Official Review: Quebec: A Novel by Tim Castano

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Cecilia_L
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Official Review: Quebec: A Novel by Tim Castano

Post by Cecilia_L »

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Quebec: A Novel" by Tim Castano.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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Quebec: A Novel by Tim Castano is a poignant narrative of a man in his thirties who is simultaneously coping with his mother's Alzheimer's disease and an unforeseen divorce. Just as he must learn to navigate the challenges of being newly single during the latter stages of his mother's illness, the mother and son are also learning to reframe their relationship as her disease progresses. Over the years, his mother has visited the Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré to pray for guidance. Trying to rebuild his life and hoping for direction, he travels to Quebec to visit the shrine that has been a source of comfort to his mother. "My mother had granted me a gift, a lifetime of devotion captured in a message she no longer could deliver."

This bittersweet first-person narrative is well written and exceptionally edited. Castano writes with self-deprecating humor and traverses themes of family, sorrow, guilt, regret, hope, resilience, faith, understanding, and devotion. He skillfully balances the range of emotions and sometimes seemingly random musings associated with the pain of divorce and the grief related to the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Castano nails many of the awkward firsts after divorce, such as answering the endless stream of questions and the fear of disappointing parents and family. Although the book is fiction, the snippets of dialogue between mother and son have the authenticity of someone who has dealt with Alzheimer's disease or dementia:

"Do I know your mother?"
"Actually, you are my mother."
"I am?"
"You are."
"I didn't know that. How long have I been your mother?"
"For as long as I can remember."
"That's amazing. Really?"
"Really."

I particularly like Castano's portrayal of the son's tenderness with his mother. Through the engaging narrative, the author realistically conveys the son's willingness to adapt on his mother's behalf; learning not to correct her lapses in memory and seeking new ways to bond has been as much of a journey as accepting the illness itself. I also enjoyed Castano's creative inclusion of music throughout the story from Lou Rawls to Frank Sinatra. It is as though the reader is treated to the story's soundtrack, whether the mother and son are connecting through a song or a particular piece reflects his melancholy. Interestingly, other than references to Mom and Dad, only the musicians are mentioned by name.

As I can find nothing to highlight for improvement, I am pleased to rate Quebec 4 out of 4 stars. I recommend the engaging read to those who appreciate humorous first-person narratives. It will also appeal to music lovers, newly divorced readers, and those navigating Alzheimer's disease or dementia with loved ones. The book contains no profanity.

******
Quebec: A Novel
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funmilayo_h
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Post by funmilayo_h »

I could almost feel what a beautiful relationship the story teller must have with his mother from the review...and its something I'll love to see( or read). And you giving it a 4 out of 4 makes it more appealing.
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Post by Elvis Best »

This book sounds like a real life story, although it's fiction. I'd love to read about how the relationship between the mom and son progresses.
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Post by Teddyquam »

This reminds me of a movie I watched called 'Still Alice'. Also has a plot surrounded around dementia. A very heartbreaking disease for the person losing themselves and the ones losing them. I would recommend anyone intrigued by the review to also watch the aforementioned movie (trust me).
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Post by Wuoketch »

I love the relationship that the author has with the mother. I will read this book. Great review.
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Post by Cecilia_L »

funmilayo_h wrote: 14 Jun 2020, 03:11 I could almost feel what a beautiful relationship the story teller must have with his mother from the review...and its something I'll love to see( or read). And you giving it a 4 out of 4 makes it more appealing.
Thank you! :tiphat:
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Cecilia_L
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Post by Cecilia_L »

Ekabajong wrote: 14 Jun 2020, 05:48 This book sounds like a real life story, although it's fiction. I'd love to read about how the relationship between the mom and son progresses.
Thanks for your comment.
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Cecilia_L
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Post by Cecilia_L »

Teddyquam wrote: 14 Jun 2020, 08:32 This reminds me of a movie I watched called 'Still Alice'. Also has a plot surrounded around dementia. A very heartbreaking disease for the person losing themselves and the ones losing them. I would recommend anyone intrigued by the review to also watch the aforementioned movie (trust me).
Thanks for sharing.
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Cecilia_L
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Post by Cecilia_L »

Wuoketch wrote: 14 Jun 2020, 09:35 I love the relationship that the author has with the mother. I will read this book. Great review.
Thank you!
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Post by juliet nidhan »

We all have families and it is good that despite everything the man castano portrays in his writing supports his mother although she is sick and I love the review of this book,and would consider reading it.
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Post by sirbobthewise »

This has so many fantastic aspects to it. A family member of mine passed from Alzheimer’s, so I can deeply relate to that conversation. The son’s tenderness is beautiful, but the pain from the loss of recognition can also be felt. Fantastic review!
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Post by Samgum50 »

Great review! I'm definitely adding this to my book shelves.
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Post by Joseph_ngaruiya »

I have to commend the author for choosing the book cover artwork. Anyone getting this book will have to find a review before they are opinionated. Alzheimer's disease steals the joy of many families. I can tell from your notes that the author was able to get you empathetic.
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Post by Cecilia_L »

juliet nidhan wrote: 14 Jun 2020, 14:44 We all have families and it is good that despite everything the man castano portrays in his writing supports his mother although she is sick and I love the review of this book,and would consider reading it.
Thank you, Juliet.
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Cecilia_L
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Post by Cecilia_L »

sirbobthewise wrote: 14 Jun 2020, 20:08 This has so many fantastic aspects to it. A family member of mine passed from Alzheimer’s, so I can deeply relate to that conversation. The son’s tenderness is beautiful, but the pain from the loss of recognition can also be felt. Fantastic review!
Thank you. I appreciate your comment.
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