in the school library at Columbine, cowering in a cabinet and expecting to be killed, as two vengeful students go on a murderous rampage. Miraculously she survives, but at a cost: she is unable to recover from the trauma. Caelum and Maureen flee Colorado and return to an illusion of safety at the Quirk family farm back east. But the effects of chaos are not so easily put right, and further tragedy ensues. In The Hour I First Believed, Wally Lamb travels well beyond his earlier work and embodies in his fiction myth, psychology, family history stretching back many generations, and the questions of faith that lie at the heart of everyday life. The result is an extraordinary tour de force, at once a meditation on the human condition and an unflinching yet compassionate evocation of character.