Summary and book reviews of Finding Caruso by Kim Barnes

Finding Caruso

by Kim Barnes

Finding Caruso by Kim Barnes X
Finding Caruso by Kim Barnes
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Mar 2003, 320 pages
    Paperback:
    Jan 2004, 320 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

By turns darkly violent and heartbreakingly tender - a work of extraordinary emotional power from an astonishingly original writer.

Seven years separate Buddy from his big brother, Lee, but the boys have always been close, comforting and protecting each other as their father - defeated by poor land and hostile weather - sank deeper into alcohol and rage. When a drink-fueled accident takes not only his life but that of the mother who tried so hard to shield her sons, the boys sell off what little remains of their daddy's tenant farm and leave Oklahoma. It is 1957, and work is still to be had in the logging camps of northern Idaho. But just outside Snake Junction, they stop at a roadhouse; and there, Lee's country-and-western talents get him a job. The two settle in, Lee to his music-and women and drink - and seventeen-year-old Buddy to roaming the landscape, at loose ends until a woman nearly twice his age turns up. Irene Sullivan is a smoky beauty, and Lee makes a play for her. But it is Buddy she wants.

By turns darkly violent and heartbreakingly tender, Finding Caruso is a work of extraordinary emotional power from an astonishingly original writer.

August, sky paling. The humid Oklahoma air crowds in. The chickens have breasted their bowls of dirt; the hounds lie heat-sick beneath the porch. The smoke of Lee's cigarette does not rise but haloes around us. Only our father moves in the stillness, and the mare with him, a dance of retreat and retrieval.

"It's bad this time," Lee says.

I have come to join him at the fence, where we stand and watch our father trying to saddle the pinto mare.

We are brothers, Lee and I. Will always be. I am ten. He is seventeen. It is 1950, and our father is three days dry and angry. With the mare, who will not stand for the cinching. With our mother, who has turned him from her bed until he promises sobriety; with the two boys who have witnessed each new failure of strength and will.

His hands fist and tremble. The mare remembers punishment, cannot stop her nervous shying away, the flinching each time he elbows her gut.

I should go now, I think. Now is the time before it&#...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

Kirkus Reviews - Sally Wofford-Girand
A Bronte-esque debut novel about wretched families, childhood grief, love and betrayal, by poet and memoirist Barnes - told in a polished if somewhat precious voice (I abide in the whisper of wind through an old mare's bones) that sounds more evocative of Greenwich Village than Idaho.

Library Journal
Celebrated for her stories, poetry, and memoirs-especially In the Wilderness, a Pulitzer contender-Barnes tries her hand at full-length fiction. Two brothers fleeing 1950s Oklahoma after their parents' death wind up in a honky-tonk town on the edge of nowhere, where the teenaged Buddy soon becomes the prey of an older woman.

Booklist - Donna Seaman
Starred Review. Barnes is as fluent in provocative metaphors as in she in scenes of profound conflict and revelation--Buddy is forced to face the cruel consequences of family betrayals, racial hatred, and thwarted love.

Author Blurb Chris Offutt
Kim Barnes writes with great honesty, beauty and compassion.... This book is terrific.

Reader Reviews

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Read-alikes Full readalike results are for members only

More books by Kim Barnes

If you liked Finding Caruso, try these:

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member
Search read-alikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Join BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Find out more


Today's Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: All of Us Villains
    All of Us Villains
    by Amanda Foody, Christine Herman
    All of Us Villains, the first release of a young adult dark fantasy series by Christine Lynn Herman ...
  • Book Jacket: Yonder
    Yonder
    by Jabari Asim
    The captivating historical novel Yonder turns an intimate lens towards the tragedy and survivorship ...
  • Book Jacket: Churchill's Shadow
    Churchill's Shadow
    by Geoffrey Wheatcroft
    Another book about Winston Churchill? Even with the astronomical number of titles written about the ...
  • Book Jacket: 1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows
    1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows
    by Ai Weiwei
    Ai Weiwei is such an influential and innovative artist and activist that a memoir focused purely on ...

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
My Broken Language
by Quiara Alegría Hudes
A Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright tells her lyrical coming of age story in a sprawling Puerto Rican family.

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Free
    by Lea Ypi

    "Nothing short of a masterpiece."
    Publishers Weekly

  • Book Jacket

    The Paris Bookseller
    by Kerri Maher

    How a humble bookseller fought incredible odds to bring one of the 20th century's most important books to the world.

Who Said...

It is among the commonplaces of education that we often first cut off the living root and then try to replace its ...

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

A P O B Y Houses

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.