"A riveting portrayal of the joys and mysteries of growing up, and of friendship itself." —People
Mikey Callahan, a thirty-year-old who is suffering from the clouded vision of macular degeneration, struggles to establish human connections—even his emotional life is a blur. As the novel begins, he is reuniting with "The Gunners," his group of childhood friends, after one of them has committed suicide. Sally had distanced herself before ending her life, and she died harboring secrets about herself and her friends. In this quietly startling, beautiful book, Mikey, Alice, Lynn, Jimmy, and Sam search for the core of truth, friendship, and forgiveness.
"Kauffman has done something remarkable with The Gunners." —The New York Times Book Review
"A moving novel . . . Like an intimate hangout session, dashed with suspense and a few extra layers of emotional beauty." —Entertainment Weekly
Kauffman's perceptive, funny, and endearing novel (after Another Place You've Never Been) is set against the backdrop of a funeral in snowy Lackawanna, a depressed suburb of Buffalo, N.Y. The seemingly light (but deceptively profound) story follows a once close-knit group of six friends as they navigate the stresses of adulthood while grappling with long-held secrets from the past. Called "The Gunners" after the name on the mailbox of the abandoned house they hung out in as kids 30-year-old Mikey, Lynn, Alice, Sam, and Jimmy reunite for the first time since high school to pay their respects to their sixth member, Sally, who committed suicide. As with any coming-to-terms-with-past-decisions-and-getting-older exercise, the friends reminisce about old times and share their triumphant successes and embarrassing failures. Despite the well-trod premise, Kauffman's prose never veers into campy territory. The admissions of her characters provide deep insight into their individual personalities, and also into human vulnerability more broadly. These include Mikey's fear surrounding his waning eyesight and conflicted sadness about his strained relationship with his father; Sam's intense shame about a defining moment he had with Sally long ago; and Alice's outlandish behavior that masks an entrenched inner turmoil. Reminiscent of The Big Chill and St. Elmo's Fire, this remarkable novel is just as satisfying and provides readers with an entire cast of characters who will feel like old friends upon finishing.
Customer ReviewsSee All
I finished this book but it was painful. It tried to use the premise of the Big Chill but failed enormously. I’m sorry I paid so much for a terrible read. I didn’t give it just one star since I did finish it.