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With his stunning debut novel, She's Come Undone, Wally Lamb won the adulation of critics and readers with his mesmerizing tale of one woman's painful yet triumphant journey of self-discovery. Now, this brilliantly talented writer returns with I Know This Much Is True, a heartbreaking and poignant multigenerational saga of the reproductive bonds of destruction and the powerful force of forgiveness. A masterpiece that breathtakingly tells a story of alienation and connection, power and abuse, devastation and renewal—this novel is a contemporary retelling of an ancient Hindu myth. A proud king must confront his demons to achieve salvation. Change yourself, the myth instructs, and you will inhabit a renovated world.

Topics: Mental Illness, Schizophrenia, Twins, New York City, Family, Death, Siblings, Abuse, Suicide, Love, Psychological, Brothers, Paranoia, 20th Century, Emotional, Connecticut, 1990s, Sons, Panoramic, Heartbreaking, and Guilt

Published: HarperCollins on Mar 17, 2009
ISBN: 9780061745799
List price: $8.99
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I LOVED this book. I have a fascination with mental disorders and this takes you inside the life of the "sane" one and how he deals with his brother. It's a long book, but so worth it.read more
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This is one of those books that is a book with a capital "B". This has two stories going at the same time, wonderful writing, great characters..... it's just got it all. I was actually glad that this book was so long because I enjoyed every page of this one.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I don't know what I can say about this book that will make you go and read it NOW. I wish you would just go and read it because I said so, but that's not how these things work. So I'll start by stating boldly that I haven't read anything this good in a very long time. Although I'm not sure it's the best way to go with this one, let me lay out the plot for you a bit. [I Know This Much Is True] is essentially the story of two brothers: Dominick - our protagonist and narrator - and Thomas, his schizophrenic identical twin. They do not know who their real father is and their stepfather is...well...let's just say he's not a role model. Their family history is a big mystery. And their lives are pretty much as f***ed up as they can get. Sounds like a big cliché? If only all books were such stunning and heartbreaking clichés. Like all amazing works of literature, [I Know This Much Is True] contains little glimpses of life itself, scattered all over the place. Reading the words on every page feels a bit like sucking on your favorite lollipop - you just have to stop every now and then, the better to savour its taste. Me, I had to pause a bit after each paragraph. As soon as I started it I knew it would be one of those books...the ones you're sad to say goodbye to, the ones you want to keep reading forever. The storytelling is fantastic, nothing overdone, but nothing understated either. The plot is compelling and believable, the conclusion is realistic yet extremely touching, and the characters simply steal your heart. Not one person feels secondary in this book; everyone has a role, everyone has a story, there are no peripheral "flat" characters that are just there to fill a void. The book manages to discuss and explore religion, racism, identity, education, politics, war, parentage, jealousy, immigration, history, and pretty much everything in between. Also, bonus points go to the writer for the effort he has put into researching the issues that the book explores: Lamb has evidently done his homework on schizophrenia, on twin brothers. on the Italian immigration to America, on psychoanalysis, on the history and geography of the area where he places his characters and weaves his story. Like many reviewers of this book have done before me, I urge you not to be put off by its size. Believe me, as soon as you start reading it, you will want it to be long. There are about 5 novels that can brag about having made me cry. This is one of them. Opening sentence: "On the afternoon of October 12, 1990, my twin brother Thomas entered the Three Rivers, Connecticut Public Library, retreated to one of the rear study carrels, and prayed to God the sacrifice he was about to commit would be deemed acceptable."read more
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I LOVED this book. I have a fascination with mental disorders and this takes you inside the life of the "sane" one and how he deals with his brother. It's a long book, but so worth it.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This is one of those books that is a book with a capital "B". This has two stories going at the same time, wonderful writing, great characters..... it's just got it all. I was actually glad that this book was so long because I enjoyed every page of this one.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I don't know what I can say about this book that will make you go and read it NOW. I wish you would just go and read it because I said so, but that's not how these things work. So I'll start by stating boldly that I haven't read anything this good in a very long time. Although I'm not sure it's the best way to go with this one, let me lay out the plot for you a bit. [I Know This Much Is True] is essentially the story of two brothers: Dominick - our protagonist and narrator - and Thomas, his schizophrenic identical twin. They do not know who their real father is and their stepfather is...well...let's just say he's not a role model. Their family history is a big mystery. And their lives are pretty much as f***ed up as they can get. Sounds like a big cliché? If only all books were such stunning and heartbreaking clichés. Like all amazing works of literature, [I Know This Much Is True] contains little glimpses of life itself, scattered all over the place. Reading the words on every page feels a bit like sucking on your favorite lollipop - you just have to stop every now and then, the better to savour its taste. Me, I had to pause a bit after each paragraph. As soon as I started it I knew it would be one of those books...the ones you're sad to say goodbye to, the ones you want to keep reading forever. The storytelling is fantastic, nothing overdone, but nothing understated either. The plot is compelling and believable, the conclusion is realistic yet extremely touching, and the characters simply steal your heart. Not one person feels secondary in this book; everyone has a role, everyone has a story, there are no peripheral "flat" characters that are just there to fill a void. The book manages to discuss and explore religion, racism, identity, education, politics, war, parentage, jealousy, immigration, history, and pretty much everything in between. Also, bonus points go to the writer for the effort he has put into researching the issues that the book explores: Lamb has evidently done his homework on schizophrenia, on twin brothers. on the Italian immigration to America, on psychoanalysis, on the history and geography of the area where he places his characters and weaves his story. Like many reviewers of this book have done before me, I urge you not to be put off by its size. Believe me, as soon as you start reading it, you will want it to be long. There are about 5 novels that can brag about having made me cry. This is one of them. Opening sentence: "On the afternoon of October 12, 1990, my twin brother Thomas entered the Three Rivers, Connecticut Public Library, retreated to one of the rear study carrels, and prayed to God the sacrifice he was about to commit would be deemed acceptable."
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This is a large, wordy but very comprehensive and involved book telling the story of Dominick, an identical twin, struggling to cope with his brother's schizophrenia. There are some wonderful and original characters here, who grow and unravel as the story progresses and we learn more of their shared history. Dominick, in particular, is a protagonist and narrator who is just as easy to hate as to love. The feeling of resolution at the end of the novel, together with the circular nature of the twins' family history were particular highlights that go towards making this such a marvellous read.
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Story of relationships and loss and the psychological impact of those interactions. well written.
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Wally Lamb’s I Know this Much is True brings to my mind AbrahamVerghese’s Cutting for Stone for two reasons. The first is both novels are about identical twins with absent fathers. As in Cutting for Stone, Lamb’s brothers experience the strong connection of being two parts of one whole, for better or for worse. The second resemblance is the fact that it’s an absolutely compelling read. Both books kept me up late at night reading; as soon as I woke up I was eager to pick up where I had left off.I Know this Much is True fluctuates between past and present. It is narrated by Dominick, forty, recently divorced, angry, and overburdened with caring for his schizophrenic twin, Thomas. His life is a mess and throughout the book he tries to come to terms with both his past and present. His childhood is dominated by an abusive stepfather, a weak, fearful mother, and a brother who is the constant victim of bullies both young and old. Dominick spends his childhood alternately despising and rescuing his twin. Jealous of his mother’s closeness to Thomas, he often finds himself teamed with his hated step-father, guiltily inflicting pain on both his brother and his mother. Thrown into the mix is the diary of his maternal grandfather, an arrogant and cruel man.Peopled with believable, well developed characters, the novel has imagery that repeats throughout the book: rabbits, monkeys, maimed limbs, and of course, twins. It addresses wider themes as well: anger, racism, survival of the fittest and facing the past to enable personal renewal and redemption. My only complaint about the book is that it ended just a little too neatly, with all issues explained and resolved. Still, I have to give this book 5 stars – it was a fabulous read.
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