Songs Without Words by Ann Packer
(Vintage Contemporaries)

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Ann Packer’s debut novel, The Dive from Clausen’s Pier, was a nationwide bestseller that established her as one of our most gifted chroniclers of the interior lives of women. Now, in her long-awaited second novel, she takes us on a journey into a lifelong friendship pushed to the breaking point.
Liz and Sarabeth were childhood neighbors in the suburbs of northern California, brought as close as sisters by the suicide of Sarabeth’s mother when the girls were just sixteen. In the decades that followed–through Liz’s marriage and the birth of her children, through Sarabeth’s attempts to make a happy life for herself despite the shadow cast by her mother’s act–their relationship remained a source of continuity and strength. But when Liz’s adolescent daughter enters dangerous waters that threaten to engulf the family, the fault lines in the women’s friendship are revealed, and both Liz and Sarabeth are forced to reexamine their most deeply held beliefs about their connection. Songs Without Words is about the sometimes confining roles we take on in our closest relationships, about the familial myths that shape us both as children and as parents, and about the limits–and the power–of the friendships we create when we are young.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

About Ann Packer

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Ann Packer is the author of two best-selling novels, Songs Without Words and The Dive from Clausen's Pier, the latter of which received a Great Lakes Book Award, an American Library Association Award, and the Kate Chopin Literary Award. Her short fiction and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, The Washington Post, Vogue, and Real Simple. Also the author of Mendocino and Other Stories, she lives in northern California with her family.
Published September 4, 2007 by Vintage. 386 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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While she confined herself to the first-person narrator’s point of view in her bestselling first novel, here the author persuasively enters the heads of five different people in northern California: Liz and Sarabeth, best friends since the suicide of Sarabeth’s mother 30 years ago;

Sep 03 2007 | Read Full Review of Songs Without Words (Vintage ...

The New York Times

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In Ann Packer’s ladylike, man-proof new novel, too much of the focus is given to the pedestrian, domestic details about her characters.

Sep 07 2007 | Read Full Review of Songs Without Words (Vintage ...

The New York Times

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In 2002, at the time of the release of “The Dive From Clausen’s Pier,” Packer explained in an interview on the literary blog that she suspected she had been moved to write the book because she was “thinking about how people cope with both the unthinkable tragedies that happen in life...

Sep 09 2007 | Read Full Review of Songs Without Words (Vintage ...

Book Reporter

Sarabeth, her friend from across the street --- who came to live with Liz's family when her own mother killed herself and her father left town --- is a single freelancer who, after a year, is still mourning a failed affair with a married man.

Jan 23 2011 | Read Full Review of Songs Without Words (Vintage ...

AV Club

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(The only character she doesn't get into is Joe, Liz's 13-year-old son, but the book doesn't suffer for that.) More crucially, the internal views let readers experience Liz and Sarabeth's thoughts in the same unsympathetic framework, as the once-close friends drift apart on their separate trails ...

Sep 20 2007 | Read Full Review of Songs Without Words (Vintage ...

Bookmarks Magazine

Liesl Schillinger Los Angeles Times 2 of 5 Stars "The psychology is skin-deep, but Packer writes about adult female friendship with a nuanced understanding of its emotional intensity.

Oct 05 2007 | Read Full Review of Songs Without Words (Vintage ...

Tucson Citizen

In 2010, a power surge fried a server that contained all of videos linked to dozens of stories in this archive.

Sep 20 2007 | Read Full Review of Songs Without Words (Vintage ...

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