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The Life Before Her Eyes [Audio CD]

Laura Kasischke , Carrington MacDuffie
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 67.61
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Book Description

July 1 2007
Diana stands before the mirror preening with her best friend, Maureen. Suddenly, a classmate enters holding a gun, and seventeen-year-old Diana sees her life dance before her eyes. In a moment. the future she was just imagining is sealed by a horrific dec
--This text refers to an alternate Audio CD edition.

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From Library Journal

This third novel by Michigan author Kasischke (Suspicious River) opens with a shocking scene from a Columbine-like school massacre. Diana and her best friend are confronted by a schoolmate killer, but only Diana is spared. Fast-forward 20 years: Diana, now middle-aged and still beautiful, is a housewife and artist living in the same idyllic university town with a handsome professor-husband and a young daughter. She has seemingly repressed her memory of the event as well as her survivor's guilt, but her perfect world and her grip on reality are both starting to crack. These scenes are imbued with that sense of eerie apprehension found in a good horror flick. Woven through the book is a flashback narrative of Diana's sunny but empty-headed adolescent days. The novel plays teenage Diana's youthful illusions of immortality and beauty against the shifting, uneasy reality of middle age. Kasischke, also a published poet, writes prose that is dreamy and lyrical. This is one book you won't want to put down. Highly recommended for all popular fiction collections.
- Reba Leiding, James Madison Univ., Harrisonburg, VA
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Disturbing fiction (Suspicious River 1996, and White Bird in a Blizzard, 1999) is fast becoming prizewinning poet Kasischke's hallmark. Her third novel opens with a haunting scene set in the girls' washroom of a high school. Diana is goofing in front of the mirror with her best friend, Maureen, "when they hear the first dot-dot-dot of automatic gunfire. It sounds phony and far away." They are eventually confronted by the gunman, a fellow classmate whom "they'd never even really noticed." He asks them a terrible question, "Which one of you girls should I kill?" Kasischke then juxtaposes scenes from 17-year-old Diana's life with scenes from her apparent future as a 40-year-old wife and mother. In the final chapter, however, the author ambushes the reader with a shocking revelation about Diana's fate. Whether the novel is viewed as a cheap narrative trick (there will be plenty of readers crying foul) or an imaginative exploration, there's no denying that Kasischke is a fearless writer. Joanne Wilkinson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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IT WAS ANOTHER BEAUTIFUL DAY IN A PERFECT LIFE: June again, and all the brilliance that came with it. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Almost amazing Feb. 28 2004
By Meg
Format:Hardcover
This is the type of book that completely hinges on the last 30 pages. So many odd things happened throughout the book, I was dying for a great ending that would wrap up the story and give an explanation for all the the crazy happenings. However, the ending never came. I was left to image for myself why Diana acted the way she did... and for the life of me, I couldn't seem to figure out why. The reader is shown so many of Diana's thoughts it sometimes seems as though we are intruding on her fractured mind. Diana's mind is so odd... I couldn't help but wondering if this book was going to end up with Diana in a psych ward.
In conclusion, this is a beautifully written book that was incredibly intruiging, but very unsatisfying.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting concept, but often hard to follow Feb. 14 2004
Format:Hardcover
Honestly, this book is about a 3 and 1/2 stars. Again, a book with a great concept- posing the question- who wants to die? Would you offer to take the place for your friend?
The book held my interest for the most part, however the frequent changes between when Diana was young & when she's a housewife, are often hard to follow. There's some sequences that don't seem to belong to either- they're like dreams. And they're never really explained. This book is like you're in one big dream- with a lot of poetry & prose.
To some degree I enjoyed the flowery writing and the strangeness of the dreams. However, after a while, it got very frustrating and I just wanted to know what was REAL and what was not. Also- as she's describing the younger years between Diana & Maureen, she never uses names, it's just "the girl" or "the friend"-- thank god sometimes she'll say "the blonde"- then you know it's Diana. Often I found myself not sure of who was who. And frankly, being an avid reader- if it confused me, I think it will confuse most people.
I guess I'd recommend this book with caution. Nothing is cut & dry, it's pretty much all up to you to figure out what's going on and what the ending means. I was really hoping there would be more of an explanation at the end or a study guide, comment from the author, but there wasn't any of that.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Pointless Aug. 28 2003
Format:Hardcover
My book club chose this book for the month. I will readily admit that the reason I didn't like this book is due to my own stubborness. I kep waiting and waiting to get to the meat of the tale.
I like books with a story. There was no point to this book other than for the author to write pretty, pretty prose. Yes, I get that you are a poet. Now please tell me what is going on instead of hiding behind alliteration. I don't need a page after page of colorful descriptions. I need a reason to care about the characters.
I felt that Kasischke was deliberately obtuse with the facts in order to be more "artistic." Much ilke a beginning director will stage odd shots, or shoot in black and white just to prove how different they are than the commercial directors. Her lack of straightforwardness was not interesting, and it left me feeling very dissatisfied by the end of the book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars This is one of the best books...EVER... July 22 2003
Format:Hardcover
I started this book one afternoon never having heard of Laura Kasischke. I found it in our local library. From the moment I opened it I could not put it down. I was somewhat surprised to read the negative reviews of The Life Before Her Eyes. Ms. Kasischke's style grabs the reader immediately. I was never confused by time, place, or character. I have scoured the book stores and libraries for more books by this author. I was so enthralled reading about Diane McPhee that I finished the book in 48 hours!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and Unexpected July 14 2003
Format:Hardcover
A carefully written and timely story about a woman who was involved in a school shooting during her senior year, _The Life Before Her Eyes_ was both a quick read and difficult to put down. At the beginning of the book, the reader is introduced to a pair of best friends primping in the mirror when gunshots ring out. Just as they begin to realize they are in danger, the shooter --a boy from their biology class-- walks into the bathroom. Reminiscent of some of the stories to come out of the Columbine tragedy, the girls' classmate asks them which one he should kill. The rest of the book flows from that moment in both flashbacks and in the present day, when the girl who tells the shooter she wants to live is a grown woman. The book ends with a poetic twist, but most astute readers will not find it entirely surprising. A very enjoyable and well written book.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Wondering when we would get to the explanation April 16 2003
Format:Hardcover
I was extremely excited to start this book. I am extremely glad that I am done with it. I still don't really know what the point of the story was or really what I read. I had to go over some chapters again just to figure out what character the author was referring to. I think that other reveiws were correct in saying that it is hard to know which character was which in the high school segments because there was no reference by name. I think that the concept of the book was interesting, however, follow through just wasn't there.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down Feb. 7 2003
Format:Hardcover
What a disturbing and compelling book. I felt like I was caught up in a nightmare. The two stories told simultaneously added to the dream-like quality of the book. The adult story starts with an idyllicallic life that slowly spirals into a nightmare to close the circle of betrayal from past actions. It was haunting. The only problem I had was with the teenager story - the main character was my age and I know we didn't say things like "go girl" and "girlfriend" when I was a teenager and there was no such thing as Sunny Delight back then.
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