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“In The Hour I First Believed, Wally Lamb captures the essence of modern America through the events of the past decade. Though sweeping, the story resonates in a powerfully intimate and personal way, at once heart-wrenching and hopeful, with characters so deeply conceived that you will think of them and their lives long after you have finished reading the book.”
— Suzy Staubach, UConn Co-op, Storrs, CT
When high school teacher Caelum Quirk and his wife, Maureen, move to Littleton, Colorado, they both get jobs at Columbine High School. In April 1999, while Caelum is away, Maureen finds herself in the library at Columbine, cowering in a cabinet and expecting to be killed. Miraculously, she survives. But when Caelum and Maureen flee to an illusion of safety on the Quirk family's Connecticut farm, they discover that the effects of chaos are not easily put right.
While Maureen fights to regain her sanity, Caelum discovers five generations' worth of diaries, letters, and newspaper clippings in his family's house. As unimaginable secrets emerge, Caelum grapples with the past and struggles to fashion a future from the ashes of tragedy. His quest for meaning is at once mythic and contemporary, personal and quintessentially American.
“Lamb . . . has delivered a tour de force, his best yet. A”
“A page-turner. . . . Lamb remains a storyteller at the top of his game.”
-Craig Wilson, USA Today
“Too compelling to put down . . . a richly textured story . . . moving, funny, and completely unpredictable.”
-Gail Pennington, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“Every character is rendered with vivid, utterly convincing depth. . . . A heck of a page-turner.”
-Dallas Morning News
“Lamb, a maestro of orchestrating emotion . . . knows how to make his fans’ hearts sing.”
-Corrie Pikul, Elle
“Wally Lamb is a remarkable talent.”
“Lamb has crafted another affecting, engrossing tome about complicated, interesting characters.”
-Cherie Parker, Minneapolis Star Tribune
“A soaring novel as amazingly graceful as the classic hymn that provides the title”
“Lamb does an extraordinary job narrating some of the most terrifying tragedies of the past 10 years....an epic journey. Grade: A.”
-Rocky Mountain News
“When you put Lamb’s newest novel down, it will be reluctantly. It’s that good.”