Summary and book reviews of The View from Mount Joy by Lorna Landvik

The View from Mount Joy

A Novel

by Lorna Landvik

The View from Mount Joy
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Sep 2007, 368 pages
    Sep 2008, 384 pages

  • Rate this book

Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

The View from Mount Joy, Lorna Landvik’s delightfully quirky and intensely moving new novel, is about a man, a supermarket, the roads not taken, and the great, unexpected pleasures found in living a good life.

When hunky teenage hockey player Joe Andreson and his widowed mother move to Minneapolis, Joe falls under the seductive spell of Kristi Casey, Ole Bull High’s libidinous head cheerleader, the kind of girl a guy can’t say no to, even when saying yes guarantees trouble. Joe balances Kristi’s lustful manipulation with the down-to-earth companionship of his smart, platonic girlfriend, Darva. But it is Kristi who will prove to be a temptation (and torment) throughout Joe’s life.

Years later, having once dreamed of a career in pro hockey or as a globetrotting journalist, Joe can’t believe that life has deposited him in the aisles of Haugland Foods. But he soon learns that being a grocer is like being the mayor of a small town: His constituents confide astonishing things and always appreciate the value of a hard-to-pass-up special, a free toy for a well-behaved youngster, a pie for the best rendition of “Alfie,” or simply Joe’s generous dispensing of the milk of human kindness. For Joe, everyday life is its own roller-coaster ride, and all he wants to do is hold on tight.

The path Kristi has charged down, on the other hand, is as wild as Joe’s is tame – or at least that’s how it appears to the outside world. But who has really risked more? Who has lived more? And who is truly happy? As Joe discovers – in this dramatic, heartbreaking, and hilarious novel - – - sometimes people are lucky enough to be standing in the one place where the view of the world is breathtaking, if only they’ll open their eyes to all there is to see.

The View from Mount Joy is truly glorious: a warm, wonderful picture of life as seen from the deepest places in the heart.

Chapter One

Standing at the urinal, I read the first graffiti to mar the freshly scrubbed wall of the school bathroom: Viet Nam sucks and Kristi Casey is a stone fox. In the fall of 1971, I was a senior new to Ole Bull High, and while I had formed judgments as to the former (I agreed, the war did suck), I had no idea who Kristi Casey was and whether or not she was a fox, stone or not. When I met her it only took a nanosecond to realize: Man, is she ever.

From my perch on the top row of the football bleachers, I used to watch her and the other cheerleaders, their short pleated skirts fanning out as they sprang into the air, screaming at the Bulls to “go, fight, win!” as if the continuation of human civilization depended on their victory. The late sixties still bled its influence into the early seventies, and many of us considered ourselves too hip in a mellow make-love-not-war way to look at those bouncing, pom-pom- punching, red-faced girls without thinking, Man, are they ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • 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 $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!


Media Reviews

Boston Globe

[Landvik] has an easy, engaging narrative style laced with humor.

The Charlotte Observer

A delightful journey . . . full of humor and poignancy and the potential for joy in everyday life.

Minneapolis Star Tribune

Deeply satisfying . . . Bursting with the same deliciously deadpan dialogue that is now a Landvik trademark . . . [The View from Mount Joy provides] quite possibly Landvik’s most lovable character to date.

Publishers Weekly

Landvik...deftly mixes humor and pathos in Kristi's ditzy On the Air with God radio show, starkly contrasted by her quietly powerful portrait of Joe, a man with real family values.

Library Journal

Landvik is a wonderful storyteller...however, some...may be uncomfortable with the sex and drugs and Kristi's hypocritical life as an evangelist and the wife of a politician.


Landvik’s latest homespun homage is pure bliss.

Reader Reviews


A Step Back In Time
I've had no desire to go back to my teenage years of angst and insecurities but Landvik's novel took me there - and I loved it! At first I wasn't sure I was the target audience (the narrator is a teenager when the story begins). However, as the ...   Read More


It's a joy
As a Lorna Landvik fan I looked forward to reading her new book. I wasn't disappointed. Once again she deals with ordinary people from the heartland. The plot is well developed and character driven. It takes a promising man's life down an ...   Read More


Fun, Endearing and a Fast Read
This is not the kind of book I usually pick up and read, I've never read Lorna Landvik before. BUT I have to say I'm so glad I did. This book makes you laugh, cry and just holds your interest, I could hardly put it down. Joe is such an endearing ...   Read More


A Great View
This book offers plenty of the good stuff of life -- joy, surprises, laughter, deep and enduring relationships. Much like life, it also has some loss, grief and disappointment. In all, it's a celebration of an ordinary life lived authentically and ...   Read More

Write your own review!

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • 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 $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!


Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked The View from Mount Joy, try these:

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member

Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • 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 $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Of Arms and Artists
    Of Arms and Artists
    by Paul Staiti
    In the late eighteenth-century, the United States of America was still an emerging country, ...
  • Book Jacket: So Say the Fallen
    So Say the Fallen
    by Stuart Neville
    Noir crime fiction – Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett anyone? – is an American invention...
  • Book Jacket: The Mothers
    The Mothers
    by Brit Bennett
    Every now and then the publishing industry gushes about a young author destined to become the next ...
Book Discussions
Book Jacket
The Bone Tree
by Greg Iles

An epic trilogy of blood and race, family and justice.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Comet Seekers
    by Helen Sedgwick

    A magical, intoxicating debut novel, both intimate and epic.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Cruel Beautiful World
    by Caroline Leavitt

    A fast moving page-turner about the naiveté of youth and the malignity of power.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    News of the World
    by Paulette Jiles

    Exquisitely rendered and morally complex--a brilliant work of historical fiction.

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win The World of Poldark

Win the book & DVD

Enter to win The World of Poldark and the full first series on DVD.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One S D N M A S

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & 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 books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.


Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!

Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.