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3.6 out of 5 stars12
3.6 out of 5 stars
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on 26 October 2013
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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on 17 April 2012
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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on 29 May 2013
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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on 16 June 2013
I read a recommendation by Irvine Welsh on Twitter for this book and thought I'd give it a go. The story looks at the estranged relationships of brothers, father and sons and husbands and wives. I think the prose style of the writing keeps you engaged from the start as we follow the lives of two brothers that set off on an American road trip to find their father who abandoned them when they were very young.

Culture, religion and family routinely come under the spotlight during this journey and we how different the lives of the brothers have become since their estrangement from each other, with one in the US and the other in the UK. Worth a read.
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on 15 December 2013
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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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.

Salinger is not surprised to find that Carson's has done extremely well in America. He has a perfect home, a perfect wife and a shiny new Lexus sitting in the driveway. The car is Carson's pride and joy and he wipes it clean both inside and out at the end of every day. Salinger seems to delight in dropping small items of rubbish on the floor knowing that this will irritate his older brother.

As they travel across the American South, the banter between the two men has a cutting edge with childhood rivalries never far below the surface. The contrast between Carson's positivity and Salinger's cynicism leads to endless bickering between them, not only on personal themes but also on the contrasting attitudes between Britons and Americans.

Tim Lott puts the two brothers through various adventures, not least the theft of the beautiful Lexus. An unlikely cop helps them out and the brothers travel on by motorbike, enjoying the temporary thrill of living for a few days in a James Dean movie.

Eventually the brothers arrive at their destination, the small town where their father was last reported to be living. They do not know his address and have to hunt round various cheap cafés and diners in the hope of spotting him. I won't say what happens in the end but it is definitely a suitable ending, despite some reservations about the final resolution which although satisfying seemed a little trite to me.

I read this book while on holiday and it turned out to be a perfect match for my mood. Light enough to be amusing, but also having enough grit to hold my interest and keep me returning to it as I hovered between promenade benches and open-air cafés. While my wife read the newspaper I found myself eager to travel the next few miles with the two brothers as they drove along America's giant freeways and quiet back-roads. A 4-star read but still very good.
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on 11 May 2015
Stumbled across this author, after reading a review and something about the subject matter drove me to make a purchase...really glad I did, will likely be reading more from Mr Lott .....a combination of stark, dry, sinicism, married with blind faith and optimism ...the uk meets the us of a...and two brothers gain a deeper understanding of that which propels us forwards.....brought about by a classic all american road trip...lots of hidden gems in this novel.
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on 30 October 2014
Easy read. Great descriptive yet unpretentious description of characters & setting. Interesting believable characters. Some thought provoking ideas. Love to be able to ask their father more questions about his thoughts & feelings at the time of leaving for America!
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on 22 August 2013
I enjoyed this as a holiday romp. It's not too profound but, equally, not vapid. It retained my interest to the end and so deserves some recognition.
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on 6 September 2015
The usual self serving crap from a tired out hack. Watch paint dry, way more interesting.
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