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A stunning epic from international bestseller Douglas Kennedy

‘[Kennedy] possesses a Hitchcockian approach to this narrative hub; tension and twists are administered in equal measure . . . The ordinary becomes, through his careful plotting, extraordinary.’ - Independent on Sunday

“All families are secret societies. Realms of intrigue and internal warfare, governed by their own rules . . .”

It’s 1980s New York. Heady, excessive times. Alice Burns - a young book editor - is deep into a manuscript about the morass of family life. The observations resonates, perhaps because she has just watched her own family implode.

As she reads she wonders: When did the sadness start? And could it be that unhappiness is a choice?

Thus begins a great American epic which follows Alice as she navigates high school bullying, first love and sexism at an elite college, a spell in 1970's Ireland, and a tragedy that sends her stateside as the US embraces a cowboy actor named Reagan. But it is also the tale of her endlessly complex parents and brothers; how their destinies are written by the lies they tell themselves and others.

The Great Wide Open is an immensely ambitious and compulsive saga; a novel which will speak volumes to anyone who has marvelled at that pain that can only be caused by family itself.
‘In his fast-paced, engrossing novels Douglas Kennedy always has his brilliant finger on the entertaining parts of human sorrow, fury, and narrow escapes.’ - Lorrie Moore

‘Kennedy's skill is to send you racing down the slope of sheer story.’ - Esquire

Reviews

Has a strangely mesmerising effect . . . absolutely excellent.

New Statesman

This novel is a page-turner with a relentless pace

Kate Saunders, The Times

Kennedy is skilled at zigzag plotting, blending domestic twists with turns created by global affairs.

Observer

An ambitious tale from a reliably compelling story teller.

Sunday Mirror

Douglas Kennedy sensitively engages with issues that still affect America to this day and creates a story with realism and heart

Woman's Weekly

A tale of intrigue, secrecy and love stories with heart stopping twists

Yours Magazine

Love, loss and extreme family dysfunction abound in this epic narrative

Saga Magazine

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Formats & editions

  • Trade Paperback

    9780091953737

    February 5, 2019

    Hutchinson

    592 pages

    RRP $37.00

    Online retailers

    • Fishpond
    • Mighty Ape
    • Paper Plus
    • The Warehouse
    • Whitcoulls
    • The Nile
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • The Great Wide Open
    Douglas Kennedy

    Hardback

    9781786331694

    February 15, 2019

    Hutchinson

    592 pages

    RRP $55.00

    Online retailers

    • Fishpond
    • Mighty Ape
    • Paper Plus
    • The Warehouse
    • Whitcoulls
    • The Nile
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook

    9781448165186

    January 24, 2019

    Cornerstone Digital

    592 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks NZ
    • Amazon Kindle NZ
    • Google Play EBook NZ
    • Kobo
    • Booktopia NZ

Extract

All families are secret societies. Realms of intrigue and internal warfare, governed by their own rules, regulations, boundaries, frontiers. Rules which often make no sense to those outside its borders. We prize the family more than any other communal unit because it is the essential cornerstone of social order. When the external world turns harsh and unforgiving – when outsiders who have intersected with our lives disappoint and even maim us – the family is supposed to be the shelter toward which we are magnetically pulled. The repository of comfort and joy.

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