Wally Lamb -I Know This Much Is True
 

I Know This Much Is True

Wally Lamb

1998 Harper Collins

901 pages


It’s been awhile since I enjoyed reading a novel as much as I did this one. It has also been awhile since I read anything this long! At 901 pages in paperback, it’s a bit daunting at first, but it reads quickly and is very hard to put down. A large and sprawling story about family relationships, I was often reminded of my favorite novel, Ken Kesey’s Sometimes a Great Notion. In both books, the relationships are intense and the characters are flawed but totally human and believable. I Know This Much Is True is written in the first person, but from several points of view. Most of the book is told in the present, from the viewpoint of a 40-something twin whose brother has been placed in a mental hospital after cutting off his own hand to protest the Persian Gulf War. Much of the present-day saga is Dominick’s struggle to free his brother from the system and in the process, free himself. There are many, many flashbacks that flesh out who these people are and how they came to be the way they are. Sections are told by Dominick as a young boy. Later on, Dominick’s grandfather’s autobiography is found, and is interspersed in the present, suggesting that we are reading it along with Dominick. There are almost too many crises in the story, but it is a work of fiction, and comes around to a happy ending. I thoroughly enjoyed it!


Kathy Parsons

6/00