Another Life(CD)Lib(Unabr.) Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged
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Another Life is the end of a journey that began with Flood, Andrew Vachss’s first novel featuring career criminal Burke and his Family of Choice. “I didn't set out to write a series. Who but a terminal narcissist would?” the author says of his 1985 debut. But twenty-three years–and seventeen Burke novels–later, Andrew Vachss is finally bringing down the curtain on a series that has been described as “urban nightmares” by Publishers Weekly, and “strong, gritty, gut-bucket stuff” by the Chicago Tribune. Anyone who has felt a part of the family that includes recurring series characters Max, the Mole, Michelle, the Prof, Terry, Clarence, and Mama–characters the Seattle Post-Intelligencer says “are as sharply defined as if they were etched in steel”–will want to be there for the end of the journey, as best-selling, award- winning author Andrew Vachss ties up the loose ends, and sends his Family of Choice off to ... Another Life.
“There’s no way to put a [Vachss book] down once you’ve begun . . . The plot hooks are engaging and the one-liners pierce like bullets.”
–Detroit Free Press
“Vachss is just about the toughest of contemporary crime novelists. [He] waves a powerful light across a city landscape that few writers go near and none portray so convincingly.”
–Los Angeles Times
“The hardest-boiled crime fiction this side of Sing Sing.”
“Sheer narrative drive is only part of what has kept readers coming back for more. [Burke] is a hero of our times. . . lord of the asphalt jungle.”
–The Washington Post Book World
“Vachss’s style is as inimitable and passionate as ever.”
–Rocky Mountain News
“Vachss is a contemporary master.”
–The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“Writing in a style so sleekly engineered that it purrs when you pop the hood, Vachss gives such a smooth ride that it’s easy to forget someone is driving.”
–The New York Times
“Vachss has always been able to make other writers look candy-assed . . . And it’s not because he manages to marry grim idealism to action-driven plots. It’s because of the unflinching way he looks at evil.”
“Vachss is red hot and as serious as a punctured lung.”
“The New York Burke inhabits is not borrowed from anybody and shimmers on the page as gaudily and scarily as it does on the street.”
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Andrew Vachss is a lawyer who represents children and youths exclusively. His many novels and two collections of short stories have been translated into twenty languages, and his work has appeared in Parade, Esquire, Playboy, and The New York Times, among other publications. A native New Yorker, he divides his time between the city of his birth and the Pacific Northwest.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Enjoy the ride
other novels and short stories, starting with Strega, the second
of the Burke series. Flood, the first Burke book, came
later for me.
The Burke series I found always hard to put down,quick, and easy
reads that I usually finished on the first or second day.
I found this particular entity which may be the final one in the series
very slow and ultiminately a slow and disappointing novel.
Not one of Vachss' books that I would recommend.
I rather hope it is not the final. I would not want Burke to go out on a negative note.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
It seems to me that Vachss' novels always have two simultaneous "themes" -- there are the action points, what most reviewers will tell you the book is "about" -- and then the slightly more subtle, infinitely more meaningful underlying thesis. On one level, Another Life is about Burke agreeing to look for the abducted toddler son of a Saudi royal in exchange for medical care for the Prof, clinging to life after being shot in the last chapter, and a clean slate for other Family-of-Choice members. Another (chance to continue the same) Life. At its heart, though, AL is a book about the things we do, the lengths we will go to, for "those who come after."
I'd heard a couple folks say this book was "predictable," and that frankly surprises me. Burke is in no way an impromptu type of individual, he plans everything he does down to the last detail. He doesn't *want* surprises, and those who've taken this journey with him all the way are likely justified in feeling we know how Burke will react to many given situations. This is where the surprise (on my part) came in. Vachss has written before in the series about people who "do the right thing for the wrong reason," and neither Burke nor Vachss has any problem with that. What I never really expected Burke -- or Vachss -- to address is the other side of that "intent" coin, those who do the *wrong* thing, but do it for the *right* reason, with the best of intentions, hoping to create something better but going terribly wrong. There are two specific instances of that in AL, and they're closely entwined.
Burke's core Family all work with him on this one, along with many characters who've made appearances over the course of the series, so we get a chance to say goodbye to our favorites, both old and newer. As the parent of a fellow adult, I was deeply touched by the themes of growing, moving on ... letting go. When you've put in the work, the day will come when it's time to stand aside and let your kids go to make their own lives, find their own worlds. This book is "about" fathers, and mothers, sons and daughters. It's "about" Family, what we do to make one, the lengths we go to to keep them safe, and (if the job was done right), the bittersweet feeling of seeing them move on being overwhelmed and subsumed by the pride we feel while watching them go.
When I read the last page and closed the book, I felt almost exactly the same way I felt at the end of Shella. So, my own personal response to the question "What is Burke going to do next?" is: He's going to pick up his jacket.
There is a puzzle to be solved, the investigation of which stretches throughout the book, taking Burke and the reader into areas of society that are tough to visit even through the filter of "fiction." There are the vivid characterizations and relationships between the main characters of Burke's crew, relationships that have grown deeper with every book. There are the frequent asides and soliloquies on contemporary life and society that I've always found as fascinating as the actual plots. And there is a climax that serves as a textbook definition of the perfect ending: surprising but inevitable in retrospect.
Add to all of these qualities the emotional resonance that comes with knowing that this is the last time we'll ever be able to walk with these characters, and "Another Life" is a gem, a novel that lets us look back to Burke's past and ahead to whatever future we can imagine for him and his family of choice. At once valedictory, heart-breaking, uplifting, and deeply satisfying, readers who have vicariously shared Burke's life for nearly a quarter century should no sooner miss this final chapter than the Prof should speak two sentences in a row without a rhyme. Like Mr. Henry says, "Only thing that's true is what you do," and what you've got to do is read this one. It rings true and clear as always, and for the last time...
A number of pivotal characters in Burke's past are very conspicuous by their absence. Little set pieces that are not plot driven but familiar to all Burke fans were also missing...no card games with Max, no bets on the trotting. Even Burke's relationship with a new dog is glossed over and made irrelevant and unbelievable.
I am glad that most reviewers found the book to be 5-star but I'll stick with my version. If Mr Vachss gives me permission I might even write it!
In the meantime I'm going back to Flood to read through the series again.
I felt real dread when the book was announced many months ago. I wasn't sure I wanted the answer. Then, December 30th rolled around and I realized I couldn't NOT know.
In this installment, Burke and his Family of Choice function as a family much more so than in any of the previous books. With the Prof still fighting to recover from his gunshot wounds and Clarence nearly paralyzed with worry, Burke is made an offer by former acquaintance Pryce that will net him a life-saving hospital arrangement for the Prof and clean slates for all the others. He accepts immediately - the way a son would do - without his normal vetting process. His task is to retrieve the missing infant son of a Saudi prince - Pryce believes the child was snatched by the type of humans Burke knows only too well. But the most disturbing discoveries Burke makes are about the prince himself.
His contacts this time around have a bit more intellectual heft - be sure to brush up on your Latin. Perhaps it's a reflection of Burke's new understanding of the difference between what he knows...and what he always believed he's known.
Families of all types come under focus - even canine, as Burke finally decides on a new partner. For his own family, particularly the next generation, questions about the future are demanding to be answered once and for all. They reflect the hope of the book's bittersweet title.
Partnerships are forged, a financial future is constructed, the flames of Arab-Israeli conflict are stoked. And Burke's story reaches its end. Faster than expected, like the illusion of a train floating in the horizon.
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