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Allen Eskens The Life We Bury

Last updated: June 18, 2019


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Product Details

In our analysis of 59 expert reviews, the Allen Eskens The Life We Bury placed 7th when we looked at the top 10 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

From The Manufacturer

A USA Today bestseller and book club favorite! College student Joe Talbert has the modest goal of completing a writing assignment for an English class. His task is to interview a stranger and write a brief biography of the person. With deadlines looming, Joe heads to a nearby nursing home to find a willing subject. There he meets Carl Iverson, and soon nothing in Joe’s life is ever the same. Carl is a dying Vietnam veteran–and a convicted murderer. With only a few months to live, he has been medically paroled to a nursing home, after spending thirty years in prison for the crimes of rape and murder. As Joe writes about Carl’s life, especially Carl’s valor in Vietnam, he cannot reconcile the heroism of the soldier with the despicable acts of the convict. Joe, along with his skeptical female neighbor, throws himself into uncovering the truth, but he is hamstrung in his efforts by having to deal with his dangerously dysfunctional mother, the guilt of leaving his autistic brother vulnerable, and a haunting childhood memory. Thread by thread, Joe unravels the tapestry of Carl’s conviction. But as he and Lila dig deeper into the circumstances of the crime, the stakes grow higher. Will Joe discover the truth before it’s too late to escape the fallout?

Expert Reviews


What reviewers liked

The book is a must read. It’s a story that will move you to tears and renew your faith in the human race.
Eskens’ debut is a solid and thoughtful tale of a young man used to taking on burdens beyond his years—none more dangerous than championing a bitter old man convicted of a horrific crime.
Allan Eskens’ compulsively suspenseful first novel reveals that guilt takes many forms —and that getting the story right is essential.
All the emotions felt by the characters are strongly evoked, making the reader believe them. The case took many twists and turns leading to its resolve. In all, a well-written debut.
THE LIFE WE BURY is a perfectly blended literary cocktail —although you’ll be tempted, don’t consume it too quickly. This one is to be savored.
The pacing could be set to a metronome and the style is clean and accessible.
I absolutely adored THE LIFE WE BURY and I couldn't put it down. I appreciated the characters (I kind of loved Joe!), and I thought the pace of the story was outstanding.
The Life We Bury ends up being very readable, with characters that stay with you for a while after you put the book down.

What reviewers didn't like

The mystery here isn’t the strongest in the world, and the coincidence fairy shows up a time or two to help move things along.
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