July, July

July, July

3.42 (2,494 ratings by Goodreads)
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At a thirty-year reunion, a group of old friends tell the story of their lives - and the story of a generation - in this brilliant new novel from one of America's most celebrated writers. What happened to all those hopes and ideals? After thirty years, a group of friends are reunited in their old college gymnasium for a weekend of dancing and drinking, reminiscence and revelation. A mop manufacturer and a bigamist, a war veteran and a trophy wife, a glamour model and a defrocked priest - each character has an extraordinary tale to tell in the compelling new novel from former National Book Award-winner Tim O'Brien.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 336 pages
  • 148.6 x 214.1 x 18.5mm | 245g
  • HarperCollins Publishers
  • Flamingo
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0007132441
  • 9780007132447
  • 585,880

Review quote

'A great book from one of America's greatest writers. "July, July" is beautifully written, very moving and very, very funny. It is also packed with some of the best characters I've read in a long time.' Roddy Doyle 'The Class of '69 revisit their pasts and contemplate the thwarted dreams of the Sixties generation. Savage and funny.' Sunday Express 'A feast - the rare kind that leaves you satisfied rather than stuffed. A book whose main delight is one of constant surprise in word and deed. Playful and profound...nightmarishly funny.' Glasgow Herald 'O'Brien's characters are instantly recognisable. Psychologically acute...he writes piercingly about relationships, particularly the ones that don't work.' Irish Times 'A great novel. So much human truth in so few words...the very definition of fine writing.' Esquire 'A book for all seasons. Funny and poignant, it looks into the nature of our dreams and how fulfilment eludes us.' Edna O'Brienshow more

About Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien was born in Minnesota, and graduated from Macalester College in St Paul. He served as an infantryman in Vietnam and after graduate studies at Harvard worked as a national affairs reporter for the Washington Post. He first came to prominence in 1973 with If I Die in a Combat Zone, the compelling, fictionalised account of his time in Vietnam. His highly acclaimed novels include Going After Cacciato, winner of the 1979 National Book Award in Fiction, The Things They Carried, In the Lake of the Woods and Tomcat in Love. 'Tim O'Brien ranks among the best.' JOSEPH HELLERshow more

Review Text

Acclaimed American writer Tim O'Brien takes two significant dates as the starting point of this accomplished novel. July 1969 is the summer of peace and love - the USA fights in Vietnam and the first man lands on the moon. Students march on the streets and sing anti-war songs. Meanwhile, the graduating class of Darton Hall College gets ready to face the real world. In July 2000 the class of '69 gathers for a reunion. Every one of them is some way haunted: Ellie by a drowning man; David by a paranormal disc jockey; Dorothy and Billy by betrayal; Spook by the twin she lost and Marv by Spook. Over the reunion weekend old loves are rekindled or abandoned, friendships consolidated or lost, and one character moves closer to a drastic conclusion. The story moves backwards and forwards between 1969 and 2000, gradually building up a picture of a group of individuals asking themselves - and each other - 'How did we get here from there?'. O'Brien explores the way that, inevitably, hopes and ideals give way to disillusionment, but also shows how hope will always triumph in the end over experience. The writing is pacy and often upbeat and comic, and the dialogue has that slightly surreal quality of conversations held very late at night between the very, very drunk. Altogether, this is a stylish and thoughtful analysis of 20-something angst and middle-aged panic and the processes of changing and ageing. (Kirkus UK)show more

Rating details

2,494 ratings
3.42 out of 5 stars
5 12% (287)
4 35% (873)
3 40% (991)
2 12% (295)
1 2% (48)
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