more of everything
I have read all of this author's books over the years, and this one finds him definitely at the top of his form. It's a familiar story--the narrator looking back on the people and events that shaped his life--but it's told with economy and sense of proportion that only comes from years of reflection. Small plunges into the action on page one and carries the reader along straight through to a satisfying and thoughtful ending. Not every book can make you smile, make you think, and keep you turning the pages, but this one does. Every reader will recognize their friends and families in his characters--and themselves as well. In terms of both length and style, it is easily his most accessible book, and it would serve as a good introduction to his other works.
This book is a gem. It explores themes of aging and the relationships we forge in the time we have. Like all of Small's novels, it's deep and insightful, rich in characters, with a story of a family that unfolds gradually and rewardingly. Alan, the protagonist, has been through a lot and is getting on in years, but refuses to pack it in. The book is a deep, insightful, sometimes chilling exploration of aging, but never morose or sentimental, and as usual, Small peppers his chapters with beautiful sentences that struck me as masterful but not showy. Highly recommend this one! Check out Almost Famous, Alone, and The River in Winter.
I bought this book as a summer read and boy, was I ever surprised! I could not put this book down! The character development, and the story line of the characters lives was so believable that I felt like I became a part of the story itself. This book is a mixture of real life situations including humor, personal loss, both Good and bad life decisions, tragedy, and above all else a compelling love story between husband and wife. Buy this book. You will not be disappointed!
David Small gives us a wonderful sense of slightly off-beat, but secretly desperate characters and what they say when they talk (or more often don’t) about love--- a rare combination of simplicity of vision and wonderfully vivid, even lyric description. It’s as though John Updike had tilled the fields left fallow by Raymond Carver.
Alone is a heartrending novel of exceptional power and grace.
The extravagant ways in which family members can damage themselves and each other is the theme of this tumultuous and moving novel by David Small.
Alone is a superlative novel, vividly written, elegantly but unobtrusively structured, with an unfailing vein of rueful and sometimes extravagant humor that often intersects with, but never diminishes, the central tragedy.
The River in Winter
I was mesmerized. From the first page it was like gripping the tail of a comet---the book goes with such speed, yet so deeply, into dark places of a man’s life and heart, places I’ve never been, and it greatly moved me. (I think Hemingway would have loved this book.)
Will long resonate in the reader’s conscience.
The River in Winter has the power of a violent fable. This is the death of the heart, American style.
~John Calvin Batchelor
A splendid, compelling, often funny and moving novel that is filled with humanity and a true sense of life.
David Small offers a fully developed view of a complicated and absorbing character, a man deeply flawed but capable of change…. I won’t soon forget Almost Famous.
A new classic.
~Robb Forman Dew
This is a real novel.