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Read advance reader review of Leaving by Roxana Robinson, page 2 of 4

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Leaving

A Novel

by Roxana Robinson

Leaving by Roxana Robinson X
Leaving by Roxana Robinson
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  • Published:
    Feb 2024, 344 pages

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There are currently 25 member reviews
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  • Beth B. (Meredith, NH)
    Can't stop thinking about it!
    What a delight to read a book where you WANT to get to know the characters, and are surprised to find that you learned about them through their decisions. The details about the characters' lives and the story, which are realistic and so thorough that I knew this difficult scenario is a part of many peoples' lives in the real world. I'm going to be recommending this to my four daughters, who are all great readers, AND my book club!
  • Teresa R, Colorado
    "How do know what you'll need to know before you marry someone?" Dialogue from Leaving
    Several decades after the abrupt end of an intense affair in young adulthood, a chance encounter re-ignites the connection between a married man and a long-divorced woman. At 60, the two are now are embarking on the final chapters of their lives. How is a man to reconcile late-life passion with the complex ethics of abandoning a stultifying marriage that also encompasses a deeply gratifying parental bond?
    Fans of Edith Wharton and Henry James will find this novel's central conflict particularly appealing as it plays out in a contemporary framework. Book clubs too will find grist for spirited exchanges on the merits of choosing personal happiness over 'doing the right thing.'
    This is a quietly churning read that in a lesser talent's hands might have produced mere operatic angst. But seasoned readers, particularly those looking back on choices/decisions made in early adulthood and are now dealing with the long-term repercussions thereof, will appreciate Robinson's ability to delineate in luminous prose the cumulative layers of sorrow that arise from sacrificing one type of love for another.
  • Carol D. (Frisco, TX)
    Wow! Really?
    Wow! Really? Those were the words that immediately popped into my mind when I read the last words of Leaving. These words reflect the emotions that Roxana Robinson often coaxed out of me. Her writing was slow and steady, seamlessly moving between characters and time. Yet always just around the corner was another "leaving." Some were short-term, daily events, like leaving for work or dropping off the kids; others were perhaps permanent. Some expected and wanted. Others dreaded. The book made me realize how often we leave, sometimes with no consequences, sometimes life changing. I also pondered, like the characters, the depth and validity of the vows we make.

    I loved how Ms. Robinson painted pictures with her unique phrases: Sarah inches her way to "join the slow scrum in the aisle." Upon greeting her dog, "the dog twists with pleasure." "a pale chunk of butter … skates across the slick black surface, sizzling." (Wow! Really?)

    Ms. Robinson made me think and feel — that is what a good novel does!
  • Shirley T. (Comfort, TX)
    Leaving by Roxanna Robinson
    LEAVING is a stunning love story which will appeal to very many readers.
    Roxanna Robinson has an amazing ability to draw the reader into the plot so that the characters are real and believable from the start. The author describes past times of the lovers and their family backgrounds very clearly.
    Involving two families at the beginning, the story expands as time goes on, deepening the tension in the love between the lovers.
    It is intriguing to follow the individual loyalties and betrayals, the selfishness of some and the rational decisions of others.
    The author keeps the sequence of events so real that it is impossible to guess the final outcome before the end of the book.
    This is a book to treasure and reread.
  • Laurie B. (Santa Monica, CA)
    An intimate, absorbing novel of competing loyalties
    Sarah and Warren were young lovers who split when Sarah objected to Warren's adventurous plans for their future. Decades later, a chance encounter at the opera brings them together. Sarah is long divorced, Warren is married to a woman he tolerates, but does not love. They quickly fall in love again, and begin to plan a future together.

    Superficially, this novel purports to be about the relationship between Sarah and Warren, but in reality it brilliantly illuminates the fierce, tangled, complicated relationships between people in late middle age and their adult children. It is on those relationships that the novel turns.

    Leaving is most impressive in uncannily illuminating a complete personality in just a few short scenes. Warren's daughter Katrina and Sarah's daughter Meg are fully realized characters despite their relatively brief appearances in the book.

    Sarah’s very young grandchildren are beautifully rendered in their individuality. Not just generic toddlers and pre-schoolers, but little people we get to know and care about. In fact, even Sarah's beloved dog, Bella, isn't just a generic dog, but a fully realized individual with an endearing and tender love for Sarah.

    This would be a great selection for a book club, a deep dive into questions of what we owe ourselves, our beloved family members, and the relationships we have created and cherish.
  • Connie, Oldsmar, Fl
    Ties Do Bind
    Is there only one way to honor a marriage? Do sacrifices have limits, and who gets to decide what they are? What is weakness, what is strength? Can you expect to be given respect from those you deeply hurt, from yourself for the choices you make to survive?

    The novel "Leaving" by Roxana Robinson weaves such ethical questions throughout. The characters' actions - flawed or noble - are sure to raise debates among book club members and more poignantly within yourself. Readers may find themselves aligning with one character and then urging others on in the next chapter with "why didn't you say this" or "you should have questioned her own ideas of love about that." So while I found it a frustrating read at times, the writing was seamless and kept moving the plot forward.

    I do recommend this book and will champion it as a book club title for our group. The ending and what alternative possibilities were anticipated will also make for interesting discussion.
  • Patricia L. (Seward, AK)
    Leaving by Roxana Robinson
    Sarah, divorced, with grown children, unexpectedly meets a former beau at the opera. "They had been close at one time." Sarah and Warren decide to "continue" their relationship, even though Warren is married. Eventually, Warren decides to leave his wife of thirty-seven years. Leaving is the story of that journey.
    A story about divorce must be about marriage and parenting. Robinson writes with uncanny understanding of those emotional roller coasters. She shows how youthful decisions can transform lives. How children can change a relationship. How children become independent of their parents, but also need them. How parents need their children. She even captures the essence of having a pet dog. Leaving touches on all that holds a family together and what happens when that grip is loosened.
    Leaving was a satisfying read and is highly recommended for those who want to be reminded that no family is perfect, that selfishness is short sighted, and life doesn't always go as planned.

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