The Bar Harbor Retirement Home for Famous Writers (and Their Muses)

The Bar Harbor Retirement Home for Famous Writers (and Their Muses)

A Novel

eBook - 2018
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A whimsical, moving novel about a retirement home for literary legends who spar, conjure up new stories, and almost magically change the lives of the people around them.Alfonse Carducci was a literary giant who lived his life to excess—lovers, alcohol, parties, and literary rivalries. But now he's come to the Bar Harbor Home for the Elderly to spend the remainder of his days among kindred spirits: the publishing industry's nearly gone but never forgotten greats. Only now, at the end of his life, does he comprehend the price of appeasing every desire, and the consequences of forsaking love to pursue greatness. For Alfonse has an unshakeable case of writer's block that distresses him much more than his precarious health.Set on the water in one of New England's most beautiful locales, the Bar Harbor Home was established specifically for elderly writers needing a place to live out their golden years—or final days—in understated luxury and surrounded by congenial literary company. A faithful staff of nurses and orderlies surround the writers, and are drawn into their orbit, as they are forced to reckon with their own life stories. Among them are Cecibel Bringer, a young woman who knows first-hand the cost of chasing excess. A terrible accident destroyed her face and her sister in a split-second decision that Cecibel can never forgive, though she has tried to forget. Living quietly as an orderly, refusing to risk again the cost of love, Cecibel never anticipated the impact of meeting her favorite writer, Alfonse Carducci—or the effect he would have on her existence. In Cecibel, Alfonse finds a muse who returns him to the passion he thought he lost. As the words flow from him, weaving a tale taken up by the other residents of the Pen, Cecibel is reawakened to the idea of love and forgiveness. As the edges between story and reality blur, a world within a world is created. It's a place where the old are made young, the damaged are made whole, and anything is possible....
Publisher: [S.l.] : HarperCollins, 2018
ISBN: 9780062742698
Branch Call Number: EBOOK
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Additional Contributors: Cloud Library

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MB_kcls
Apr 11, 2019

While the story, and the tale within the story, were as engaging as the main characters, I found 'The Bar Harbor Retirement Home for Famous Writers' easier to 'get into' than to finish. I think Cecibel's history should have been fleshed out earlier and certainly in greater depth, given that she's so pivotal to all the main characters who we get to know so well in their current lives, their past and their motivations. Cecibel, eh, not so much and it's too disappointing.

The comments by another kcls reviewer, said it far better than I ever could: "I think the author spends too much time trying to weave in mysteries and less time developing well-rounded characters. I give the author kudos for trying to include twists and turns but they feel in-organic. Instead of drawing the reader in, they push the reader out and made me question why they had even been included- they seem like more of an afterthought than a necessary part of the narrative."

3 stars mid C for a good book, but one that is not 'unputdownable'.

a
AnneCarolineDrake
Aug 02, 2018

I rarely buy a book after I've checked it out of the library. I'm buying this one.

Since I'm approaching my 70th birthday, the book spoke to me. It is about literary giants at the end of their lives together in a mansion on the shores of Bar Harbor, Maine. They have fame, but no family except for each other. Cecibel (strange name) was disfigured in a car accident. She's an ardent fan of Alfonse Carducci, who has come to the "Pen" to die.

The Pen was falling apart when Dr. Cornelius Traegar, a literary agent who became a physician, bought and restored it. Alfonse was his protege and lover. The good doctor set him free to achieve literary acclaim and live a selfish, hedonistic life. Meanwhile, Dr. Traegar embraced into the safe haven that was the Pen a staff of young people who had been dealt a rugged hand. His beloved Alfonse didn't return until his own final days.

Cecibel becomes his muse. He pens his final story in collaboration with the other esteemed writers and their editor. The author weaves together the stories of the writers with the love story they penned together. Both stories spring from the cliche: If you love someone very, very much, let it go free. If it doesn't come back, it wasn't meant to be.

l
looneym
Jul 25, 2018

I think the premise, and the novel-within-the-novel, are interesting if not not a little too simple on their own. I wanted more of the secondary novel and felt that they both fell a little flat. The characters are enjoyable, if not a little one-dimensional. I think the author spends too much time trying to weave in mysteries and less time developing well-rounded characters. I give the author kudos for trying to include twists and turns but they feel in-organic. Instead of drawing the reader in, they push the reader out and made me question why they had even been included- they seem like more of an afterthought than a necessary part of the narrative.

Overall, I think it's a cute story that has a lot of potential. However, I was left wanting much more from the story and felt like I had more questions that answers at the end.

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