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The Long Ago: Book summary and reviews of The Long Ago by Michael McGarrity

The Long Ago

A Novel

by Michael McGarrity

The Long Ago by Michael McGarrity X
The Long Ago by Michael McGarrity
  • Readers' rating:

  • Published Jul 2023
    384 pages
    Genre: Mysteries

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About this book

Book Summary

A soldier returns home from Vietnam in the early 1960s to search for his missing sister in this gripping story of broken lives and a search for happiness.

Growing up in Montana, siblings Raymond and Barbara Lansdale held their chaotic world together through their shared childhood fantasy of The Long Ago: a distant place where happiness and tranquility reigned, far from the dysfunction at home. But imagination only goes so far. To escape his painful past, Ray joins the army and finds a career that gives him a sense of purpose and the promise of adventure.

Recent news of his kid sister's disappearance brings Ray home on leave before beginning a stateside assignment almost certain to send him back into the jungles of Vietnam. Determined to find Barbara despite a police investigation that has led nowhere, Ray embarks on a relentless search that takes him from the majestic Montana ranchlands and glitter of Hollywood to the mean streets of L.A. and beyond. As time dwindles, he must confront his worst nightmare. What if Barbara's search for The Long Ago ended in a shallow, unmarked grave, not in the carefree life she'd once so longed for and imagined?

A spin-off from McGarrity's nationally best-selling Kevin Kerney family saga, The Long Ago is a richly crafted and enthralling story of grit, determination, and the enduring, restorative strength of love.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"I adored [it] without reservation and inhaled in a single sitting." ―Sarah Weinman, New York Times Book Review

"Michael McGarrity's The Long Ago fully delivers what McGarrity does best: a great, sweeping story of family, land, occasional violence, and adventure. From the first pages, you are pulled into a family struggling with both personal and institutional demons. The characters' worlds are rugged and sometimes harsh but immersive, and McGarrity's attention to detail is always satisfying. I make it a rule to read anything by McGarrity." ―Valerie Plame, coauthor of Burned

This information about The Long Ago was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Reader Reviews

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Mitra V. (Stamford, CT)

The Long Ago
McGaritty has done it again. This story about the Lansdale siblings has never a dull moment and plunges the reader straightaway into the lives of the protagonists. The character of Raymond Lansdale generates lively interest and evokes one's imagination instantly to how his sister Barbara will turn out. And she does not disappoint either.
The highlight of the book to my mind is the captivatingly descriptive style of writing especially while describing locales and places. Montana comes alive as do the ranch lives that figure in the book. The outline of daily life in the military stations is simply outstanding.
One is half way into the book before realizing the actual reality of Barbara. The suspense is very well maintained. The romantic lives of the siblings have been very sensitively dealt with.
Perhaps my one wish could be a further drawing out of Barbara's personality, and a more convincing explanation of her silence after departure, especially with those who loved her.
Overall, a great reading experience!

Debbie C. (Sun Lakes, AZ)

Easy captivating read.
A great book. I read it in 2 days. I hated to put it down. It's a mystery with a captivating plot. The characters are in different areas of the search and they all work together for a successful completion. A very nice plot, enjoyable read and well written.

Shirl (Wisconsin)

Touching Family Story
I found "The Long Ago" to be very true to its era. I grew up at this time and it brought back many memories of the way things were. This was a time not only without internet but also without even affordable long distance phone calls, for many of us. It was a time with much more limited communication with people far away. Losing touch with a sibling then struck me as very realistic, in spite of the bond that had been there originally. I felt the sadness of the far-reaching effects of the Vietnam war, as well. Overall, I enjoyed the descriptions of cars, buildings, and daily life - and all the memories that this story brought back to me.

"The Long Ago" struck me as a realistic story about families and communities. I felt pulled into it immediately, completing it in a few days. I liked the many positive ties and interactions between the characters. Friendship, love, and the ups and downs of life all seemed to come together in a story that warmed my soul. I plan to share this book with friends.

Vivian H. (Winchester, VA)

The Long Ago - An Engaging Read
I read The Long Ago in one day. I waffled between rating the book 'good' or 'very good' and decided that while the story has some predictability and a few slow parts, overall, I loved the themes of loyalty, ties that bind, that family isn't necessarily biology, and the role of fate.

Perhaps The Long Ago resonated with me so much because the story takes place during the earliest days of the war ( AKA 'conflict') in Vietnam, when I was a child. It fueled memories of war correspondents on the Six O'clock news. Ray Lansdale joined the Army to escape from his dysfunctional childhood in rural Montana. His sister Barbara ran away as well. During a leave from the Army, Ray embarks on a search for his sister the old fashioned way….paper trails, interviews with people, missing persons posters, police assistance, like gum shoes before cellphones and the Internet.

The Long Ago is a mixture of intrigue, family dynamics, romance, and just a little bit of Mickey Mouse. Now, I want to read some of Michael McGarrity's earlier works.

Doris K. (Mountain Iron, MN)

The Long Ago
This is a good read about the strong ties between siblings especially those raised in a dysfunctional family. Ray's main agenda is finding his sister Barbara while he is home from leave during the Vietnam War. In the process of doing this he meets many interesting people and has a variety of experiences. These keep the book worth continuing to read. The story brings to light how the war affected not only the servicemen in the battles but the people and families left at home. This is a worthwhile read on many levels.

Joan W. (Orion, MI)

Family Matters
Have not read Michael McGarrity books in a while and wish I had. He is a good writer - easy to read - and writes very good stories. The Long Ago is a story of Ray and Barbara, brother and sister, who did not have a good home life - when their mother died Ray left home and joined the Army, leaving Barbara on her own with their alcoholic father. As time goes on and things happen, Barbara leaves as well and tries to find herself a job on a ranch taking care of horses and teaching people to ride. When Ray returns home on leave, he tries to find Barbara and gets help from the Sheriff in town and a few of his friends. In the meantime, Ray tries to find Barbara before his return to the Service and Vietnam. This was a good family story and friendship and caring for one another. After reading the Long Ago I will certainly return to read what I missed of McGarrity's good books. Go on and check them out, you will be glad you did.

...21 more reader reviews

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Author Information

Michael McGarrity

Michael McGarrity is the author of the nationally best-selling Kevin Kerney crime novels, which he concluded in Head Wounds, and the acclaimed American West historical trilogy. A former psychotherapist and deputy sheriff, he lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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