The Hour I First Believed – Wally Lamb

Amazon Synopsis
From the author of the international number one bestseller I Know This Much is True comes a magnificent novel which explores the consequence of violent events, and the chaos that ensues, for human lives blown irrevocably of course Caelum Quirk and his wife Maureen move to Colorado and find jobs at Columbine High School. One day in April 1999, when Caelum is called away by a family emergency, Maureen cowers in a cupboard in the school library, hiding from two students on a murderous rampage. Though miraculously she survives, Maureen cannot recover from the trauma. Seeking solace, the couple returns to Connecticut to an illusion of safety on the Quirk family farm. As Maureen fights to regain her sanity, Caelum discovers a cache of forgotten memorabilia spanning five generations of his family. As he painstakingly reconstructs the lives of his ancestors, he must confront their secrets and fashion a future from the ashes of his own tragedy. His personal quest for meaning becomes a mythic journey that is both contemporary and quintessentially American.

My Thoughts

This is the first book of Lamb’s that I’ve read and I was gripped from the very beginning. I’ll definitely be looking out for more by him. I loved the way he mixed fiction with non-fiction, without trivialising the awful events that took place during the high school massacre. He explores so many topics; war, slavery, spiritualism and family history, yet it all melds together into a compelling journey of one family and their struggle to make sense of this world and their lives. The massacre does form the main basis of this novel, but it’s so much more too. We hear about the effects it has on everyone involved, even those who seem to have been on the sidelines of the tragedy. I found this book to be heartbreaking; it made me laugh, cry and cringe in horror, yet Lamb still managed to maintain a sense of hope for our futures.  The message is that we must work together to prevent tragedies like this happening again. In fact, at the back of Lamb’s book are links to several charities that are working towards these very aims.

Categories: Reviews | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “The Hour I First Believed – Wally Lamb

  1. I absolutely love Wally Lamb’s writing! I can’t wait to get my hands on this book – thanks for the sneak peek with your review.

  2. Kehs

    I can’t believe this author has escaped my attention before now. Am I right in thinking he has 2 others out already?

  3. I’m looking forward to reading this one. I read “She’s Come Undone” years ago and liked it a lot.

    Kehs: In addition to “She’s Come Undone,” he wrote “I Know This Much Is True.”

    Lamb used to teach at a high school a town or two away from where I grew up. Don’t know if he’s still there or not.

  4. Kehs

    Anna, Lamb was a volunteer teacher at a women’s maximum security prison when he wrote The Hour I First Believed. I’m not sure if he’s still there.

  5. Carmela

    I can’t wait to read this book! I read I Know This Much is True and loved it! Thanks for the review; it helped me decide to pre-order the book.

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