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Under the Same Stars [Paperback]

Tim Lott
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
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Book Description

14 Mar 2013
It is late summer 2008 and forty-year-old Salinger Nash, who has been plagued since adolescence by a mercurial depression, leaves the north-west London house he shares with girlfriend for his older brother Carson's home in New Orleans. It is Carson who has persuaded Salinger that they should visit their estranged father on his deathbed in Las Cruces, and use it as an opportunity to heal old wounds. However it is with a sense of foreboding that Salinger sets off with his brother on a road trip from New Orleans in Carson's prized brand new Lexus, as their relationship is far from amicable. Tender, funny, unflinching, this is a road trip story in the great American literary tradition and an exploration of sibling rivalry that harks back to Cain and Abel. It is a vivid glimpse of a country through the eyes of an outsider, a profound exploration of brotherhood and a gripping journey of the soul.

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Under the Same Stars + The Scent of Dried Roses: One family and the end of English Suburbia - an elegy (Penguin Modern Classics)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (14 Mar 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847393357
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847393357
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 179,094 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'Death is compared with elegant simplicity to an iridescent tropical fish whose shockingly bold colours gradually fade to grey. There is a tragic rejection at the heart of the story. Lott is attempting to solve what he sees as a deep-rooted crime against humanity, excavating the blank spaces beneath the rawness of everyday life' --Independent

'A Thelma and Louise-like road novel, in which the wide open spaces of America are vividly etched...Under the Same Stars, a tender-hearted novel of sibling rivalries, is no less memorable than his family memoir The Scent of Dried Roses. Very occasionally the therapist s couch shows in the prose ('A single thought drifted into the slipstream of his understanding'); otherwise the writing is sharp as a tack and unfailingly fun to read' --Spectator

Lott allows emotional rawness and confusion to remain unfinessed, the loose ends to stay frayed...It may be an uncomfortable read, but its raggedness is perhaps its greatest strength --Alex Clark, Guardian

About the Author

Under the Same Stars is Tim Lott's sixth novel. His memoir, The Scent of Dried Roses won the PEN/J.R. Ackerley award and White City Blue won the Whitbread First Novel award. His most recent book, Fearless was shortlisted for the Guardian Children's Book award.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank you Tim Lott 26 Oct 2013
By GFK
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Thank you Tim Lott. This is easily the best book I've read this year. I was holed up last week in a dismal room in Bangkok with never-ending rain. Actually the room was nice but the view was of an exercise room. Anyway - who wants to know that? But I so enjoyed your book. Interesting characters - well especially the two brothers - and a real taste of the southern US. It's one narrative and yet there are other mini-stories along the way. The end is amazing - a new take on the errant father and revelations about the polaroid that Salinger carries with him.
It's very different from Tim Lott's moving 'Scent of Dried Roses' which is autobiographical.
Tim, you're a great writer. You might like to know that I've put 'SDR' in the local library here in southern Thailand and I've left 'USS' in the hotel in Bangkok.
Probably no-one's going to rate this review as 'helpful' but hey, Tim I hope your publisher picks this up and sends it to you.
Again, thank you.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Same stars, old conflicts 17 April 2012
By Sabina
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Englishman Henry Nash was a great fan of things American and even called his sons Salinger (after J.D) and Carson (after McCullers). Unfortunately for them he left for new freedoms in the U.S while they were still in need of a dad. Carson later settled in America himself, but neither son had any relationship with Henry after he absconded. In 2008 when he is 40, Salinger reluctantly accepts an invitation from his older brother to go on a road trip in search of their father. Salinger who takes prozac for his mood swings, arrives in New Orleans trying to keep the peace, but unable to repress sardonic comments about Carson's apparent Born-again optimism.

As financial markets collapse and America is choosing a new president, the brothers spar, compromise and travel by new Lexus and motorbike towards New Mexico, via Dallas, the pueblo at Sky City, Amarillo, Albuquerque, Las Cruces, and Pecos, where one of them experiences some whacky, intense Native American healing. The road trip is not exactly Easy Rider, as the brothers have different attitudes towards their goal and they harbour their own truths about their childhood experiences. Salinger becomes increasingly uneasy about his girlfriend in London not responding to his email messages, and Carson seems impervious to any analysis of the familial baggage and Salinger's Cain and Abel analogies.
When they arrive at the truth, will it set them free?
There is some zippy dialogue and an odiously engaging policeman called Wendell who hinders and helps them on their way. Tim Lott writes well, with a sense of working through the theme of unresolved sibling rivalry conscious and unconscious, the challenges of living with not understanding, of having old assumptions challenged and whether light can break through into the dark places. I also felt I'd been on a bit of a tour of a chunk of America.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Memorable 29 May 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I liked this book very much because it has brilliant dialogue, and a psychologically very interesting story line. A memorable road novel.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An American road trip with a difference 23 May 2013
By A Common Reader TOP 50 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
t is 2008, in the middle of the great banking crisis and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Salinger Nash, an artist based in London, receives a phone call from his brother Carson who has lived in America for most of his adult life, asking him to travel to America where the two of them will go on a road trip to try to track down their father. This is the essence of Tim Lott's new novel, Under The Same Stars, his first adult novel since 2009 when he published the highly regarded Rumours of a Hurricane.

The younger brother Salinger is named after the writer J.D. Salinger of Catcher in the Rye fame, and Carson is named after Carson McCullers - two great American writers who specialise in the theme of loneliness. Their father abandoned the two boys and their mother when they were young and refused to have any further contact with them. Perhaps the exigencies of the time are reminding them that their father must be very old now and is going to die without seeing how his sons turned out (and don't we all want to show our parents what happened to us?).

Salinger's character is imbued with a typically London cynicism which is his defence against disappointment and rejection. Salinger lives with his girlfriend but the relationship seems to be floundering and perhaps this is time to go to the USA and see what happens when he returns. Carson on the other hand is a born-again Christian, and is relentlessly upbeat, responding to every negative remark with a unrealistically optimistic cliché. Perhaps both men have adopted personas which in some way protect them from the sense of rejection they acquired as boys when their father left them.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Funny, brilliantly observed 15 Dec 2013
Format:Paperback
I thought this book was very funny, and almost film-like in its descriptions and scene setting. I could really empathise with the characters and it was quite thought provoking at times. I'm not normally good at finishing novels, leaving them for months if I get bored in the middle. It is a testament to this book, that I read it from start to finish in 3 days.
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