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This book made me cry in a coffee shop three times in as many days. A deceptively deep tale of nostalgia and its effects on the human heart, The Gunners tells the story of five thirty-something friends who come back home to Buffalo for the funeral of the alienated sixth member of their group. We watch and revel as these characters dip into their pasts and uncover memories that have laid dormant for so many years. This book is full of lovely words, but it’s also full of silences: of things never said; loves never shared; all of the echoes of childhood and all of the spaces our little ghosts inhabit. I didn’t want to part with this book, but I had to, because we all have to eventually. Nevertheless, I will carry the heart of it with me.
“But what was life if not a long series of scary and outlandish things you did and said and asked of your heart, so you could carry the wild and unreasonable hope that someday someone would hold your face and say, You are perfect. You can rest now. You were always perfect to me. Not because you were even remotely close to perfect, or brave, or strong or even very good, but because you had been very dear friends for a very long time.”— From Claire
Following her wonderfully received first novel, Another Place You've Never Been, called "mesmerizing," "powerful," and "gorgeous," by critics all over the country, Rebecca Kauffman returns with Mikey Callahan, a thirty-year-old who is suffering from the clouded vision of macular degeneration. He struggles to establish human connections--even his emotional life is a blur.
As the novel begins, he is reconnecting with "The Gunners," his group of childhood friends, after one of their members has committed suicide. Sally had distanced herself from all of them before ending her life, and she died harboring secrets about the group and its individuals. Mikey especially needs to confront dark secrets about his own past and his father. How much of this darkness accounts for the emotional stupor Mikey is suffering from as he reaches his maturity? And can The Gunners, prompted by Sally's death, find their way to a new day? The core of this adventure, made by Mikey, Alice, Lynn, Jimmy, and Sam, becomes a search for the core of truth, friendship, and forgiveness.
A quietly startling, beautiful book, The Gunners engages us with vividly unforgettable characters, and advances Rebecca Kauffman's place as one of the most important young writers of her generation.