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A Map of the World Hardcover – May 1 1994


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Hardcover, May 1 1994
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 389 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; First Edition edition (May 1 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385473109
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385473101
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15 x 3.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 635 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (345 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,417,737 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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3.2 out of 5 stars
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kelly on March 8 2004
Format: Paperback
I can't finish the book. There are parts of good writing by the author but the story is unnecessarily draggy and depressing. Alice always just look at the negative side of things, bemoaning her life and that people around her has robbed her of something. For example, she would notice how ugly a person is than anything else. I find her attitude to Nellie particularly selfish and rude. Her daughters are supposed to be difficult to handle, yet Nellie has helped her while she drowns herself in self-pity. I just feel that I have better way to spend my time than to read and feel annoyed and depressed about Alice's life.
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Format: Audio Cassette
This book was not one of my favorites. It was slow, and sometimes painful, to read. The characters, though, were beautfilly done, with both depth and vision, as well as the background. If you can push aside the difficult writing style, then try this book. Otherwise, skip it.
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By C Brunner on Feb. 16 2004
Format: School & Library Binding
One moment of inattention, or was it pure and simply an accident that could have happened to anyone? Whatever it was, the lives of a community were changed and the dreams of two families went up in smoke. One of them found a way to continue their lives, but for the other family, they spiraled into a life of emotional poverty. The frightening lesson in this book is that it is hard to imagine that any of us would be immune to this disaster. It could probably happen to practically anyone, and just its possibility opens up the fact of our vulnerabilities. It made me think that I was on a precipice or a knife edge, facing disaster with just a misstep as I tried to go about my daily, routine tasks.
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Format: Paperback
I got so much from this book. It didn't really bring up thought but more of a feeling. I just felt when I read. It touched me deeply. The way the author could draw such a profound portrait of three people was just amazing! The story is deep and has lots of sadness. This is a hint just in case you might be looking for something light. There is a movie made of this book and it is also wonderful. I won't go into to much detail since there are already so many reviews. I can just say that looking deeper than just the sadness can be enlighting.
Lisa Nary
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Format: Paperback
I found this book nothing less than exquisite and have purchased it for my friends and family as a "must read". The writing is drenched in evocative descriptions that not only frame the characters and storylines but also stand alone as unusually creative and moving metaphors.
Ms. Hamilton has chosen subject matter that could easily be trite - the death of a child, sexual molestation. However, she awards each of her characters a dignity that allows them to transcend their situations and evoke the greatest compassion from the reader. We see that Alice has made mistakes, that she can be faulted. However her shortcomings are decidedly undeserving of her punishments (which are extreme, from the loss of a best friend's trust to criminal charges). What I believe the book makes obvious is that we are all susceptible to being blamed for hideous things due to unusual circumstances, even if we have lead our lives as decent people. We must look at the misfortunes of Alice with compassion, knowing that small mistakes can lead to dire consequences.
What I loved most about this book is its message of hope. Alice's family, friendships and career fall apart completely and her best friend loses a beloved child, yet they still are able to rebuild their lives. These women may not end up where they started, or where they anticipated, but ultimately the human spirit, love and family prevail.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By N. Jeannotte on June 16 2009
Format: Paperback
The premise for this story was interesting and I truly gave it my all, but I couldn't finish this book. It was so slow and tedious. Character detail is good and important, but there is a line you can cross where you take it too far and I'm afraid for me, Jane Hamilton crossed that line with every paragraph.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Chattan Gordon on Feb. 13 2004
Format: Paperback
Although it has its good moments, the book, A Map of the World, is a difficult one to finish. In the first place, the book is unnecessarily long. Secondly, the characters are, without exception, unsympathetically drawn. The story is told in first person narration by the two main characters, Alice Goodwin and her husband, Howard.
Alice, the mother of two small children, works part time as a elementary school nurse. The book begins with Alice bitterly complaining about her children, her husband, her neighbors and her life in general. Alice was a motherless child who had a difficult relationship with her father. Within the first few chapters, the reader figures out that Alice is subconsciously hell-bent on causing problems for herself and her family.
While babysitting her best friend's two preschoolers, Alice leaves the room where the children are playing with Alice's own two small children and allows herself to become wrapped up in a daydream. By the time Alice returns, her friend's two year-old has wandered out the door and drowns in a pond. Alice descends into despair. She pushes her husband away and neglects her daughters.
Alice has always had a knack for alienating others. The death of the little girl turns into a catalyst for accusations that Alice has sexually molested several neghborhood children. Alice is arrested and is financially unable to make bail.
With Alice's arrest, the book makes a sudden shift to Howard's first person narration. In stark contrast to Alice, Howard is an uncomplaining, balanced and satisfied person who sees good in everything. However, he is completely unable to cope with changes brought about by his wife's imprisonment. He, too, begins making some very bad choices with devastating consequences.
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