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A Song I Knew By Heart: A Novel [Paperback]

Our Price $ 12.28  
Retail Value $ 13.95  
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Item Number 158653  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   318
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.1" Width: 5.28" Height: 0.76"
Weight:   0.53 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   May 31, 2005
Publisher   Ballantine Books
ISBN  0345437756  
EAN  9780345437754  

Availability  2 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 27, 2016 06:50.
Usually ships within one to two business days from La Vergne, TN.
Orders shipping to an address other than a confirmed Credit Card / Paypal Billing address may incur and additional processing delay.

Item Description...
During a cold Massachusetts winter, a tragic car accident leaves a mother childless and her daughter-in-law a widow. Naomi and Ruth are now each other' s only comfort. Naomi lost her own husband eight years ago, and now she has lost her son. Carrying a deep secret in her soul, Naomi decides to return to her childhood home in coastal South Carolina. When she tells Ruth her plan, she receives an unexpected reply: " Where you go, I will go." So the two women plan the journey together, arriving at a place that is flooded with a love they are nearly too fragile to accept. Surrounded by the warmth of their newfound family, Naomi and Ruth begin to find themselves reawakened- and open to the possibility of redemption.

Buy A Song I Knew By Heart: A Novel by Bret Lott from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9780345437754 & 0345437756

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More About Bret Lott

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Bret Lott is the author of five highly acclaimed novels, The Man Who Owned Vermont, A Stranger's House, Jewel, Reed's Beach, and The Hunt Club, as well as two collections of widely anthologized short stories, A Dream of Old Leaves and How to Get Home, and a memoir, Fathers, Sons, and Brothers. He lives with his wife and two sons near Charleston, South Carolina, and teaches at the College of Charleston and Vermont College.

Bret Lott currently resides in Charleston, in the state of South Carolina.

Bret Lott has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Oprah's Book Club

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary   [79254  similar products]
2General   [0  similar products]

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Beautiful Read  Jun 4, 2008
I love this book. The retelling of Ruth and Naomi is so subtle, yet profound. Seeing the timeless story play out in modern day language was inspiring. It made me think of my own relationships with the women in my family and how death of a spouse redirects lives.
A good find  Dec 30, 2007
I found this book on the bargain shelves, surprised to see the author of the acclaimed "Jewel", which I enjoyed. Happily, I enjoyed this book just about as much.

A modern day tale of "Ruth", two women, a mother in law and her daughter in law, try to move on after both of their husbands have passed away. Much of this story is narrative on what is ordinary, what we may each take for granted each day. But there is much more in these womens lives that we find out about. And much more on emotion and feeling. Love, loss, despair, courage, hope, humility, loyalty....

I enjoyed the book, as I have several of other Lott's. (I've checked out a few of his prior-to-Jewel-success works) I think this is a great book, by a talented author.
Touching and warm  Jan 29, 2007
This was a choice of my Book Club. Some had read others by Bret Lott. I enjoyed the book and would recomment it to others. A wonderfully touching story of love and loss with new beginnings.
Boring  Jan 21, 2007
I was drawn to this book by the story line and because it began in Western Massachusetts which I am very familar with. I found this book difficult to even finish. I thought it was boring and sappy. The idea of moving among people who you only exchange Christmas cards with each year and they greet you open armed and rearrange their lives for your convenience is pretty far fetched. This is definitely going in the donation pile.
An Old Testament story placed in a contemporary setting that tells the story of grief and healing  Aug 3, 2005
For those who love beautiful writing and a quiet read, Bret Lott's A SONG I KNEW BY HEART, a tender contemporary retelling of the biblical Ruth and Naomi story, is a competent exploration of grief and healing.

Lott's narrative opens as Ruth loses her husband in a terrible accident. Her mother-in-law, Naomi, a widow whose husband died eight years before, is plunged into renewed grief (the song she knows by heart). Throughout the book, Lott uses the image of light and darkness to illustrate deeper meanings. As the two inconsolable widows wait for morning together, "Shadows outside eased and shifted, made way for new shadows, all of this movement only the empty fruit of that faithless sun." Later, as Ruth and Naomi try to do ordinary things, such as see a movie, they find it devastating, "like sitting in the dark and watching a life played out just beyond your reach, that life your own."

Seeking healing from her pain, Naomi declares her intention to go back home to South Carolina, "called by the force of whatever mystery the place I'd once called home and would call home again held out to me." As readers of scripture will quickly guess, Ruth vows to go with her. After a yard sale where the women divest themselves of almost everything, they journey back to Naomi's childhood region.

Other themes unfold. Naomi grieves over a secret from her past for which she is unable to forgive someone --- and herself. She finds the area she was nostalgic for from her childhood is not as she recalled it. Now, there are satellite dishes, video stores, tattoo parlors, sushi bars, Taco Bells. "Time moved, whether you liked it or not." Naomi also realizes she is not the same person she once was in this place. She has run, but "I hadn't run from me. I'd only run from our home, and from the death of our son, and from God for having taken from me the last evidence of the love Eli and I shared," reflects Naomi.

Things have changed. Yet, "It's still beautiful here," Ruth tells her. "The light is just like you said it would be." It is the light --- and descriptions of the light --- that serve as a reminder by Lott that God can pierce the darkness of grief by his love and grace. "Still He was with me," says Naomi.

Readers will enjoy how Lott adapts the Old Testament story to a contemporary setting. Ruth gets a job as a checker at the Piggly Wiggly grocery store, then finds a better one as a shift supervisor at a Harris Teeter. Naomi finds some peace in returning to her family, full of interesting characters, and Ruth finds a welcome as well. A quilt serves as a symbol of the relationships left behind, and the possibilities for mending their lives. When Ruth falls in love with a fireman, the quilt becomes the proverbial blessing/covering passed on by Naomi for their new relationship.

Although readers have criticized Lott for choosing style over plot substance in A SONG I KNEW BY HEART, the joy of this book is exactly that --- in how Lott can take a familiar subject (both the biblical account and the loss of a loved one) and make it sing. Of his early Oprah-pick novel, JEWEL, the Boston Globe noted, "Bret Lott has a gift for making the ordinary seem luminous." This gift is in full evidence here, as Lott illuminates the ordinary landscape of grief and reminds us that light always overcomes the darkness.

--- Reviewed by Cindy Crosby. (...)

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