BKMT READING GUIDES

Songs Without Words
by Ann Packer

Published: 2007-09-04
Hardcover : 352 pages
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Ann Packer’s debut novel, The Dive from Clausen’s Pier, was a nationwide best seller that established her as one of our most gifted chroniclers of the interior lives of women. Now, in her long-awaited second novel, she takes us on a journey into a lifelong friendship pushed to the ...
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Introduction

Ann Packer’s debut novel, The Dive from Clausen’s Pier, was a nationwide best seller that established her as one of our most gifted chroniclers of the interior lives of women. Now, in her long-awaited second novel, she takes us on a journey into a lifelong friendship pushed to the breaking point. Expertly, with the keen introspection and psychological nuance that are her hallmarks, she explores what happens when there are inequities between friends and when the hard-won balances of a long relationship are disturbed, perhaps irreparably, by a harrowing crisis.

Liz and Sarabeth were childhood neighbors in the suburbs of northern California, brought as close as sisters by the suicide of Sarabeth’s mother when the girls were just sixteen. In the decades that followed—through Liz’s marriage and the birth of her children, through Sarabeth’s attempts to make a happy life for herself despite the shadow cast by her mother’s act—their relationship remained a source of continuity and strength. But when Liz’s adolescent daughter enters dangerous waters that threaten to engulf the family, the fault lines in the women’s friendship are revealed, and both Liz and Sarabeth are forced to reexamine their most deeply held beliefs about their connection. Songs Without Words is about the sometimes confining roles we take on in our closest relationships, about the familial myths that shape us both as children and as parents, and about the limits—and the power—of the friendships we create when we are young.

Once again, Ann Packer has written a novel of singular force and complexity: thoughtful, moving, and absolutely gripping, it more than confirms her prodigious literary gifts.

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Member Reviews

Overall rating:
 
 
  "This book was a let down."by ROSA1979 (see profile) 11/25/08

I felt like the author could have taken this book so many places but it just never happened. Very disappointing.

 
  "A novel about friendship and suicide and depression and how different people deal with these issues."by goodread (see profile) 05/16/08

Ann Packer's novel is very realistic and deals with a very tough subject. It is not a real uplifting story, but it does have a hopeful ending. It did lead to a great discussion - one that needed little... (read more)

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