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That Old Cape Magic    by Richard Russo Amazon.com order for
That Old Cape Magic
by Richard Russo
Order:  USA  Can
Vintage, 2010 (2009)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Poor Griffin. He's on his way to his favorite place in the world Cape Cod - for his daughter Laura's wedding. But a lot has happened since he was last there. After many years, he and his wife Joy have separated. Joy will have a new man with her. Griffin has a female companion with him.

But worst of all, he must contend with Joy's unruly family. They never thought much of him to begin with and now blame him for the separation. Vocally. His father-in-law is hell on wheels. Literally.

When he was a child, Griffin and his parents would vacation on Cape Cod. This yearly trek was the driving force behind their year's work. Both parents were in collegiate life he as a professor and she in administration. Griffin left Hollywood, where he worked as a screen writer, to become more acceptable to both his wife and parents, who felt that anyone without an advanced degree was beneath them.

But Cape Cod is the glue that is holding Griffin together. As he reflects on his life, he realizes he might have been remiss as both a husband and father. Now both his father's and mother's ashes reside in his trunk. Why can't he scatter them in Cape Cod, the place they would most like to be? What makes him hesitate?

That Old Cape Magic, will mesmerize anyone who has been there. I just experienced my first trip to the Cape and loved it. Would like to go back. Again and again. For now, I will have to use this novel to take me there time and again.

Griff's mother is a character like no other. Just thank heaven yours wasn't like her. Or was she? The remaining characters are strong, either easy or hard to like, but the reader will definitely feel some emotion. We've all reached the end of our rope. How Griffin reaches his and deals with the clarifying moment is well worth the read of That Old Cape Magic.

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