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

  • 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" 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!

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" 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

Readalikes 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 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!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: That Time I Loved You
    That Time I Loved You
    by Carianne Leung
    Carrianne Leung was a Toronto Book Award finalist for That Time I Loved You as well as for her debut...
  • Book Jacket: The Pianist from Syria
    The Pianist from Syria
    by Aeham Ahmad
    Aeham Ahmad became famous as the face of Syrian suffering when a photo of him playing piano in the ...
  • Book Jacket: The Smiling Man
    The Smiling Man
    by Joseph Knox
    Joseph Knox's latest turns on a simple premise: an unidentified and unidentifiable murdered man is ...
  • Book Jacket: The Heavens
    The Heavens
    by Sandra Newman
    I've been a big fan of Sandra Newman's writing ever since reading her 2014 novel The Country of Ice ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    American Princess
    by Stephanie Marie Thornton

    Rated 4.9 stars by BookBrowse members - one of the highest scores of all time!
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    A People's History of Heaven
    by Mathangi Subramanian

    A story of love and friendship, and fighting for the places we love.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club
Book Jacket
Girls Burn Brighter
by Shobha Rao

An extraordinary and heart-rending tale of two girls with all the odds against them.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Book Club Giveaway!
Win The Summer Country

Win up to 12 copies to share with friends or your book club!

A sweeping epic of lost love, lies, jealousy, and rebellion set in colonial Barbados.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

D T T! Full S A!

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.