“If only …” thinks Will Lament. “If only I had paid more attention to the twins, they would not have ...” “If only I had not been born in Rhodesia, Dawn would not think …” “If only my family would stay in one place, we could …” “If only I had a normal family, I could …”
“If only Will knew the family secret …” thinks the reader of The Laments by George Hagen. Will’s father and mother do not want to tell him too soon, before he will understand, so they drag him from Rhodesia to Bahrain back to Rhodesia then to England and on to New Jersey. They never fit in, never make real friends, and never stop looking for better opportunities on new continents. They are lovable dreamers who never appreciate what they have.
Using a portable CD player and headphones, I listened to most of The Laments while gardening. I broke the quiet of the garden with my laughter several times, as the Laments continued to suffer the most bizarre accidents. The author mixes comedy with tragedy very well in this novel. If only you would read it, you could laugh, too.
Hagen, George. The Laments: A Novel. New York: Random House, 2004. ISBN 1400062217
Unabridged compact discs. Santa Ana, CA: Books on Tape, 2004. ISBN 1415901244