Finding Caruso

Barnes, Kim. Finding Caruso. New York: Peguin Putnam, 2003.

Within the first two chapters of Finding Caruso I found myself calling Kim Barnes a favorite author. Despite the fact that the first chapter started off raw and violent; as shocking as a bucket of ice cold language, I loved the way she described the landscape, the emotion, the family structure. A mother timid and protective, a father despairing and drunken, brothers bound by love and loyalty. After a tragedy the brothers make their way to Idaho. Music is what keeps them going, but brotherly blood is what saves them.
It’s also the bittersweet tale of sibling rivalry. One brother being the older, better looking, the more talented, the one used to getting everything while the other looks on, burning with jealousy, brimming with pride. But, what happens when the tides turn and baby brother gets a stroke of luck, wins out?

I could have quoted the entire book for the wonderful lines that jumped off the pages at me, but here are a few of my favorites:
“The ballads were my mother’s favorite, and we let her lead, our boys’ voices blending in a harmony that had been in us since the moment our parents came together and planted the music in our bones” (p 7).
“Those nights my father disappeared down the road, I felt the house itself let loose its breath” (p 11).
“‘It’s not that I’m thirsty. It’s the memory that tastes good'” (p 50).
“‘Don’t ever think you know something of me without asking'” (p 111).

This book was definitely a favorite. The writing was sparse yet as fluid as the mountain streams Barnes describes in Finding Caruso.

BookLust Twist: From More Book Lust in the chapter “Idaho: And Nary a Potato To Be Seen” (p 122).

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