Above the Thunder


What is even more rare, and worth celebrating, is her compassion for her characters, her willingness to reach out into lives quite different from her own, her honesty in dealing with loss, loneliness, and grief. Manfredi demonstrates the skill and talent of a novelist with many books under her belt.

The reader is transported through the truly significant emotions that govern our days: Here, she talks about the rich characters and provocative themes in Above the Thunder. All your characters struggle with loss, yet they all in their own way refuse to surrender to it. Did that come as a surprise to you?

This is what I wanted for my characters. Your eleven-year-old heroine is such an independent and captivating girl. Where did Flynn come from?

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In the early drafts of the novel, Flynn was a fairly typical child. Her eccentricity emerged in part from her tendency to say what the others were unable or unwilling to express. How do humor and tragedy co-exist so comfortably in your writing? I think humor is a survival strategy. Some of my characters get through tragedy in moments of high comedy: Jack has his moments of giddiness; and Anna turns to an eccentric neighbor when grief becomes too much. The four main characters constitute one of the most unconventional families in fiction.

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The theme of family and belonging evolved naturally from the characters. What may be a departure is having characters that deal with grief, loss and love in unconventional ways. My work may be more sympathetic to spirituality than most contemporary American fiction. One of the characters in Above the Thunder explores grief, loss, and love by talking to the dead, reviewing other lives, and having visions.

About Above the Thunder A wary, middle-aged widow numbed by loss and disappointment. Inspired by Your Browsing History. Looking for More Great Reads?

Above the Thunder

Why does she never bother to get help to improve her relationship with her daughter, get that daughter the help she needs, or get therapy to deal with her granddaughter's obvious childhood delusional schizophrenia? There are many other issues in the novel that are badly answered, treated or explained.

Is that supposed to deliver a message about real-life people's actions being hard to explain or unclear at times? Still, it seems weird and out-of-character. There is also a strange lack of affect in the different characters' reactions to very dramatic and emotional happenings in the novel. Are these people all autistic or sociopaths?

I enjoyed the writing, which somehow did drew me in and made me want to finish reading the novel, but I'm still unsure about how much I liked it or appreciate it. Feb 11, Lisa rated it liked it. I don't know how to feel about this book. The writing style was excellent even with the various typos missed in editing. It was different than I expected plot twist but I could have done without some of the gay sex information. Author left some issues unresolved with the reader having unanswered questions at the end of the book. I'd much rather read a book with an element of hope threaded throughout.

Most of the story was dreary. Would have loved more character information regarding Violet, Anna's neighbor lady in Maine. Greta's friendship with Anna did not seem sincere. I did not see Anna having any real "depth of character" and she seemed a bit flaky overall. Not enough solid information regarding the marriage between Anna and Hugh.

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I loved Flynn but there should have been more exploration regarding her hallucinations or confirmation if she was seeing the "spirit world. However, all this being said, I would not hesitate to read another of Ms. Manfredi's books in the future! Sep 26, Celeste rated it really liked it. Excellent writing and well-developed characters in a story that brings together several lonely people. The granddaughter was a little too far-fetched, and I wouldn't recommend this book to someone looking for a pick-me-up despite the fact that it has hopeful and life-confirming moments.

Aug 12, Barbara rated it it was amazing. Feb 05, Polly rated it really liked it. It's at least six months since I actually finished this book so I'll try to give it a worthy review but it might not be of much use to anyone! This book was unusual - it kind of unfolded, and unfolded some more The main character is a mature lady Anna whose husband Hugh has passed away - she seems reluctant to It's at least six months since I actually finished this book so I'll try to give it a worthy review but it might not be of much use to anyone!

The main character is a mature lady Anna whose husband Hugh has passed away - she seems reluctant to move on, and in that I felt much sympathy for her. She is not close to her daughter for whom I felt the opposite of sympathy - she seemed a selfish, troubled person and if we were meant to empathise with her, find fault with her mother or find excuses for her behaviour then the book failed to render that within me!

But that's just me! As for the poor granddaughter, a funny and clearly also very troubled child - well that was a different matter. The little girl, named Flynn, whilst slightly irritating at first soon grows in your heart. And the relationship she develops with her grandmother although imperfect is touching at times and you have real hopes for a beautiful future. In fact, really, the reader ends up having really high hopes for the entire make-shift family.

You see, Anna, also meets an arrogant gay man, Jack, and his devoted partner, Stuart, through the AIDs support group she is reluctantly running, and along with her granddaughter and son-in-law this group and, in part, her slightly loopy but lovable next-door neighbour form a 'family' in her house. I questioned what kind of a person would stand by Jack - in Stuart's shoes could I really forgive, love, and then stand by and watch the love of my life slowly give in to the clutches of early death. Yes, there is certainly no rose-tinted view, picket fences and Brady children here.

Above the Thunder

But yet, as previously mentioned, the author does not go far enough to make the reader completely lose hope for these characters. Which is actually perhaps the most devastating thing about this book! For what can become of Jack who has AIDs as a result of his constant cheating on Stuart, and what is the cure for Flynn, a child with such disturbing thoughts and questions? And yet I found myself thinking it would all work out ok - especially as the group's ties to one another become ever tighter.

But that is maybe a reflection of my personality! It was certainly an interesting journey and I remember liking It also gave the story the slight lift that it needed, without reducing the realism that makes it so very poignant, and full of impact. There is insight and wisdom in this book, and also some moments of dry humour.

Not an easy read, but definitely a worthwhile one if you don't mind things getting a bit depressing in your reading time. May 28, Michelle rated it liked it. I did enjoy this book.

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I found it really hard to get into at first because it just didn't really pull you in with anything in particular. But the good news was that it actually did get better and at one point I felt like I just wanted to go meet the characters and go to a party and hang out with them and get to know this weird little entagled group of people.

I would recommend this book to someone who truly thinks it looks interesting, but I'm not going to lie and tell you that it's a great read I did enjoy this book.

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I would recommend this book to someone who truly thinks it looks interesting, but I'm not going to lie and tell you that it's a great read for everyone out there. If you think it looks good, then go for it, if not then you might want to try something else. Good luck either way! I read this book quite a few years ago and enjoyed it a lot. I found it in our library book sale it is probably the one I read years ago and so now I own a copy. It is an amazing novel - especially as it was the author's first!

The book covers a lot of interesting topics e. Amazing that it is all packed into a book of less than pages! The characters a I read this book quite a few years ago and enjoyed it a lot. The characters are vivid and unforgettable. It really is one of my favourite books of all time. Jun 23, Kara rated it really liked it Shelves: This book is very depressing and very, very good. I admit that I didn't read this book when I was necessarily in the best situations, so I had a little bit of trouble concentrating on the writing style, not to say that there was anything wrong with it.

The characters are so fascinating that you can't help not to care about them and want to know what comes next. A wonderful woven little story about family and self-discovery. Dec 15, Yvonne Leutwyler rated it liked it. The stories of the people in this book has more potential than what the author created.

I guess I didn't really enjoy her style, her prose. She is often overly descriptive of situations that make the chapters read almost like college papers than a novel. I also found some of the happenings in the book less than credible I know it's fiction, but Nov 18, Cristina rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: In Above the Thunder, Manfredi takes a look at what it means to be a family, but creating a wonderful cast of characters who meet through circumstance.

They discover that blood is not the only connection that create a familial bond. This is a wonderful look at relationships as well as the world of AIDS. Jun 28, Lisa Glase rated it liked it. Average story - but I wanted to keep reading to find out how it ended.

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Unfortunately, the end was sad, so I was disappointed. However, the author was able to demonstrate how the meaning of "family" can be so unique for each person. In that way, it was touching. Apr 26, Leesteffy rated it really liked it. More traditional writing style than i usually like, but subject matter was very interesting.

Likable but extremely flawed characters. Ending made me want to cry. Sep 11, Will Bellais rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: