corner corner A Smile in His Lifetime

Medium

A Smile in His Lifetime
by Joseph Hansen | Mystery & Thrillers
Registered by wingGoryDetailswing of Nashua, New Hampshire USA on 4/21/2004
Average 8 star rating by BookCrossing Members 

status (set by froggirlwendy): travelling


This book is in the wild! This Book is Currently in the Wild!

3 journalers for this copy...

Journal Entry 1 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Wednesday, April 21, 2004

This book has not been rated.

I've enjoyed Hansen's mystery and suspense novels, especially his "Dave Brandstetter" series, but he's also written several novels dealing with self-discovery, identity, and relationships; this was one I hadn't come across before, so when I saw it during a lovely browse through Kate's Mystery Books in Cambridge I was happy to buy it.  


Journal Entry 2 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Sunday, January 30, 2005

8 out of 10

[Another of my backlogged journal entries, I read this in late November of 2004. I was saddened to learn that Joseph Hansen died at about the time I was reading this book; click here for an obituary from Guardian Unlimited, or here for one from the Washington Post.]

This is a wonderfully written book about Whit Miller, a bisexual writer who stumbles into financial success but only wants love. His off-balance relationships never quite work out: his wife claims to be supportive and accepting of his desires for men, yet holds out hope that he'll change; his young neighbor is drawn to him over and over, but can't accept being seen as gay by others; and Whit's other attempts at finding love seem equally doomed to frustration - possibly because he does not seem to believe that he deserves to be loved, or to be treated with respect, and will put up with emotionally destructive treatment just to hold on to someone. I don't know how much of the story is autobiographical; some details match Hansen's own life, but he seems to have had a much happier long-term relationship and overall career than poor Whit did. (Hansen's wonderful "Brandstetter" series also presents a picture of a much more confident gay man - Dave Brandstetter has none of the self doubts that Whit Miller has. Maybe Hansen was happier when he started writing those!)

While the overall mood of this novel is rather sad, it has its uplifting moments, and there is a hint of hope for Whit after all the trauma (emotional and physical) that he goes through. And, as always, Hansen's descriptions of people and places are crystal clear and evocative.

One tiny mystery: the book's title seems to come from a fragment that Whit finds in a disintegrating book in the tumbled-down remains of his old family home: "There are books without covers. They can't have belonged to him, but he picks one up. It feels at the same time gritty and wet. Even the title page is gone. He reads a phrase, a smile in his lifetime. Something crawls on his hands. He drops the book. Sowbugs have nested in its moist back. He shakes his hands, wipes the crawly feeling off them. He nudges the book with the toe of his clean blue-and-white shoe. So much for the immortality of print." So of course I was mad to know what book the quote came from - and I can't find any hint of it! So much for the immortality of print, indeed... 


Journal Entry 3 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Thursday, June 09, 2005

This book has not been rated.

While I was tempted to keep this one a while longer, I'm adding it to FLstarfish's GLBT bookbox; hope one of the participants will enjoy it!

[Note: Included in the bookbox is a blue "read me" note with instructions, plus an assortment of goodies; there's a "Someone you care about is lesbian or gay" pin, several bookmarks with area resources for LGBTQ youth, some "Safe Zone" stickers, and a bunch of blank mailing labels - very convenient! I've taken a couple of items and have put the rest back in the box for the next participants.] 


Journal Entry 4 by FLstarfish from San Francisco, California USA on Thursday, September 15, 2005

This book has not been rated.

Today my GLBT bookbox made it home, and this was in it. Thanks! 


Journal Entry 5 by FLstarfish from San Francisco, California USA on Tuesday, January 10, 2006

8 out of 10

I was very pleasantly surprised by this book. For no good reason, I wasn't expecting to like it all that much, but I pretty much found that I couldn't put it down. 


Journal Entry 6 by FLstarfish from San Francisco, California USA on Friday, September 08, 2006

This book has not been rated.

On its way to froggirlwendy in honor of International Literacy Day! 


Journal Entry 7 by froggirlwendy from Brisbane, Queensland Australia on Thursday, November 23, 2006

This book has not been rated.

Arrived safely today - many thanks FLstarfish. On my TBR list for now. Hugs. 


Journal Entry 8 by froggirlwendy at park bench along Sandgate waterfront in Sandgate, Queensland Australia on Wednesday, January 11, 2017

This book has not been rated.

Released 6 mos ago (1/10/2017 UTC) at park bench along Sandgate waterfront in Sandgate, Queensland Australia

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

book culling time - with a bunch of books released a various locations around Sandgate and Shorncliffe 


Are you sure you want to delete this item? It cannot be undone.