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Staring at Lakes: A Memoir of Love, Melancholy and Magical Thinking Paperback – 6 Jan 2014

4.0 out of 5 stars 46 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Hachette Books Ireland; Reprint edition (6 Jan. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1444743503
  • ISBN-13: 978-1444743500
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.2 x 20 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 359,430 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"


"Engaging." --"Irish Examiner"

"Compelling." --"Sunday Business Post
"

"Difficult to put down." --"Irish Times"

"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 go." Mary McEvoy, "Irish Independent"
"

"Engaging." "Irish Examiner""

"Compelling." "Sunday Business Post
""

"Difficult to put down." "Irish Times""

Engaging Irish Examiner"

Difficult to put down Irish Times"

Engaging Irish Examiner"

Difficult to put down Irish Times"

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

Written in lyrical prose, it provides a compelling insight into the turbulent emotions that rage behind so many of the bland faces we meet in everyday life'--Sunday Business Post

I read this book in one sitting ... it held me and wouldn't let go--Irish Independent

Engaging--Irish Examiner

Difficult to put down--Irish Times

'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

'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

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

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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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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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: Paperback
All I can do is to add my own voice to the chorus of praise for this wonderful book, which is so much more than an autobiography. It is the personal narrative of a man who has had plenty of difficulties and problems to surmount, in spite of being a great and successful writer.

His frankness verges sometimes on the embarassing; very little (I presume!) is left out. We get a great philosophical reflection on life, religion, and also on Irish social and cultural life each side of the turn of the 21st century. Some women have done this sort of thing but very few men have. So, for women who want to know what goes on inside of men, this is a particularly strong recommendation. And of course, men (I'm a male) might learn from it to speak more openly about their emotions.
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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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