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Max Lakeman and the Beautiful Stranger

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Max Lakeman is head-over-heels in love with his wife, enchanted by his two children, happy with his job mowing lawns. Unshakably content. Or is he? One warm summer night, Max’s overactive imagination conjures up a beautiful woman, Mrs. Zeno, who steps out of the moonlit rhododendrons and into his life. Max is certain that Mrs. Zeno is imaginary until she manages to seduce Max Lakeman is head-over-heels in love with his wife, enchanted by his two children, happy with his job mowing lawns. Unshakably content. Or is he? One warm summer night, Max’s overactive imagination conjures up a beautiful woman, Mrs. Zeno, who steps out of the moonlit rhododendrons and into his life. Max is certain that Mrs. Zeno is imaginary until she manages to seduce him into a passionate affair, blurring the lines between fantasy and reality, between wanting and having. Max Lakeman and the Beautiful Stranger brings rich attention to the emotional life of an ordinary man with remarkable insight into the longings of the human heart.


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Max Lakeman is head-over-heels in love with his wife, enchanted by his two children, happy with his job mowing lawns. Unshakably content. Or is he? One warm summer night, Max’s overactive imagination conjures up a beautiful woman, Mrs. Zeno, who steps out of the moonlit rhododendrons and into his life. Max is certain that Mrs. Zeno is imaginary until she manages to seduce Max Lakeman is head-over-heels in love with his wife, enchanted by his two children, happy with his job mowing lawns. Unshakably content. Or is he? One warm summer night, Max’s overactive imagination conjures up a beautiful woman, Mrs. Zeno, who steps out of the moonlit rhododendrons and into his life. Max is certain that Mrs. Zeno is imaginary until she manages to seduce him into a passionate affair, blurring the lines between fantasy and reality, between wanting and having. Max Lakeman and the Beautiful Stranger brings rich attention to the emotional life of an ordinary man with remarkable insight into the longings of the human heart.

30 review for Max Lakeman and the Beautiful Stranger

  1. 4 out of 5

    Bren

    “Max was a lover of dogs the way some men are indiscriminate lovers of women. Nothing turned his head more quickly than a dog trotting down the street or cutting through a backyard. Dogs could do no wrong; no amount of garbaging, rug pissing, or flea infestation could alter the course of Max’s true love.” ― Jon Cohen, Max Lakeman and the Beautiful Stranger My review: Imagination is a powerful thing. Are you a dreamer? Do you spend much time in your head? Do you imagine other worlds, have imaginary c “Max was a lover of dogs the way some men are indiscriminate lovers of women. Nothing turned his head more quickly than a dog trotting down the street or cutting through a backyard. Dogs could do no wrong; no amount of garbaging, rug pissing, or flea infestation could alter the course of Max’s true love.” ― Jon Cohen, Max Lakeman and the Beautiful Stranger My review: Imagination is a powerful thing. Are you a dreamer? Do you spend much time in your head? Do you imagine other worlds, have imaginary conversations in your heads with people? Do you yearn? If so..this enchanting little book maybe for you. I do not really want to say to much about the plot. I went in knowing little, which is a good idea. This book is about what is mentioned above. Imagination. memory . Love, fantasy. magic, other worlds in which exists things nobody except the dreamer would think about. And it all manifests itself in Max. Max is a quirky, fun, off beat lawn care specialist. Lawn care...not a job all people would love but Max loves it. With passion. And he loves his dog Bilky. His wife, Nellie. His kids. His best buddy. Yes..Max is a good man. And Max loves. But Max is one of those people..you know the type. The ones who are always in their head. The type who see the world and what's in it, just a tad bit differently. I am one of those people. I bet many of you are. Readers in general tend to have that aspect to them. Max lives in two realities. The real world and his imaginary one, filled with luminous ponderings, conversations with John F Kennedy and many moments where he spaces out, lost in day dreams. But what happens when imagination coincides with reality? Max has never cheated on Nellie. NEVER! They have a great marriage. Until the beautiful stranger comes along. She glides out from the Rose Bushes. She billows out from the sea. Who..who..is this exquisite, mysterious and stunning stranger and what does she want with Max? I am stopping here. The book is odd..like Max. It is also lovely and ethereal. And there is a Whimsical quality about this book. It is pretty short (although longer than a Novella) but the characters are etched in humility and are so exquisitely drawn. And we love Max. And Bilco. And Nellie. It is amazing how this book has such a timeless feel. It felt like it could have been written last year..or one hundred years ago. Of coarse there is more going on besides the Beautiful stranger. And trigger warning: Max's wife is a nurse and her days are described so there will be scenes in hospitals with patients who do not survive. I myself skimmed those scenes. They are not for everybody and I am one they were not for. You can still read the book as these scenes do not dominate and can be skimmed over. Now I must warn of spoilers as I want to discuss the end. Before I do so, let me have the honor of recommending this enthralling little book that is packed full of sparkling words and atmosphere, and filled with love and dreaming and simple beauty. I think many may love this. END SPOILERS: The end has been discussed. My opinion is..we are not meant to know. More on that in a minute. My first thought was that she was Aphrodite. If you are familiar with Mythology, you know Aphrodite, rose from the sea. That scene in MLATBS reminded me of the stories of Aphrodite. But I am not so sure. I also started shifting my opinion feeling that she was a lovely siren whom Max summoned with his mind. Or she was simply a product of Max's very active imagination. Was she real? I believe so. To many people saw her. Unless this was one long dream (and I am not ruling out that possibility) she would have had to exist. Or maybe not. LOL. There is so much about the world we do not know. I think it comes down to what the doctor told Nellie: there are things and people in other worlds we cannot begin to imagine. But Max can. Maybe we are not meant to know what happened. Because there is so much about the Universe we cannot and do not understand. So, to sum up..a strangely beautiful and beguiling book that is most definitely different. I will not forget Max, Nellie and Bilco anytime soon.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lynette Lark

    This is a very interesting book. It's about a man who is content with his life and whose life is so mundane that, like all of us, he is compelled to daydream. I can relate. When I have a repetitive chore, I sometimes zone out. I am a professional daydreamer and I'm okay with that, but sometimes, my daydreams produce results--not always bad. It's almost like you dream something into existence, and that is what is happening to Max Lakeman. He daydreams a beautiful, sensual woman right into existen This is a very interesting book. It's about a man who is content with his life and whose life is so mundane that, like all of us, he is compelled to daydream. I can relate. When I have a repetitive chore, I sometimes zone out. I am a professional daydreamer and I'm okay with that, but sometimes, my daydreams produce results--not always bad. It's almost like you dream something into existence, and that is what is happening to Max Lakeman. He daydreams a beautiful, sensual woman right into existence and he has a relationship with her, but she has a husband just like Max has a wife who tries desperately to reconnect him to reality before his unreality takes him into a danger zone of no return. The book starts out slow but picks up rapidly so that you cannot turn away, and you must follow this to its completion.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    This is a lovely morality tale, mixed with a little fantasy, about the sacredness of marriage and the power of forgiveness. This is my third Cohen book, and I have enjoyed every single one.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Leslie Andersen

    I was hoping this would be as enjoyable a read as the other Cohen book I just read (The Man in the Window)...but unfortunately, all the sex, marital infidelity, and bad language spoiled it for me. It was a different kind of story, with quirky, interesting characters; too bad writers don't realize the immoral stuff isn't necessary. I was hoping this would be as enjoyable a read as the other Cohen book I just read (The Man in the Window)...but unfortunately, all the sex, marital infidelity, and bad language spoiled it for me. It was a different kind of story, with quirky, interesting characters; too bad writers don't realize the immoral stuff isn't necessary.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Diana Nielsen

    A surprising, lovely read. I really was smitten by this book. I had absolutely no idea where it was going. Loved the ending. It made me smile.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Amira Abdellatif

    A lovely read, normal morphing into gentle romantic fantasy.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kathy jenkins

    Where did this come from? My second book by this author. The first one, Harry’s Trees, was delightful. This one is like watching a horrific traffic accident and not being able to look away. I’m convinced the author has ADD and used a lot of cocaine when he wrote this story. Taken metaphorically, the married couple experiences a near-fatal blow. Will they survive? Will their friendships grow past middle school? Part make-believe, part letter to Hustler, this story is a train wreck of family secret Where did this come from? My second book by this author. The first one, Harry’s Trees, was delightful. This one is like watching a horrific traffic accident and not being able to look away. I’m convinced the author has ADD and used a lot of cocaine when he wrote this story. Taken metaphorically, the married couple experiences a near-fatal blow. Will they survive? Will their friendships grow past middle school? Part make-believe, part letter to Hustler, this story is a train wreck of family secrets.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lydia Lewis

    Even though he has written one of my favorite books, this one was not a fave. This just didn't make any sense to me. Maybe, maybe, if there hadn't been a Mr. Zeno, but this was just too.........too. Even though he has written one of my favorite books, this one was not a fave. This just didn't make any sense to me. Maybe, maybe, if there hadn't been a Mr. Zeno, but this was just too.........too.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    Horrible. I finished this thinking and hoping something would happen that would tie things together so that this story made sense. That something never came. UGH!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    I loved the magical realism is Harry’s Trees. I did not like it in the book.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Tom Leland

    This was written well before the author co-wrote the screenplay for The Minority Report. This isn't masterful writing - and in places it's just too pat. But there are themes many of us can relate to, about marriage, suburbia, fidelity, finding the balance between self-gratification and making a family work. The story would've worked just as well without the fantastical aspect -- but it wasn't so distracting that I couldn't easily just let it be. This was written well before the author co-wrote the screenplay for The Minority Report. This isn't masterful writing - and in places it's just too pat. But there are themes many of us can relate to, about marriage, suburbia, fidelity, finding the balance between self-gratification and making a family work. The story would've worked just as well without the fantastical aspect -- but it wasn't so distracting that I couldn't easily just let it be.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    Strange Is Max insane? Is this a story of a man on the edge of a mental break down or even suicide? How come Nelly and others can see and interact with the Zeno's? A bizarre story that makes you want to keep reading if only to see what bizarre things happen next. Strange Is Max insane? Is this a story of a man on the edge of a mental break down or even suicide? How come Nelly and others can see and interact with the Zeno's? A bizarre story that makes you want to keep reading if only to see what bizarre things happen next.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Annette Reynolds

    I bought this book when it first came out and remember just loving it. Seeing it again makes me want to reread it, and reading the sample of his other book makes me think I won't be wasting my time. And that I'll love it just as much now as I did then. I bought this book when it first came out and remember just loving it. Seeing it again makes me want to reread it, and reading the sample of his other book makes me think I won't be wasting my time. And that I'll love it just as much now as I did then.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sheila Buska

  15. 5 out of 5

    Geri Hand

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lydia Cox

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lynn Geth

  18. 5 out of 5

    Donna Ross

  19. 4 out of 5

    Donna Ziegler

  20. 4 out of 5

    Elle

  21. 4 out of 5

    Melki

  22. 5 out of 5

    Worleygrl

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sheila

  24. 4 out of 5

    June

  25. 5 out of 5

    Esther

  26. 5 out of 5

    Robin

  27. 5 out of 5

    nancy hawkins

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lawrence

  29. 5 out of 5

    Catherine

  30. 4 out of 5

    Alex

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