The Hour I First Believed: A Novel (Paperback)
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New York Times Bestseller
The profound and compelling story of a personal quest for meaning and faith from Wally Lamb, #1 New York Times bestselling author of She’s Come Undone and I Know This Much Is True
“The beauty of The Hour I First Believed, a soaring novel as amazingly graceful as the classic hymn that provides the title, is that Lamb never loses sight of the spark of human resilience. . . . Lamb’s wonderful novel offers us the promise and power of hope.”
When 47-year-old high school teacher Caelum Quirk and his younger wife, Maureen, a school nurse, move to Littleton, Colorado, they both get jobs at Columbine High School. In April 1999, Caelum returns home to Connecticut to be with his aunt who has just had a stroke. But Maureen finds herself in the school library at Columbine, cowering in a cabinet and expecting to be killed, as two vengeful students go on a murderous rampage. Miraculously she survives, but at a cost: she is unable to recover from the trauma. Caelum and Maureen flee Colorado and return to an illusion of safety at the Quirk family farm back east. But the effects of chaos are not so easily put right, and further tragedy ensues.
In The Hour I First Believed, Wally Lamb travels well beyond his earlier work and embodies in his fiction myth, psychology, family history stretching back many generations, and the questions of faith that lie at the heart of everyday life. The result is an extraordinary tour de force, at once a meditation on the human condition and an unflinching yet compassionate evocation of character.
Wally Lamb is the author of five New York Times bestselling novels: She’s Come Undone, I Know This Much Is True, The Hour I First Believed, Wishin’ and Hopin’, and We Are Water. His first two works of fiction, She’s Come Undone and I Know This Much Is True, were both #1 New York Times bestsellers and selections of Oprah’s Book Club. Lamb edited Couldn’t Keep It to Myself, I’ll Fly Away, and You Don’t Know Me, three volumes of essays from students in his writing workshop at York Correctional Institution, a women’s prison in Connecticut, where he has been a volunteer facilitator for two decades. He lives in Connecticut and New York.
“Lamb . . . has delivered a tour de force, his best yet. A” — Entertainment Weekly
“A page-turner. . . . Lamb remains a storyteller at the top of his game.” — Craig Wilson, USA Today
“Too compelling to put down . . . a richly textured story . . . moving, funny, and completely unpredictable.” — Gail Pennington, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“Every character is rendered with vivid, utterly convincing depth. . . . A heck of a page-turner.” — Dallas Morning News
“Lamb, a maestro of orchestrating emotion . . . knows how to make his fans’ hearts sing.” — Corrie Pikul, Elle
“Wally Lamb is a remarkable talent.” — Columbus Dispatch
“Lamb has crafted another affecting, engrossing tome about complicated, interesting characters.” — Cherie Parker, Minneapolis Star Tribune
“A soaring novel as amazingly graceful as the classic hymn that provides the title” — Miami Herald
“Lamb does an extraordinary job narrating some of the most terrifying tragedies of the past 10 years....an epic journey. Grade: A.” — Rocky Mountain News
“When you put Lamb’s newest novel down, it will be reluctantly. It’s that good.” — Knoxville News-Sentinel