2024 Reading Challenge

2024 Reading Challenge
Tina has read 0 books toward her goal of 39 books.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

REVIEW for The Retreat

TITLE: The Retreat

AUTHOR: David Bergen

DATE: 2008

RATING: 4 stars

I received this book directly from Random House and Jessica. A big thank you to both!!!

I had not read David Bergen's previous book, The Time in Between, which is a Giller Prize winning book. I traditionally shy away from these types of books as I find them a tad too pretentious for my own taste. However, I thought the storyline for the Retreat sounded so interesting that I would try it.

The book starts out in 1973 in a small town in Ontario called Kenora. Our main character is a young man who, Raymond Seymour, who is dating the cop's daughter - and this is not going over well with the cop or the cop's brother. After a "conversation" between Raymond and the cop's brother, Raymond finds himself dumped on a remote island.

A year later, The Retreat, created by guru Doctor Amos is born. The Retreat is packaged as a savior of souls and a giver of serenity. This is enticing to the Byrd family who have major problems of their own and are looking for an escape. However, Lizzy, the young girl of the family cannot find what she is so desperately searching - enter Raymond. Raymond, once again, has a relationship with a girl who is his complete opposite (at least according to standard customs) and both Raymond and Lizzie will realize just how difficult and unfair life can be.

This novel is extremely dark and brooding - it takes a frank and somewhat disturbing look at the unhappiness in people and how they try to run away - trying to find something or someone who can make them happy. This book also does not shy away from highlighting the prejudice that lays in many of us and was particularly rampant in the 70's.

I realized that the writing is absolutely beautiful. The prose and the progression of the story are joined together effortlessly and the end result is a novel deep with meaning and sensation.

Reading this book made me very sad and impressions of it stayed with me for a very long time.

As I mentioned, this is not my usual type of novel, but I am glad that I made an exception.

A highly recommended read.


Joanne ♦ The Book Zombie said...

Great review, I'm glad you enjoyed this book. I had been interested in whether it would be as powerful emotionally as the synopsis made it seem.

Unknown said...

I'm still on the fence about this one, but what a great cover!

Also - I wanted to let you know that I left you some luv on my blog!


Anonymous said...

I like dark books and books that stick with you when you're done, giving you a lot to think about. This one sounds interesting. Great review!

Amy said...

I love that cover! Sounds good, thanks for the review!

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