My Review:Achieving bold emotional complexity, The Gunners explores just how much one moment, one decision, or one person can change us
Following on 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.
Gosh, this was depressing. Seriously depressing. There wasn't a single bright note. Not that being dark and depressing is bad but it certainly didn't help my opinion of this book. I don't have too many qualms about the writing but I can't say this book was either enjoyable or transcendent. I was hoping this would be more like The Secret History, to which it was compared, but it wasn't. It was unique and startling but I can't say I would ever read it again.
Alice, Lynn, Mikey and Sam listened to the music and didn't speak for a few minutes. It was completely dark outside now, and darkish in the room, which was lit only by a few hanging lamps that gave off a soft, golden light. Fresh snowfall was illuminated against the wall of windows. The fire on the far side of the room crackled and hissed.