Going Home Again

Going Home Again After two acclaimed historical novels one of Canada s most celebrated young writers now goes contemporary with the vibrant story of a man taking stock of the shape his life has taken and why and wh

  • Title: Going Home Again
  • Author: Dennis Bock
  • ISBN: 9781400044634
  • Page: 340
  • Format: Hardcover
  • After two acclaimed historical novels, one of Canada s most celebrated young writers now goes contemporary with the vibrant story of a man taking stock of the shape his life has taken, and why, and what as a husband, a father, a brother, and an uncle his responsibilities truly are.Charlie Bellerose leads a semi nomadic existence, traveling widely to manage the language acaAfter two acclaimed historical novels, one of Canada s most celebrated young writers now goes contemporary with the vibrant story of a man taking stock of the shape his life has taken, and why, and what as a husband, a father, a brother, and an uncle his responsibilities truly are.Charlie Bellerose leads a semi nomadic existence, traveling widely to manage the language academies he has established in different countries After separating, somewhat amicably, from his wife, he moves from Madrid back to his native Canada to set up a new school, and for the first time in his life he forges a meaningful relationship with his brother, who s going through a vicious divorce Charlie manages to make a fresh start in Toronto but longs for his twelve year old daughter, whom he sees only via Skype and the occasional overseas visit After a chance encounter with a college girlfriend, he works through a series of memories including a particularly painful one they share as he reflects on how he ended up where he is But two tragic events one long past, the other very much in the present finally force him to reevaluate his priorities and his relationships with everyone around him.

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      Published :2018-04-22T15:14:11+00:00

    1 thought on “Going Home Again”

    1. Dennis Bock's Going Home Again intrigued me by its title, suggesting a topic that I relate to in more ways than one. It also sounded like a very different novel from his earlier ones, The Ash Garden and The Communist's Daughter that are both anchored in a historical context and that I liked very much. Going Home Again then is a contemporary story as much as a timeless private and even intimate story about love and loss, winning and losing, and making choices. The story follows the journey - phys [...]

    2. A lot of possibilities in this book to start and the writing is very good, but the threads don't lead anywhere. The protagonist is kind of a schmuck but not a compelling one. The reasons for Charlie's marital malaise let alone its eventual resolution are never satisfactorily explained and this pattern of promise and disappointment occurs throughout the novel making a tough go at times despite the book's brevity. Potentially interesting characters are introduced but rarely achieve three dimension [...]

    3. Almost 300 pages to say "gosh, choices are HARD!" Selfish, rich, entitled characters in a solipsistic universe, fumbling around in their ennui. Other than some well crafted phrases, could someone tell me why I should care?

    4. I didn't find this novel particularly compelling or eloquent. I felt that this novel had a much more masculine tone to it than the author's previous works, and I felt blocked by that tone as a reader; I just couldn't relate to the "maleness" of these characters.Entitled, wealthy, bored men. Left me thinking, "So what? Poor you."However, as with his previous books, I found Bock's prose easy to consume. Like a bag of chips, once it's opened, you keep eating and eating until they're all gone. You c [...]

    5. Full disclosure: I know the author of this book as he taught a class in creative writing I took several years ago. I thought this novel was very interesting as it deals with what it is like to be a father today from a man's point of view, in this case a father separated from his beloved daughter and painfully estranged from his wife. The main character Charlie, a fortyish fairly successful language school owner, has come back home to Toronto after years of spending his adult life in Spain as his [...]

    6. "I sat in a lounge chair overlooking the Catalan hills and discovered Herman Hesse, whose writing reminded me of the torment of my own soul. He understood. I could practically feel his hand reaching up through the page. If someone else could know and write so well about what I was feeling, I wasn't losing my mind after all."That quote from Dennis Bock's Going Home Again seems in many respects central to the novel. As with the character's impression of Hesse, this book too is about the torment of [...]

    7. This book is a fitting nomination for the pretigious Giller Prize in Canada. I really enjoyed it. It's not a long book, but a lot happens in it. Charlie Bellerose is the main character and this book is his story. It flips from when he was a young college student to present day where he is married with a thirteen year old daughter. Charlie has lead an interesting life. He was born in Canada (Toronto to be exact), and went to university in Montreal. He then travelled the world and ended up settlin [...]

    8. This was the first time I've read Dennis Bock, and on the strength of it I've just ordered 'The Communist's Daughter'. So why only three stars? Well, whilst the novel is full of thoughts and insight and it flows beautifully with a convincing and consistent narrative voice, it isn't without its flaws. Not only does it feature one (maybe even two) of those children peculiar to fiction who are both wise and able to articulate that wisdom in a manner far beyond their years, but in Nate (Charles the [...]

    9. Gripping. Read in one sitting, long into the night, with utter disregard for all other obligations. Beautifully characterized.

    10. I picked this up in a library binding at work so it had very little information about the book on the cover. It mentioned that it was a Giller Prize finalist and I thought that would be good enough. It wasn't. It's a fairly standard literary tale of an almost middle-aged man having a relationship crisis, plus some red herrings and some serious issues with his brother. A big chunk of it is told out of order, but the language also made me feel like I was at one or two removes from the main charact [...]

    11. By the end of the book, I realized you have to give up on things in order to return home. A difficult lesson of life.

    12. I'd rate this 4.5 stars.As the owner of several language academies across the globe, Charlie Bellerose is a successful businessman, and he has the opportunity to travel all over the world. His personal life, however, isn't as successful at the current point. His recent separation from his wife motivated him to leave Madrid, where he has lived for nearly 20 years, and return to his native Toronto, where he plans to set up another school. This leaves him far away from his 12-year-old daughter, Ava [...]

    13. "Trying to go back to some better time," Charlie Bellerose finally tells himself, in this emotionally moving novel about family and love and the meaning of home, "is doomed to failure." Instead, this book seems to say, men and women must be prepared to move forward, despite the strength of the past in shaping them. "Family," says Charlie's Spanish father-in-law, is "a conscious act of will, not a habit you simply fall into and take for granted."The other three novels that have been placed on the [...]

    14. Well, I decided to let this one digest a little before writing my thoughts on it. Bock's novel goes like this:A middle-aged man who runs language schools in Europe has just split from his wife and leaves their home in Madrid to 'go back home' to Toronto to figure his shit out. And to set up another language school in Toronto (lol - like Toronto needs another language school!). This return trip separates him from his beloved daughter who has just reached the tender and important age of 13. The gu [...]

    15. It seemed fitting that on Labour Day I read Dennis Bock’s labour of love, ‘Going Home Again.’ I was instantly swept into the story. It felt as though Charlie was sitting in the chair beside me; how could I not be sympathetic to his trials? He has much to figure out: the breakdown of his marriage; a severed connection with his daughter; a tragic incident from his youth that sparks to life with the appearance of a former lover. In a voice honest and convincing, we are drawn to Charlie for hi [...]

    16. I liked this book a great deal and had a couple of good conversations about it on the weekend with patrons. They were evenly divided - one liked it and one found it hard to read - but we all agreed that the main character was self-centred but interesting. I don't mind an aggravating character and thought that, despite him being a bit egotistical, he was making interesting decisions and showing a lot of growth. It was a wonderful trip through 20 years of this man's life as he returns to his home [...]

    17. I'll admit that I was in two minds about reading Dennis Bock's Going Home Again, which has been shortlisted for this year's Giller Prize. I wanted to read it, because I generally like stories about repatriation; but I also didn't want to read it, because I know Trevor, from The Mookse and The Gripes, didn't like it.Yet, when I opened this book on Saturday afternoon, thinking I'd just read a couple of chapters, I found myself completely absorbed by this tale of two divorced men and their fragile [...]

    18. I have read Dennis Bock's previous works (The Ash Garden, The Communist's Daughter) and found them quite restrained, to the point of being crystallized, so I wasn't quite sure what to expect with this latest venture.I was intrigued by the immediacy of the time and place (Toronto, present day) as opposed to the settings of his last books (China, Hiroshima). The writing style was markedly different as well, more relaxed, less troubled, at least, not with global or historical concerns. It is as if [...]

    19. After two acclaimed historical novels, one of Canada's most celebrated young writers now goes contemporary with the vibrant story of a man taking stock of the shape his life has taken, and why, and what-as a husband, a father, a brother, and an uncle-his responsibilities truly are.Charlie Bellerose leads a semi-nomadic existence, traveling widely to manage the language academies he has established in different countries. After separating, somewhat amicably, from his wife, he moves from Madrid ba [...]

    20. A somewhat depressing account of the ambivalent relations of Charlie Bellerose, who flees Toronto to join his best friend Miles in Montreal at McGill, where Miles, intellectually gifted & socially apt, has a beautiful new girl friend Holly, whom Charlie is smitten by. They spend a lot of time together until Miles dies falling off a footbridge-which turns out later is suicide precipitated by Holly's admission that she loves Charlie. Though they will form a relationship, it will be marred by H [...]

    21. 'Do we fail love or does love fail us?' is a line from Dennis Bock novel Going Home Again. And it is the complexities that surround that question that he builds his poignant novel around. Page 46A lot disappears from your memory in two decades. Things slip and fade and finally vanish. Places you've seen, people you knew, those wild revelations you thought would change your life. Where do they go? But there are things about my student days that I still remember perfectly - a view from a window, h [...]

    22. This was a book I struggled through and it was a book I just didn't care for. The plot of the book never grabbed my attention and I was often bored with the book. The bouncing back from past and present at times, didn't work in this book as well as it should have. I felt like nothing was properly explored and there were almost two different stories going on. I also felt that, I was waiting for the entire book for the actual plot to happen - and I never felt the story really was told straight thr [...]

    23. It must have been a slow year for Giller nominees. Going Home Again reads easily and is mildly interesting as travelogue, criss-crossing the Atlantic between Canada and Europe several times. However, it does this perhaps too many times for the relatively short length of the novel, managing to fit in Toronto, Montreal, Berlin and Madrid, with side-trips to Niagara Falls and Paris in 256 pages. None of the characters are particularly engaging, and their upper-middle class psychodramas are the stuf [...]

    24. Charlie is a successful businessman living in Madrid with his wife and daughter when Isabel informs him shes been having an affair and their marriage is over. In spite of his need to keep his relationship with his 12 year old daughter strong, he heads home to Toronto to start a new branch of his language schools and to escape. To his surprise he is able to find some sort of family with his brother, long estranged and also recently separated, and the nephews he has never met, though it is clear t [...]

    25. In very simple prose Dennis Bock has created an easy read that digs deep into the fractured heart of his main character, Charlie Bellerose. The story travels back and forth in time between a young Charlie and the now middle aged father of a twelve year old daughter who is newly separated from his Spanish wife. The flailing protagonist has an eventful year that has him questioning all of the major relationships in his life, both past and present, and is humbled to realize that "I was in the middl [...]

    26. I hadn't read Dennis Bock's other books, and I didn't know that Going Home Again had been shortlisted for the Giller Prize. I picked this up instead because my parents died young and my brother and I aren't very close. I'm in my 40s, I've been married for a while, and I have kids, so I was interested in Bock's reflective, masculine approach to these sorts of relationships.A lot of Bock's writing is brilliant, especially scenes from the narrator's early years in Spain, but I did have trouble rela [...]

    27. I won this ARC curtesy of first reads program and Harpercollins. I was pleasantly surprised by this novel. I wasn't exactly sure what I was expecting but I always get such a thrill over reading a story that takes place in my fair city. And to boot, I knew each area that Dennis Bock described!Going Home Again was well written, the characters were realistic and developed in a way that wasn't overwhelming. Family is a strange thing. No one family is the same and with Charlie and Nate's relationshi [...]

    28. I started out thinking this was a thriller, a interlude filler. But it proved to have more substance in the long run. Not so much a thriller but an introspective look at relationships within family units. The strongest relationships depicted here are those between fathers and their children, how their provision of unconditional love when threatened can provoke unstoppable passions and longings. The sexual pairings necessary for propagation are dealt with summarily, and the true love is with the [...]

    29. It was good, but there was something missing. All these random things happened in the protagonist Charlie's life, and while there was some effort to tie everything together, it didn't really rise to the level of a compelling story. Perhaps if some of the things had been addressed in greater detail, it would have been a more interesting book. It's like we all have our own personal versions of "the one who got away" or the pain of divorce or losing a parent/friend young or having a strained relati [...]

    30. Conversational Era with Steph from Bella's Bookshelves:"As an American, one of the things I love about watching the literary award cycles in Canada from afar is that I’m constantly introduced to authors that may have never hit my radar screen otherwise. Over the past few years I’ve had the pleasure of being introduced to some great works by authors like Lynn Coady, Esi Edugyan, Dan Vyletta, and Cary Fagan to name a few. Now I can add Dennis Bock to that impressive list. I didn’t read Going [...]

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