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A Bench by Memory Lake

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An engaging and intelligent woman seeking to end her unsatisfying marriage to a U.S. congressman, an acclaimed sports writer facing a major professional crisis, and an effervescent and quick-witted major-league ball-player’s wife dealing with a predominant fear of her own find comfort and resolution of their personal problems, which touches the heart, titillates the funny An engaging and intelligent woman seeking to end her unsatisfying marriage to a U.S. congressman, an acclaimed sports writer facing a major professional crisis, and an effervescent and quick-witted major-league ball-player’s wife dealing with a predominant fear of her own find comfort and resolution of their personal problems, which touches the heart, titillates the funny bone, and reflects on the debilitating effects of guilt and the need for personal freedom. The three characters are united not only by their friendship and budding affection but also by an emotional connection to a body of water located just outside of Minneapolis.


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An engaging and intelligent woman seeking to end her unsatisfying marriage to a U.S. congressman, an acclaimed sports writer facing a major professional crisis, and an effervescent and quick-witted major-league ball-player’s wife dealing with a predominant fear of her own find comfort and resolution of their personal problems, which touches the heart, titillates the funny An engaging and intelligent woman seeking to end her unsatisfying marriage to a U.S. congressman, an acclaimed sports writer facing a major professional crisis, and an effervescent and quick-witted major-league ball-player’s wife dealing with a predominant fear of her own find comfort and resolution of their personal problems, which touches the heart, titillates the funny bone, and reflects on the debilitating effects of guilt and the need for personal freedom. The three characters are united not only by their friendship and budding affection but also by an emotional connection to a body of water located just outside of Minneapolis.

41 review for A Bench by Memory Lake

  1. 5 out of 5

    Michael Hartnett

    Tranquil Pleasures A Bench by Memory Lake by John Vance is paradoxically pleasant and thought-provoking. Vance achieves the rare feat of presenting characters who are both innately good and inherently fascinating. While each of the three main characters confronts a life-changing crisis, the novel pulses with a sensibility that these good people will end up taking the right path forward. Lively, bawdy, mercurial Jenny Montgomery propels A Bench by Memory Lake alternately forward and sideways. Je Tranquil Pleasures A Bench by Memory Lake by John Vance is paradoxically pleasant and thought-provoking. Vance achieves the rare feat of presenting characters who are both innately good and inherently fascinating. While each of the three main characters confronts a life-changing crisis, the novel pulses with a sensibility that these good people will end up taking the right path forward. Lively, bawdy, mercurial Jenny Montgomery propels A Bench by Memory Lake alternately forward and sideways. Jenny’s subversive playfulness raises to the surface the introspections of her best friend, Livy Garner, and it provides healthy sparring for her good buddy Nick Lockhart, an acclaimed sportswriter whose preoccupations threaten to overwhelm him. A fourth main character emerges in Memory Lake itself, serving as a source of solace for the anxious Jenny, the nostalgic Nick, and the vulnerable Livy. The trio’s regular returns to the lake allow them through a series of intimate discussions to come to terms with decisions from the past that tincture their present actions. While Livy struggles with how to break free from her controlling husband (an ambitious California congressman), Nick must confront an impending scandal through the prism of a shameful distant memory. Even the acerbic and seemingly indomitable Jenny is shaken by the eroding skills of her husband Davis, the star pitcher of the Minnesota Twins. Vance’s expert plotting is punctuated by fine writing whether it’s in the understated musings of Livy (“She already evaluated most of her husband’s habits and priorities and found them sorely lacking”) or in the steady barrage of witticisms from sly Jenny (“I’ll leave the key to the lake for you under the bench”). Jenny elevates the novel with outrageous humor, even as the reactions and responses from Nick and Livy serve as wry, clever counterweights. A Bench by Memory Lake is a charming, generous novel that is satisfying and enjoyable throughout. I could spend many more hours with Jenny, Livy, and Nick, hanging around the lake, which, like the novel itself, is simultaneously soothing and stimulating.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Therobertstribe

    This book was ok, but I found the two female characters totally unbelievable, especially in their interactions with each other. The relationship between them didn't resemble any type of female friendship I have ever come across, and their was something stilted and unreal about the way they spoke to each other that didn't reflect the closeness that they were meant to have. This book was ok, but I found the two female characters totally unbelievable, especially in their interactions with each other. The relationship between them didn't resemble any type of female friendship I have ever come across, and their was something stilted and unreal about the way they spoke to each other that didn't reflect the closeness that they were meant to have.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Terri McClean

    I wanted to go sit on a bench by the water. It's not a bad book, but it's not a good book. I'm not sure where the author got his interpretation of female friendship, but honestly a lot of friends can talk to each other without getting drunk each and every day. I found that a bit distracting. I wanted to go sit on a bench by the water. It's not a bad book, but it's not a good book. I'm not sure where the author got his interpretation of female friendship, but honestly a lot of friends can talk to each other without getting drunk each and every day. I found that a bit distracting.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Davis

  5. 4 out of 5

    Carole Keys

  6. 4 out of 5

    Shelley DeFrancisco

  7. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

  8. 4 out of 5

    Maggie

  9. 4 out of 5

    Paula

  10. 4 out of 5

    Margaret

  11. 5 out of 5

    Marina

  12. 4 out of 5

    Julie Cobham

  13. 4 out of 5

    sarah atkins

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jo Ann C. Smith

  15. 5 out of 5

    Donalda Fullerton

  16. 4 out of 5

    Art Harrison

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ellen Elmore

  18. 4 out of 5

    Wendy Thurlborn

  19. 4 out of 5

    Maggie Magnusson

  20. 5 out of 5

    SOM

  21. 5 out of 5

    Gloria

  22. 4 out of 5

    Carol Willier

  23. 5 out of 5

    D Dyer

  24. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

  25. 4 out of 5

    janene

  26. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

  27. 4 out of 5

    Topher Colin

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jill Cohen

  29. 5 out of 5

    The Celtic Rebel (Richard)

  30. 4 out of 5

    Rhonda G Ryan

  31. 4 out of 5

    Rosemary Hughes

  32. 5 out of 5

    Zee

  33. 5 out of 5

    Bill D Smithhart

  34. 5 out of 5

    Judith Malecot

  35. 5 out of 5

    Amy Linquist

  36. 4 out of 5

    paul.pace42att.net

  37. 4 out of 5

    Carol Selassie

  38. 5 out of 5

    Jan Smith

  39. 5 out of 5

    Marg Ross

  40. 4 out of 5

    Joann Hamilton

  41. 4 out of 5

    Shashi

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