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Sweeter Life

Ratings:
448 pages9 hours

Summary

Tim Wynveen, winner of the Commonwealth Writers Best First Book prize, has outdone himself with his new novel, masterfully weaving themes of creativity, memory, time, loss and reconnection into the fragmented lives of the Owen family

Ten years after their parents die in a car accident, Cyrus, Isabel and Hank Owen are still trying to put their lives in order. Hank, the eldest, is in prison. The second-born, Isabel, is on the verge of divorce. Cyrus, the youngest in the family, is consumed by a crazy dream -- to one day become a rock star. Three siblings; three solitary figures looking for a way forward; three separate melodic lines that, when they meet, cause more dissonance than harmony.

As the story begins, Cyrus quits school and hits the road with the Jimmy Waters Revival, a curious entertainment that combines the southern fire of a Jimmy Swaggart with the oral narratives of a modern-day Homer. Even within his adopted musical family, Cyrus struggles to find his way, too caught up in his dream to see his life for what it really is, and after twelve years of wandering, he returns home a broken man.

Yet his time on the road has taught him how important it is to strike a balance between individual and group, soloist and ensemble -- lessons that will serve Cyrus well when he tries to make a new start with Hank and Isabel. As he pays more attention to the needs of his fractured family and old friends, he begins to create for the first time in his life the sweet and elusive music of human connection.

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