That Old Cape Magic

That Old Cape Magic

Book - 2009
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Following Bridge of Sighs--a national best seller hailed by The Boston Globe as an astounding achievement and a masterpiece--Richard Russo gives us the story of a marriage, and of all the other ties that bind, from parents and in-laws to children and the promises of youth.
Griffin has been tooling around for nearly a year with his father's ashes in the trunk, but his mother is very much alive and not shy about calling on his cell phone. She does so as he drives down to Cape Cod, where he and his wife, Joy, will celebrate the marriage of their daughter Laura's best friend. For Griffin this is akin to driving into the past, since he took his childhood summer vacations here, his parents' respite from the hated Midwest. And the Cape is where he and Joy honeymooned, in the course of which they drafted the Great Truro Accord, a plan for their lives together that's now thirty years old and has largely come true. He'd left screenwriting and Los Angeles behind for the sort of New England college his snobby academic parents had always aspired to in vain; they'd moved into an old house full of character; and they'd started a family. Check, check and check.
But be careful what you pray for, especially if you manage to achieve it. By the end of this perfectly lovely weekend, the past has so thoroughly swamped the present that the future suddenly hangs in the balance. And when, a year later, a far more important wedding takes place, their beloved Laura's, on the coast of Maine, Griffin's chauffeuring two urns of ashes as he contends once more with Joy and her large, unruly family, and both he and she have brought dates along. How in the world could this have happened?
That Old Cape Magic is a novel of deep introspection and every family feeling imaginable, with a middle-aged man confronting his parents and their failed marriage, his own troubled one, his daughter's new life and, finally, what it was he thought he wanted and what in fact he has. The storytelling is flawless throughout, moments of great comedy and even hilarity alternating with others of rueful understanding and heart-stopping sadness, and its ending is at once surprising, uplifting and unlike anything this Pulitzer Prize winner has ever written.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2009.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780375414961
Branch Call Number: F Russ
Characteristics: p. cm.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

HCL_staff_reviews Mar 30, 2018

The latest novel by the author of the much admired "Bridge of Sighs" brings us a heartache story full of humor and insight into this thing called love. One of the two main threads centers around a husband and his wife, their life goals and what happens to them when reality hits. The other one deals with the relationship that parents and their adult children have, whether it be good or bad. The plot moves along briskly and never leaves us wanting. The ending is most satisfactory. — Lorenzo T., System and Online Services

Dec 31, 2014

I've read most of Russo's books and am a big fan, but this, while enjoyable, is maybe his weakest novel.

Sep 19, 2013

This line from the item details sums it up nicely: "But be careful what you pray for, especially if you manage to achieve it. By the end of this perfectly lovely weekend, the past has so thoroughly swamped the present that the future suddenly hangs in the balance." Love Russo's writing so much - such a talented author. He moves back and forth, past to present, present to past, and as Griffin's memories conflict with his mother's, even the reader is left in doubt as to whose story is the more likely to be true. Nicely done. Really enjoyable read. Definitely character-driven, not plot-driven.

May 14, 2013

not as easy to read; lost interest

Apr 24, 2013

This is my first Russo book . I liked it alot - but find his constant introspection alittle tedious . Regardless , it's a good read

Aug 28, 2010

Jack Griffin, son of two academics, looks at his life in the year that will see his parents die, his daughter wed, his own career seem iffy as does his marriage to Joy. What's a guy to do? How does anyone cope with these life-altering events? It seems he'll do just like the rest of us have or will?the best we can given the circumstances and history that's gone before.

Readers who are a certain age with some of Griffin's life experiences behind them are sure to relish this look into a year in someone's life. As with most families we'll laugh, we'll cry, we'll shout and we'll love these flawed people for whatever they may have done to seemingly ?ruin our lives.' It also seemed an elegy to a place and to a writer's life. Good to read at end of summer.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at DCPL

To Top