I'll Take You There by Wally Lamb
A Novel

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What is bothersome are not the conclusions, but the way “I’ll Take You There” takes you there. Lamb relies on visions of ghosts in an old movie theater and time travel that seem unnecessary and distracting.
-Star Tribune

Synopsis

In this radiant homage to the resiliency, strength, and power of women, Wally Lamb—author of numerous New York Times bestselling novels including She’s Come Undone, I Know This Much is True, and We Are Water—weaves an evocative, deeply affecting tapestry of one Baby Boomer's life and the trio of unforgettable women who have changed it.

 

I’ll Take You There centers on Felix, a film scholar who runs a Monday night movie club in what was once a vaudeville theater. One evening, while setting up a film in the projectionist booth, he’s confronted by the ghost of Lois Weber, a trailblazing motion picture director from Hollywood’s silent film era. Lois invites Felix to revisit—and in some cases relive—scenes from his past as they are projected onto the cinema’s big screen.

 

In these magical movies, the medium of film becomes the lens for Felix to reflect on the women who profoundly impacted his life. There’s his daughter Aliza, a Gen Y writer for New York Magazine who is trying to align her post-modern feminist beliefs with her lofty career ambitions; his sister, Frances, with whom he once shared a complicated bond of kindness and cruelty; and Verna, a fiery would-be contender for the 1951 Miss Rheingold competition, a beauty contest sponsored by a Brooklyn-based beer manufacturer that became a marketing phenomenon for two decades. At first unnerved by these ethereal apparitions, Felix comes to look forward to his encounters with Lois, who is later joined by the spirits of other celluloid muses.

 

Against the backdrop of a kaleidoscopic convergence of politics and pop culture, family secrets, and Hollywood iconography, Felix gains an enlightened understanding of the pressures and trials of the women closest to him, and of the feminine ideals and feminist realities that all women, of every era, must face.

 

 

About Wally Lamb

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Wally Lamb is the author of four previous novels, including the New York Times and national bestseller, The Hour I First Believed and Wishin' and Hopin', a bestselling novella. His first two works of fiction, She's Come Undone and I Know This Much Is True, were both number one New York Times bestsellers and selections of Oprah's Book Club. He is the editor of Couldn't Keep It To Myself and I'll Fly Away, two 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 fifteen years. He lives in Connecticut with his wife, Christine. The Lambs are the parents of three sons.
 
Published November 22, 2016 by Harper. 272 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for I'll Take You There
All: 2 | Positive: 0 | Negative: 2

Kirkus

Below average
on Oct 10 2016

There’s a novel in here somewhere, buried under film trivia, corny commentary, a convoluted premise, and a 17-page article about the Miss Rheingold contest.

Read Full Review of I'll Take You There: A Novel | See more reviews from Kirkus

Star Tribune

Below average
Reviewed by Jim Spencer on Nov 18 2016

What is bothersome are not the conclusions, but the way “I’ll Take You There” takes you there. Lamb relies on visions of ghosts in an old movie theater and time travel that seem unnecessary and distracting.

Read Full Review of I'll Take You There: A Novel | See more reviews from Star Tribune

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