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Staring at Lakes: A Memoir of Love, Melancholy and Magical Thinking Paperback – 1 Feb 2013


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Staring at Lakes: A Memoir of Love, Melancholy and Magical Thinking + Hanging with the Elephant: A Story of Love, Loss and Meditation
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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Hachette Books Ireland (1 Feb. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 144474349X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1444743494
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 15.2 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 318,628 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

'Hilarious, and tender, and mad, and harrowing, and wistful, and always beautifully written. A wonderful book' (Kevin Barry, author of City of Bohane)

'This frank and unflinching memoir offers a fascinating insight into the mind of the author of two of the finest Irish novels of the eighties' (Pat McCabe, author of The Butcher Boy and Breakfast on Pluto)

'This memoir grabs you from the outset and holds you right to the end. Harding traverses the human soul and excavates its deepest secrets. His language sings. Extraordinary' (Deirdre Purcell, author of Pearl and Diamonds and Holes in My Shoes)

'It's rare for a memoir to demand such intense emotional involvement, and rarer still for it to be so fully rewarded.' (Sunday Times)

I read this book in one sitting ... it held me and wouldn't let it go (Mary McEvoy Irish Independent 2013-03-02)

Engaging (Irish Examiner 2013-03-16)

Compelling (Sunday Business Post 2013-03-03)

Difficult to put down (Irish Times)

Book Description

Staring at Lakes is about the essence of love and marriage, about growing old and sitting in cars and staring at lakes.


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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By leader on 22 Mar. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I agree that this book was beautifully written by a very talented writer. The best compliment is that I felt a great Loss when I realised the book had ended - I wanted more of Harding's story. I can really relate to the author as I've just turned 58(Today!!!) and come from a similar background and area of the country as Michael.
Thoroughly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Una Keating on 11 May 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I bought this book because I wanted to read a real-life story of someone who had suffered depression and overcame their demons. I had heard Michael Harding being interviewed on the radio and his beautiful, honest statement he made to his future wife when they first met made me want to go and buy the book. Sadly I was very disappointed with the rest of the memoir.

It is undoubtedly well-written but the content is very melancholy and meaningless.

I suppose I expected the protagonist to experience an awakening or splendid enlightenment in the end. Even a simple enlightenment would have sufficed.

Basically I felt worse after reading the memoir. There was absolutely no light relief. Nothing to give the reader hope.

I also felt the writer was rambling and repetitive. The book could have been edited to half the length.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Bangorstyle on 20 Mar. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I feel it took him a very long time to get to know himself. Like a lot of people I feel he was always looking outside himself for answers when all the time the answers were within. Nevertheless enjoyed reading the book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Declan Kenny on 22 May 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
From the first encounter with this book (a short extract in the Irish Times), I figured it was a book that just had to be read. And I wasn't wrong. It does have a resonance with Irish men, but then my wife also raved about it, and we have since been rather evangelical about Staring at Lakes, sending copies to family and friends here and abroad, and generally recommending it to anyone who comes within earshot. It follows the author's life and times, and his dealings with depression, religion and love (in no particular order, which is somewhat of a theme, when you read the book yourself!). It would do a disservice to the author and his work to try and do a flip summary in a few lines (the strapline says it better than anything I could muster), nor should anyone subscribe to the whole 'essential reading' or 'this book will change your life' guff. Personally, I don't watch the trailers; I go and see the film. In this case, you can just take a flier on this review if you like. I doubt you will be disappointed. Having said that, I believe this book has nestled atop the bestseller list in Ireland for several weeks now, so maybe we're on to something! Buy it, read it, love it. Then share it.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By MICHAEL ANTHONY on 3 Mar. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I truly enjoyed harding's memoir. I loved his honesty, his articulation of personal vulnerability, his magnificent use of language. It stirred many memories and emotions in me - always a sign that the writer is really engaging with the reader.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Michael Hand Elisabeth Goell on 6 Mar. 2013
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This book is beautifully written by a very talented writer. It gives a lovely insight into a life that is far from dull and it is a wonderful tribute to the healing power of love. While it tells of a loss of faith in the stale teachings of the supernatural, it is a wonderful discovery of faith in what is really important in life. There is humour and pain in this book. I couldn't put it down.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is a depressing read and i don't say that because it's about depression but because it's so self centred and melancholy
We learn only about the author himself nothing about his wife and family and actually very little about his battle to overcome this disease
Staring at the walls is a better title or staying in bed
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By colin heffernan on 18 May 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Well written, and he shows how to grab life by the horns and make the most of it, including getting through an early life crisis and a mid life crisis. You could be forgiven for thinking there are so many more misfortunates who go through life without his support structures in place, which I hope Michael does not take for granted.
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