I Know This Much is True (Oprah's Book Club) Paperback – 1 Apr 1999
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‘A triumph of simple beauty’
‘I Know This Much Is True never grapples with anything less than life’s biggest questions… a modern-day Dostoyevsky’
New York Times
‘Every now and then a book comes along that sets new standards for writers and readers alike. Wally Lamb’s latest novel is stunning – and even that might be an understatement’
‘Lamb creates a nuanced picture of a flawed but decent man. And the questions that permeate the novel… contribute to a fully developed and triumphantly resolved exploration of one man’s suffering and redemption’
‘A modern Greek tragedy… [Lamb’s] success is to present this with terrific readability, tenderness, optimism and, most surprisingly, wit… The hallmark of the book is fine writing and a commendable depth of characterisation’
‘Wally Lamb’s achievement is to force you to feel Dominick’s pain… the events in Dominick’s everyday nightmare are presented with a sneaky simplicity which generates emotional tension’
From the Back Cover
“When you’re the sane brother of a schizophrenic identical twin, the tricky thing about saving yourself is the blood it leaves on your hands- the little inconvenience of the look-alike corpse at your feet. And if you’re into both survival of the fittest 'and' being your brother’s keeper – if you’ve promised your dying mother – then say so long to sleep and hello to the middle of the night.”
Dominick Birdsey’s entire life has been compromised and constricted by Thomas, the paranoid schizophrenic twin he both deeply loves and resents, and by the past they shared with their adoptive father and their long-suffering mother. Born in the waning moments of 1949 and the opening minutes of 1950, the twins are physical mirror images who grow into distinct yet connected entities. From childhood, Dominick fightts for separation and wholeness in a house of fear.
But Dominick’s talent for survival comes at enormous personal cost. And it will be put to the ultimate test when his brother commits an unthinkableact that threatens the tenuous balance of both his and Dominick’s life. To save himself, Dominick must confront not only the pain of his past but the dark secrets he has locked within himself, and the sins of his ancestors. He will have to search for the courage and love to forgive, and finally to rebuild himself beyond the haunted shadow of his twin.
Set against the panoply of twentieth-century America, this deeply moving and satisfying novel brings to light humanity’s most profound needs and fears: our desire for love and acceptance, our struggle to survive. Joyous, mystical and exquisitely written, 'I Know This Much Is True' will leave no reader untouched.
ACCLAIM FOR BESTSELLING PHENOMENON WALLY LAMB:
“A triumph of simple beauty”
“'I Know This Much Is True' never grapples with anything less than life’s biggest questions – a modern-day Dostoyevsky”
NEW YORK TIMES
“Every now and then a book comes along that sets new standards for writers and readers alike. Wally Lamb’s latest novel is stunning – and even that might be an understatement”
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Top Customer Reviews
This book is beyond doubt my favorite book ever. On finishing this book the total feeling of satisfaction was undeniable. I've never heard of anyone say that, and I've never used that terminology before but it was exactly that - Satisfying. The story is so true to life and the way it was told encapsulated me in his life.
I disagree with the reviewer who complained about the amount of hardship in this book, welcome to real life. When I read this book I had no real trauma or tragedy in my life but it appealed to me. A few years later the amount of sadness I have seen has just confirmed the sentiment of this book. There is still a lot of enjoyment in this story and I loved the ending. I too am like the other reviewer who misses it when it's not on the shelf and I lend it to everyone in order to share the enjoyment of the book. In fact I have just treated myself to a second copy that I can have at all times while my other copy is on lend.
Finally to the person who read this book in one day and did not enjoy it. I find it hard to imagine reading 900 pages in one day and being able to feel the true emotion, and understand the true greatness of this book. It would be like drinking an exquisite bottle of wine while suffering with the cold, no sense of smell or taste and missing out on the enjoyment.
This is a wonderful book. The characters are believable and, even more important, their predicaments are real. I note that one reviewer commented on the number of tragedies faced by these people --- in my experience, that's real life. Also, I think Lamb did a brilliant job of portraying the ups and downs life offers.
I was gripped until the very last page. And I was moved to tears by the conclusion.
This is a wonderful book. I recommend it in the highest possible terms.
Wally Lamb, a genius of a novelist, has written a momument to love, healing, self-awareness and the human spirit that has only been equalled, I can only guess, by some of the best work of the 20th century--including Joyce, Melville, Ralph Ellison, Toni Morrison and Hemingway. I cannot imagine anything ever written short of the world's religious texts surpassing this. The central story is of a man named Thomas Birdsey and his struggle to answer with honor the Biblical question Cain asked God--"Am I my brother's keeper?"--via taking care of his schizophrenic twin, and his own struggle against the dying of the light of his own sanity in the process. Lamb manages to teach more lessons about the nature of life, family, power, abuse, pain, wounds, healing, forgiveness, spirit, love and epiphany through the flowering of Thomas' consciousness in this novel--not to mention the architectue of schizophrenia itself, and how it serves as the ideal albeit frightening metaphor for our entire Age--than any DOZEN self-help books, tear-jerker movies and trips to Church or the therapist that I could ever think of. Lamb does not tear apart the the fabric of modern life or maliciously diagnose the diseases affecting it for the manipulative purpose of creating characters and a convincing storyline. He sings modern life. He creates a symphony with modern life.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I loved this book. It was graphic sometimes but I loved the message of the story. I loved the layers of the story and I didn't predict the ending at all.Published 2 days ago by Happy Feet
I loved this book and I suspect it's the the type of novel that will stay indelibly etched in my memory for quite some time. Read morePublished 2 months ago by RCM888
I have been meaning to read this book for some time and was glad when I finally got round to it.
It is a very long book - weighing in at over 900 pages. Read more
I'm a big Wally Lamb fan and I'm sure the book itself is very good. I am just disappointed in the fact that my copy arrived with a stain on the front cover that looks like burnt... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Avital
A thoroughly enjoyable read. What a great writer Wally Lamb is!Published 9 months ago by Sinead Boland
This book draws you in and does not release you until you have read every word. It's a tremendous achievement.Published 9 months ago by grannyamber
I loved this book, struck a chord once in a while with me, I wish it didn't have to end! I think this book will stay in my mind for a long time and my to "re-read" shelf... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Rosanne
Forty-year old narrator Dominick Birdsey, former high-school history teacher and now house-painter, tells the story that led to his identical twin Thomas’s paranoia, and the... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Elizabeth Perrat