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The Riders Paperback – Jun 1996


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Paperback, Jun 1996
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--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 377 pages
  • Publisher: ISIS Large Print Books; Large type edition edition (June 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753151405
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753151402
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Australian novelist Winton's latest, in which a man takes his young daughter across Europe on a search for his missing wife, was a finalist for the Booker Prize.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From Library Journal

The destructive and redemptive powers of love are the focus of this new novel by Winton (That Eye, That Sky, 1987). Fred Scully has gone to Ireland, where he is restoring a dilapidated cottage and waiting for Jennifer, his wife, and their seven-year-old daughter, Billie, to arrive from Australia. But on the appointed day, Billie arrives without her mother, too traumatized to explain what happened during their last stop at Heathrow. Thus begins a mad search through Greece, Italy, France, and Holland, always just missing the elusive Jennifer. Though action-filled, this is primarily a study of the psychic price paid by an open-hearted man who loves deeply, if not wisely. The novel's strengths lie in its richly detailed settings and in the archetypal fury of its portrait of psychic dissolution. Recommended for most public libraries.?Lawrence Rungren, Bedford Free P.L., Mass.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 10 2004
Format: Paperback
For the first 50 pages I was sure this would become one of my favorite books of the year. I was captivated by Winton's brilliant prose and his intriguing premise: Scully's wife Jennifer flies from Australia to join him in Ireland but doesn't get off the plane. Their daughter Billie does, but won't tell what happened to her mother. I felt nicely set up for a fine tale of suspense, as Scully sets off to find Jennifer. There was indeed plenty of suspense, as well as marvelously vivid descriptions of places and people. But when I finished the book I was frustrated and enraged. Read Michael Leone's review--he expresses my feelings eloquently. Furthermore, why couldn't we learn what happened to Jennifer? The only clue is Billie's impression on the plane that her mother's face was turning to marble. Not very helpful. One must conclude that Winton doesn't want us to understand, he wants us to accept the mystery without the resolution. That seems to be the message of the horsemen who gathered near the ruined Irish castle, twice: they symbolize Scully's desperate search, his failure, and his wounded psyche. Well, my psyche wasn't wounded by this book but it was definitely let down.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael Leone on Oct. 23 2002
Format: Paperback
I wanted to like this book, I really did. It's an interesting premise but the book sets the reader up for something and then totally fails to deliver on it. You learn nothing that you didn't already know at the start, which is nothing.
You spend the first eighty pages or so with Scully fixing up his house in Ireland for his seven-year-old daughter and wife who are supposedly coming to meet him. Eighty pages of him scrubbing, grouting, plastering, shoveling, painting, broken by some chatty interludes with a minor character Peter Keneally. Unless you're Joyce or Nabokov or Proust there is no way to make these mundane activities compelling for eighty pages. I would have forgiven Winton at forty pages, but at eighty it's just too dull and the attempt at plot build-up totally off kilter.
Finally, the first climax comes: Scully goes to pick up his wife and child at the airport and only the child emerges from the plane. Where is his wife? We all want to know, of course, as we've spent eighty pages waiting for her and listening to Winton tell us how much Scully is looking forward to it, but his daughter won't tell him, despite the fact that Winton gives us a brief scene with the child on the airplane (which airplane is just another one of the unsolved mysteries in this book) with her mother, so we KNOW at some point the child was with her. Billie, his daughter, will never tell him, and after a while, for no reason that I can possibly discern, other than Winton's attempt to keep up the novelty of "suspense", Scully stops asking her about it. Would you do this as a parent? Wouldn't you find some way to coax this vital info out of your seven-year-old child? But I guess the info isn't so important to Winton.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By marlowe on June 28 2001
Format: Paperback
This is a book that deserves two readings to fully appreciate it's worth. Winton presents us with the classic scenario of the unexpected dissolution of a relationship. This time, it is the man and not the woman abandoned, the man and not the woman who follows their heart rather than their head. Scully is a man we can't help but like when we first meet him. He is content with what he has, and gains enormous pleasure from love and comforting surroundings. He is in every sense the new age guy, waiting for his family to join him for their new life in Ireland. The romance of their nomadic lifestyle and the resurrection of the old cottage in Ireland lure us in, so that Jennifer's disappearance is a profound shock. The novel descends with the disconcerting plummet of an elevator, as everything Scully believes to be true unravels. In the process, Scully unravels before our eyes, and we question whether we really like this man at all. A warning though. If you don't like endings that provoke more mystery than they solve, this book will leave you frustrated. This is where the second reading comes in. When you read it the second time you appreciate that this is one man's journey towards acceptance that sometimes life doesn't provide solutions or endings. If we are to move forward, we have to accept that life and people will not always give us what we think we need, to make sense of ourselves and others. On the second reading you see that for Winton to have given the reader answers that life will not give Scully, would be to defeat the purpose of the entire novel. Like Scully, we are left to wonder why. And that, is as it should be.
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Format: Paperback
Rarely has an Aussie experienced such a miserable walkabout. Scully, the protagonist of this grim novel, drags his daughter Billie through Europe in search of his vanished wife, a black haired beauty with a similarly shaded heart. Scully is an utter moron, a naive everyman. His endearing unpretentiousness is negated by a tendency to make whopping errors of judgment. Winton writes dreamy sentences that evoke place and pain, but his plot stretches plausibility. We're required to believe that a good-natured bloke like Scully could actually subject his child to such tortures. His neglect is stupefying.
Gypsy girl Billie, in one of the novel's many role reversals, eventually shepherds her doofus father, her comic book Quasimodo come to life, as they chase down shadows in unfamiliar Amsterdam. This reader simply wanted the search to end, for the hapless wanderers to return to their refurbished tumble-down in County Offaly. When they finally do, the house still feels vacant, the rooms draughty and cheerless. What Scully learns from the whole ordeal, other than his own ineffectuality, is not entirely clear.
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