View Full Version : Suggestion: I Know This Much Is True

01-24-2007, 07:25 PM
Has anyone read this Wally Lamb book? Thought it was excellent - in the UK writers tend to shy away from the big novel, which is a real shame when people like John Irving, Don DeLillo and Wally Lamb do it so good.

I would also like to suggest the only real UK author that tackles similar themes on a grand scale: John Fowles, The Magus. Fantastic, would love to talk to anyone here about any of these writers.

01-24-2007, 08:33 PM
This is one of my favorites and I like it better than Sheís Come Undone. If you look at http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=52616 (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=52616) you will see it is one of the options for the AW Book Club. In my opinion, Wally Lamb is a great writer along with John Irving. I read Don Delilloís Underworld and though his writing is good I was very disappointed in the story, or lack of it.

Mud Dauber
01-25-2007, 03:12 AM
It's been a while (I read it over the summer) but yes, I loved it. In fact, I considered voting for it as this month's Book Club choice, but I'm not sure if that thread is only supposed to be for books we haven't read yet. (Btw, there's quite a difference between the length of Wally's book and The No. 1 Ladie's Dectective Agency, eh?;) ) Back to topic: GREAT book. Great characters. I got such a kick out of the grandfather's story within the story.

I have She's Come Undone in my 'waiting to be read' pile. Train, you're not the first person I've heard say that it's not as good as IKTMIT.:e2shrug:

01-25-2007, 04:10 AM
Mud Dauber, You can pick a book in the AW book club that you already read as long as you can discuss it. Donít get me wrong, Sheís Come Undone is good but for some reason I felt a connection with his characters in IKTMIT. Itís strange since Sheís Come Undone is a story about a girl/woman.

01-25-2007, 05:08 AM
Hi, Mud Dauber-- yes, please do feel free to join us for the book discussion, even if you've read the book already.

Mud Dauber
01-25-2007, 08:18 AM
I'm in!:popcorn: (That is, if Wally Lamb's book gets picked...)

01-25-2007, 11:25 PM
So, am I, where do I go? I get lost easily, I am often found wandering in markets, confused and holding a cabbage...

Soccer Mom
01-26-2007, 01:24 AM
Here's the link to the book club discussion.


Annie O
01-29-2007, 05:40 PM
I'm in - I've just purchased it today!

Annie O

01-30-2007, 12:02 AM
Yay! Glad to have you join us, Annie O!

Annie O
01-30-2007, 02:34 AM
Thank you Amy, I'm looking forward to some good reading and discussion!

Annie O

01-30-2007, 08:01 AM
I wish I could join the book club discussion but I won't have any time this month :( But I did want to chime in that I Know This Much Is True was an excelant read. Also, She's Come Undone was also a great book. I thought it wasn't going to live up to all the hype that was surronding it but it def deserved every bit of it!

03-01-2007, 09:02 AM
It's been about a month since the book group selection was announced-- I Know This Much is True. Has everyone had a chance to finish it? What did you think? Loved it, hated it? Here are a couple of questions to get started with. Please feel free to add your own.

The book is almost ten years old; does it feel dated at all?

At almost 900 pages, are there any parts of the book or storylines that you felt could or should have been cut? Or is the length just right for the story that Wally Lamb had to tell?

What did you think of the characters? Are there any that you felt a particular sympathy for?

What did you think of the ending? Do you think there could have been any peace for Dominick without Thomas' death?

Discuss! :D

Mud Dauber
03-02-2007, 07:54 PM
Okay, Amy, I'll start. Keep in mind I read it last summer so I'm not as fresh on the details as others who may have just read it.

I really loved this book, but I will admit, it took me awhile to make it through at nearly 900 pages. I remember telling my friend who read it after me (who was getting discouraged with the length) to "stick with it, you'll be so glad you did." So, to answer your question about the length, I'm undecided. I know when I got to the part (which I think was more than halfway through) where he began the story of the grandfather, Domenico, I was thinking, "what the...?" and at first, it was hard to switch gears into a completely different character's 1st person POV. As a result, I remember becoming discouraged with the length, like "Oh no! A story within the story". But that changed pretty quickly b/c the more I read, the more I developed a soft spot for Domenico. I loved his Italian dialect and old-fashioned views, and I was so happy for Dominick that he was finally getting the pieces of his past explained to him through reading it. But funny, reading as a writer (as per another thread on this board) I also recall thinking the one tell-all letter from Dominick's girlfriend (not Dessa, but the other one [can't remember her name--sorry]) rambled on quite a bit. Somehow, though, by the time I got to the end, I forgot all about that and understood why Wally Lamb had his reasons for including every single detail.

I love your last question as to whether there would have been any peace for Domick without Thomas's death... Very thought-provoking. It doesn't appear that he would have had any relief so long as his brother was alive. However, losing a brother--not to mention a twin brother--must be one of life's greatest losses, so I'm sure if Dominick's story continued on in a second book, we might learn of more angst in the long term, and perhaps learn that he wasn't at peace with his loss. But that brings me to my last comment on the book... I loved that Wally Lamb ended it with "I know this much is true." Hands down, that's my favorite ending to a novel, ever. It was perfect for Dominick's journey. Typically, I'm not a big fan of throwing the title in the novel, but this was an exception, and exactly what I needed to hear, before closing it (and finding a box of kleenex:tongue .) It gave me hope that everything would, in fact, be okay for Dominick, and that after such a tumultuous thirty-some years, things were starting to look up!

I know I've rambled and probably didn't make much sense, but hopefully this'll get things started.:D

03-05-2007, 06:57 AM
I know when I got to the part (which I think was more than halfway through) where he began the story of the grandfather, Domenico, I was thinking, "what the...?" and at first, it was hard to switch gears into a completely different character's 1st person POV.

I agree-- including that story within a story threw me too. I really didn't like it being in there, but after thinking about it a bit, I guess I'm not sure how else Lamb could have gotten that information to the reader. I also thought he'd do a bit more with Domenico Tempesta's mother-- remember how he said she'd talk to animals and scream in the middle of the night, etc.? I wondered if that was an allusion to mental illness, and that Lamb might explore the idea of heredity with Thomas' illness but he didn't.

How did you feel about the ending with Dessa and Tiffani?

03-05-2007, 06:54 PM
This is not a quick light entertaining read is it?

He's very good, this Mr Lamb (coming from the antipodes I can't call him Wally which has quite a different meaning there!) and he handles all the threads and ties them off at the end neatly if a little too pat.

He's trying to talk about the sins of the fathers inherited by their offspring and descendants so his Italian Grandfather has to be there 'in person' doesn't he? Without him we will miss out on seeing how like his grandfather in temper and stubbornness Dominic is.

It's a very rich plum pudding of a book full of so much-losing family and finding family and just a little too hopeful at the end.

I also found the analyst just too good to be true. As one who has had to see students and parents through this process I've yet to meet an analyst who would go to the lengths this one did or was without hir own strong leanings towards one theory or another, whether they fitted the patient or not.

And one sticking point: would Dominic at his age and set in his ways really have been able to turn his life around so completely? And would his ex-wife really have remarried him? She'd moved on in her life.

But that's me being cynical. It was a good read, well written and did not sink, as Irving's work does into a sort of hopeless helpless inertia.

03-17-2007, 07:50 PM
Where are all these people who insisted that this was the book we must read?

No comments?

03-18-2007, 11:05 PM
Maybe they read it so long ago it's hard to talk particulars?:Shrug:

You're right about Domenico's manuscript having to be in there-- it does highlight the similarities between Domenico and Dominic, but I think it could have been a little tighter.

As far as your question about Dominic being able to turn his life around at such a late age, I think it's possible. After going through all he went through with Thomas, especially because they were twins, I believe it could have profoundly changed him. Would his ex have re-married him in real life? Doubtful. But it does make for a nice, neat, "tied with a bow" sort of ending to the story.

Annie O
03-18-2007, 11:27 PM
Um...I have to admit that I am still trying to get through it! Certainly not a light read, is it? :e2zzz:

03-19-2007, 04:38 AM
I will try to respond to comments even though I wasnít able to re-read the book. I requested this book, so I apologize that I did not read it recently.

If I can recall correctly, the analyst was somewhat eccentric, I did not think she fit the profile of an analyst. In my opinion, she seems to think outside the box, which is not too good to be true. There are people who do not fit the mold whether we have met them or not. It happens that Wally Lamb uses this type of person as a character, one who shows compassion for Domenic and Thomas.

I donít remember Domenic completely turning his life around he did change his ways. Domenic loved and missed his ex-wife and I think through his troubles with Thomas, finding out who he really was, and the analystís dedication, Domenic was able to pull his life together - open his eyes. We get set in our ways when we age, but it does not mean we cannot change. His ex-wife moved on yet didnít seem entirely convinced herself that she moved on. There was still a connection to Domenic and she had a soft spot for Thomas. People have remarried, so it is not unbelievable.

But thatís me being optimistic. :D And I love John Irving.

07-26-2009, 04:21 PM
I finished reading this in the early hours and, well, i'm still trying to figure out how i feel about the book; so in the mean time, i was wondering what others had felt about I Know This Much is True...

07-26-2009, 04:25 PM
This is the best book ever written by anyone, anywhere, at any time, bar none.

Wally Lamb is a genius and it's my dream simply to shake his hand and thank him for writing this book. I can even forgive him the Hollywood ending.

I read the last few chapters in floods of tears.

If I ever write something one tenth as good as this, I'll die a happy woman.