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Summary

A haunting, enigmatic novel about a woman who is given a second chance - and isn’t sure whether she really wants it.

Elisa Brown is driving back from her annual, somber visit to her son Silas’s grave when something changes. Actually, everything changes: her body is more voluptuous; she’s wearing different clothes and driving a new car. When she arrives home, her life is familiar - but different. There is her house, her husband. But in the world she now inhabits, Silas is no longer dead, and his brother is disturbingly changed.

Elisa has a new job, and her marriage seems sturdier, and stranger, than she remembers. She finds herself faking her way through a life she is convinced is not her own. Has she had a psychotic break? Or has she entered a parallel universe? Elisa believed that Silas was doomed from the start, but now that he is alive, what can she do to repair her strained relations with her children?

She soon discovers that these questions hinge on being able to see herself as she really is - something that might be impossible for Elisa, or for anyone. In Familiar, J. Robert Lennon continues his profound and exhilarating exploration of the surreal undercurrents of contemporary American life.

©2012 J. Robert Lennon (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

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  • H. Segal
  • 11-07-18

Compelling, Funny and Intriguing

There is a negative review of this audiobook claiming that the author was trying to imitate Stephen King but failed at it. I think this misses the point: King tells a great story and, along the way, touches on important human themes. J. Robert Lennon, like most strong novelists, speaks to human themes while telling the story. What is marvelous about "Familiar" is Lennon's effortless use of popular culture and genres - in this case, a parallel universe sci-fi idea - to explore issues of desire, identity and the nature of consciousness itself. And yet he does this effortlessly through his character Elisa who, discovering that she has inexplicably switched into an alternate life, comes to share with us the way she ultimately makes sense of her choices. She is a wonderful character, one that I will miss, a rare compliment to a work of fiction. And Bahni Turpin's narration is perfect - hearing this book made me want to listen to her read others.

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  • Needles
  • 23-12-16

Disappointing

I think Lennon has been reading a lot of Jonathan Franzen, Lionel Shriver and Stephen King, and then sat down to write this novel. The monotonous and uninteresting characters are very reminiscent of the first two, while the metaphysical premise of the novel is reminiscent of the latter. However in the hands of a good wordsmith like King, this story may have really gone somewhere, but this pallid version simply goes no where. Ultimately boring and mediocre.

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