Club Selection for April 2016
The Life We Bury
Pages: 303 / Audio: 8 hrs 24 min
College student Joe Talbert has the modest goal of completing a writing assignment for an English class. His task is to interview a stranger and write a brief biography of the person. With deadlines looming, Joe heads to a nearby nursing home to find a willing subject. There he meets Carl Iverson, and soon nothing in Joe's life is ever the same.
Carl is a dying Vietnam veteran--and a convicted murderer. With only a few months to live, he has been medically paroled to a nursing home, after spending thirty years in prison for the crimes of rape and murder.
As Joe writes about Carl's life, especially Carl's valor in Vietnam, he cannot reconcile the heroism of the soldier with the despicable acts of the convict. Joe, along with his skeptical female neighbor, throws himself into uncovering the truth, but he is hamstrung in his efforts by having to deal with his dangerously dysfunctional mother, the guilt of leaving his autistic brother vulnerable, and a haunting childhood memory.
Thread by thread, Joe unravels the tapestry of Carl’s conviction. But as he and Lila dig deeper into the circumstances of the crime, the stakes grow higher. Will Joe discover the truth before it’s too late to escape the fallout?
Novel Gobblers Perspective
This book took me by surprise. I had a general idea of what the story was about and who the author was yet having no preconceived expectations for the book, I came out very impressed! The story is told from Joe's point of view and I admired this character for his perseverance to improve his life while still helping as best he can with his autistic brother and dysfunctional mother. What could be a simple college English assignment ends up changing Joe's life forever. The book reads at a good pace and while I felt some parts were predictable, the suspense and mystery held my attention enough that I was always eager to get back to reading it. There are many beautifully written descriptions and as Allen Eskens is a fairly new author, I look forward to following him and seeing his skills develop even more. The last paragraph of the book is beautiful and powerful and left me with the strong reminder that we all touch each other lives in different ways, some more profound than others, and it our decision whether or not we allow those experiences to become part of us.
About the Author