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Three Junes

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Has anyone read this novel? I've sadly just finished it. I wish that there were about a thousand more pages to read. It's 3 novelettes really, all of which could easily stand alone. I understand the first section, "Collies", was initially published on its own.

"Three Junes" is the story of a Scottish family. The first section is written in third person and mostly concerns one member of the family, recently widowed, who is mourning the loss of his wife. The story moves back and forth between the present time in his life and his former life with his wife and family.

The second section is written in first person. The narrator is the son of the widowed man . He lives in NYC. Most of this section concerns his thoughts and feelings about being different from his family. It's also about friendships and in particular, his relationship with an opera critic who has AIDS.

The final section ties in with the others in a bit of a different way and I'd probably be giving something away if I wrote about it.

I liked that these stories allowed for all the complexities in life, the messiness of relationships and family ties. Nothing earth-shattering really here, but it's well-written, engrossing, and I frequently found myself pondering my own family relationships. It's a great read; I strongly recommend it.

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vagansmom.....thankyou for this lovely review. i was looking for a good read for a long plane ride and after reading your comments, decided this would be a great book to take with me on my trip. I had other selections, but put them aside after reading your post.......can't wait to begin this intriguing story. :jump:

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I loved this novel. It was one of the most absorbing stories I've read in a long time . . . until the author killed the main character a third of the way through the story. I felt somewhat betrayed that a character to whom I had grown so attached was suddenly and inexplicably dead, then replaced with another character I barely knew. I only read a few pages into the second section, then put the book aside in disappointment that the original story line was dropped. Does the third section make it all worthwhile? If so, maybe I'll pick it up again. As it is, it's been relegated to the stack of half-read novels that's accumulating by my bedside.

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Obbligato, I know just what you mean. All of a sudden he's just not there, and I can understand your sense of betrayal. If you can manage to pick it up again after having left it for a while, you will see that the original story line is not so much dropped as delved into from a different perspective. One of the beguiling things about this novel is that we are allowed to see the same events from different perspectives -- sometimes from a different person's point of view, but also after the passage of time and intervening events, so the interpretation is different. Something that makes little sense the first time around suddenly explains everything when it is revisited. I really loved this book, too. I agree that the shift in voice between parts one and two is dismaying, but if you can get over that hump I think you will find it rewarding to continue.

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Obbligato, I remember having the same reaction at the end of Part 1. I too felt a little discouraged and not sure I wanted to begin a new section. But Part 2 was ultimately the section I loved the most! And then I underwent a bit of a mourning process yet again, entering Part 3. But by then I understood what the author was doing with the story and so I was more patient and curious about how she would tie it all together.

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I just finished this book. The second part is by far the best, as others have noted.

I struggled with the third part mainly because I found the characters of Tony and Fern among the less interesting elements of the book. But overall, it is a good read and I thank vagansmom for bringing it to my attention.

Interestingly, I lived for 5 years right around the corner from the "little clapboard house" on Charles Street in the Village where Fenno first encountered Tony. About 2 years ago it underwent major renovation and now looks far more solid but also lost alot of its charm.

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I was also motivated to read this book as the result of reading this thread, and I'm so glad I did. The author has such a wide sympathy for all kinds of people, and it's beautifully written. I thought the first section was the least interesting -- it was more like a prologue to the second section, which was the heart of the book. The third section ties all the characters together.

I look forward to reading more of Julia Glass.

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