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The Worst Thing I've Done: A Novel

by Ursula Hegi
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Product Details

  • Publisher: Touchstone
  • Publishing date: 02/10/2007
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 9781416543756
  • ISBN: 1416543759

Synopsis

-- ask me, Annie. Ask me what's the worst thing I've done. Ask, goddammit. Because then you'll know I'll never go beyond last night.

Tonight, Annie is driving alone from North Sea to Montauk and back again, as she has every night since her husband, Mason, challenged what she believed about herself and about their marriage. Eating junk food and listening to talk radio, Annie tries to shut out her rage, her pain, but Mason's voice persists within her, as urgent as the voices of the anonymous callers who confess their misery to the radio psychologists.

Once again, Ursula Hegi writes along that border where bliss and sorrow meet. Sensuous, funny, and mysterious, her new novel takes us into an exuberant and troubled friendship. Since early childhood, Annie, Jake, and Mason have had a special bond. When Annie's parents die on the same night that she and Mason are married, the three friends decide to raise Annie's newborn sister, Opal, together.

Annie struggles to be both a sister and a mother to Opal, a wife to Mason, and a friend to Jake. Not surprisingly, their relationships, already entangled, grow dangerous, too close, on the line. One fateful night the three friends miss the moment when they could still turn back, and they goad each other to step across the line, with shocking, unforeseen consequences.

Set on the East End of Long Island, The Worst Thing I've Done is an incandescent story of love, friendship, and marriage; of joy and betrayal;of an artist's struggle to reconnect with her work; and of how we can choose our mothers, our families. Beautifully written and brilliantly vivid, it explores the resilience in the protagonists' lives, and their courage to move forward despite an uncertain future.


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  • What the tide washes in...
    From Amazon

    ...That sums up, in a way, what this book felt like to me. A lot of treasure, a lot of debris.

    I've heard Ursula Hegi's name for years, but this is the first book of hers I've ever picked up. I can understand why she's considered a wonderful author. She writes beautifully; it's hard to believe that English isn't her first language. Her descriptions of nature and people and moments are often breathtaking. And I was involved to the very end.

    At the same time, I was disappointed. There were too many fraught coincidences (wedding/birth/death) and too much that seemed belabored and repetitious. The political aspect of the book didn't seem organic at all--but clumsily grafted onto the main plot. Worst, it was hard to empathize with any of the main characters--and the secondary characters (Aunt Stormy, Pete, Opal) never seemed to come completely to life. I agree with others who've commented that Opal is unlike any small child--regardless of precocity--that I've ever known.

    Criticisms notwithstanding, I was intrigued enough to want to read more of Hegi's work.

  • too much other stuffI found parts of this book to be a bit vague and confusing. What exactly was the worst thing? And who is the
    From Amazon

    I found parts of this book to be a bit vague and confusing. What exactly was the worst thing? And who is the I? Perhaps both of those questions are meant to be left unanswered, which is fine.

    But there's a lot of other distracting stuff in this book, including the commentary of radio psychologists and the fact that the confession (for lack of a better word) of one of the characters is cut off in the middle of a sentence every time. Some of these narrative devices take away from the story, which is, overall, a good one. I definitely wanted more of the story, and less of the fancy writing.

  • Melodramatic Collage
    From Amazon

    I know this is an accomplished author, and I gave the book the benefit of the doubt. But, this was plodding, boring, melodramatic book and the characters, particularly the dead husband narrator, aren't particularly likable. I wouldn't read another of this author's book.

  • Dreadful
    From Amazon

    Ursula Hegi's book "Stones from the River" is one of my favourite books. It was an amazing read. Her newest book was such a disappointment. I was just plain bored. I ended up just skimming through it. I had no interest in any of the characters. I am just sorry that I wasted any time reading this book.

  • Great character development
    From Amazon

    The story is told from four points of view, all of which hold the reader's attention and create sympathy for each complex and flawed character. While there aren't really any surprises in the plot, the process of watching the characters come to various realizations is absorbing.

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