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The Dearly Departed (Chivers Sound Library) Audio Cassette – Audiobook, Nov 2001

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Product details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: Sound Library; Unabridged edition (Nov. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 079272495X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0792724957
  • Product Dimensions: 22.8 x 16.1 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Elinor Lipman's The Dearly Departed opens with amateur actress Margaret Batten and her lover Miles Finn being found dead in Margaret's ramshackle grey bungalow. All of King George, New Hampshire, is abuzz but is it foul play? (No, carbon monoxide poisoning.) Were they engaged? (Yes, if you believe the cleaning lady.) And why do Margaret's daughter Sunny and Miles's son Fletcher have the same kind of wispy, shiny, prematurely grey hair? (They're brother and sister, or so suggests Fletcher, annoyingly and at length.) Meeting one's possible half-brother for the first time is jolting enough. But for Sunny Batten, the shock is compounded by finding out that her shy, sweet-faced mother was evidently not the "little mouse"--or even the "late bloomer"--Sunny had always assumed her to be. In other words, when the eulogists praise Margaret's vaunted generosity and her "open door", they aren't necessarily talking about the time she asked the Girl Scouts in for a glass of lemonade.

But then King George is full of surprises. Home for the first time since high school, Sunny finds herself reassessing the place. She has ample reason to regret her teenage years (poor, no father, only girl on golf team, dead carp found in golf bag). But how far can a grudge take you in life? Can we ever really know the truth about our parents? What state of mind does it take to shoot par? Lipman addresses such questions with her customary lighthearted touch, sketching out her ensemble cast with rapid and comical strokes. (Witness, for example, anorexic congressional candidate Emily Ann Grandjean's most characteristic tic: "constant sips from a large bottle of brand-name water, then the ceremonial screwing of its cap back on once, twice, full-body twists as if volatile and poisonous gases would escape without her intervention." ) In the end, all loose ends are neatly tied up and all single characters are suitably paired--in other words, the author once again produces the kind of visceral satisfaction readers associate with her work. It's hard not to devour an Elinor Lipman novel in one sitting; put this one away for a time when you won't have to put it down. --Mary Park, --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


'A well-crafted tale, with vivid characters, shrewd observations, superb dialogue and a strong plot...a well-written, satisfying work.' -- Sunday Telegraph 5th August

This is a warm and pleasant novel, with an odd view of melancholy running through it as Sunny struggles with the past... -- Carrie O'Grady, The Guardian --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By Rosemary Simon on 27 Sept. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I love this book. It is very amusing and the characters well drawn. Very different from Elinor Lipman's usual style and certainly well worth reading. Set in a small town in America Sunny Batten return home on hearing of her mother's unexpected death. Here she learns more of the circumstances leading to her mother's death and meets again many characters from her childhood and a surprising new acquaintance.

R A Simon
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0 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Peter G. Upton on 17 April 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Any reader who loves Alison Lurie will devour this book with delight.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 23 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
not the great elinor lipman i know 27 July 2003
By lisatheratgirl - Published on
Format: Paperback
I agree totally with the review of my fellow new yorker below. I love Elinor Lipman, but even the one other book of hers I didnt care for was better than this. It's as though she got another good idea, but wasnt really paying attention when writing the story. There are too many bit players in too many subplots that go nowhere. The main character is almost a complete blank. All we really know about her is she plays golf and seemed to have a rough time socially in high school. The main plot is also neglected. About halfway through I was asking myself, where is this going? What's the point? The usual snappy dialogue and feisty characters seemed to be watered down also. This is NOT typical Lipman. I found five of her other books to be excellent. If this is the first one you read, try one of the others. Even if you think this book is good, youll see how much better she can be. I'll try for better luck with her next one.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
A witty, tongue-in-cheek romp. 8 July 2001
By E. Bukowsky - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Elinor Lipman creates off-the-wall characters (generally misfits), who have difficulty keeping jobs and maintaining relationships.
In her latest novel, "The Dearly Departed," Margaret Batten and her lover Miles Finn are found dead, the victims of a defective furnace that leaked carbon monoxide. Brought together for the funeral are Sunny Batten and Fletcher Finn, two half-siblings who never knew of one another's existence. Sunny and Fletcher are both at loose ends and they are dissatisfied with their lives. When they come to the small New Hampshire town of King George to bury their parents, they also try make peace with the past and figure out where they are headed in life.
Sunny revisits the people with whom she grew up, and she finds romance with the Chief of Police, Joey Loach. Joey had a crush on Sunny in high school. Although he is now a respected peace officer, Joey is also a stifled mama's boy straining to get out from under his mother's ministrations. This book is filled with comic characters, such as Dr. Emil Ouimet, who, although married, harbored a deep (albeit unrequited) passion for Margaret Batten over the years. The doctor publicly and embarrassingly falls apart at Margaret's funeral, and he continues to cry at the drop of a hat for days afterward.
What makes Lipman's books unique is her light touch with plot and characters. Everything is played for laughs and even sudden death is fodder for the author's droll humor. The characters trade witticisms, insults and assorted bon mots on every page and their repartee is entertaining and outrageous. For a light comedy of manners with characters too funny to be true, pick up Lipman's "The Dearly Departed".
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Light and Fluffy 10 July 2001
By Librarian - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Lipman's newest novel is so light and fluffy the words may float off the pages. This is not necessarily a bad thing, especially with a novelist like Lipman, who knows how to create appealing, identifiable characters. The novel's theme is not as heavy as her last book, "The Inn at Lake Devine", which dealt with anti-semitism. Even though the center of this story concerns the death of two people, the tone is kept humorous and the protagonist, Sunny's grief is handled with the same light touch as the rest of the novel.
It's all rather pat, from Sunny's relationship with her newly discovered smart-aleck brother to her relationship with an old schoolmate, now the Andy Taylorish chief of police. But we like the characters and we like this book, which is a perfect summer read.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A great little read 21 Nov. 2002
By Ms. Reads-A-Lots - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This was my first Elinor Lipman book and I am currently reading a second one. I enjoyed this book very much. Nothing too deep or dark, just a cast of interesting and nice people dealing with the quirks of life. I am always excited to find a good woman author, and some of the previous reviewers said this book is not her best, so I must be in for even better reads in the future. I plan on reading all of her books.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
I love Elinor Lipman but... 10 July 2001
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I looked forward to the release of this book so eagerly because I have loved- LOVED- everything else of Lipman's I have read... Ladies' Man, Inn at Lake Devine, Isabel's Bed, etc.
But I was so disappointed by this one that I left it on the airplane rather than drag it back home.
While it is Lipman's usual collection of eccentric characters with interwoven lives, I felt like nothing HAPPENED in this one. What did Sunny want? What was she after? She was a protagonist without a rudder. And the big revelation at the end is that her mother was slutty? So what? In the end it affected no one at all, apparently.
If you have never read Lipman I definitely would start with some of her others. In my opinion, she is usually a much better writer.
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