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Extended Audio Sample That Old Cape Magic: A Novel Audiobook, by Richard Russo Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (8,997 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Richard Russo Narrator: Arthur Morey Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2009 ISBN: 9780739318935
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For Griffin, all paths, all memories, converge at Cape Cod.  The Cape is where he took his childhood summer vacations, where he and his wife, Joy, honeymooned, where they decided he’d leave his LA screenwriting job to become a college professor, and where they celebrated the marriage of their daughter Laura’s best friend. But when their beloved Laura’s wedding takes place a year later, Griffin is caught between chauffeuring his mother’s and father’s ashes in two urns and contending with Joy and her large, unruly family. Both he and she have also brought dates along. How in the world could this have happened?
 
By turns hilarious, rueful, and uplifting, That Old Cape Magic is a profoundly involving novel about marriage, family, and all the other ties that bind.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Suffused with Russo’s signature comic sensibility, and with insights, by turns tender and tough, about human frailty, forbearance, fortitude, and fervor. Glenn C. Altschuler, The Boston Globe
  • Family, family, family is the subject of That Old Cape Magic [with] a complicated skein of plotlines, deep connection to place, and affection for the large cast of characters who blunder and struggle through his pages. Roxanna Robinson, The New York Times Book Review
  • “A touching portrait of smart people spinning their wheels. Christopher Borrelli, Chicago Tribune
  • Utterly charming. If you always cry at weddings, you’ll cry at this–and laugh, too…Russo has written a novel for people who are terrified of becoming their parents, which is to say for everybody [and it] seems especially intimate, a dyspeptic romantic comedy from a Pulitzer Prize winner who catches the bittersweet humor of our common neuroses…It’s a marvelous portrayal of the strands of affection and irritation that run through a family, entangling in-laws and children’s crushes and even old friends. Ron Charles, The Washington Post
  • “A comic yet thoughtful take on marriage…But amid the humor, it raises questions about the complications we inherit and the ones we build for ourselves. Bob Minzesheimer, USA Today
  • When we finish reading That Old Cape Magic, we know we’ll start rereading it soon. And that the characters will come to mind at the most unpredictable times. We will stay on speaking terms with them more than we do with some of our real-life cousins. Betsy Willeford, The Miami Herald
  • A recipe for laying ghosts to rest [and] a tale about love requited and unrequited. Finally, it is a big-hearted book about real, complex relationships that are an utterly fascinating mix of the two. Rosemary Herbert, Bangor Daily News
  • His most intimate yet: an astute portrait of a 30-year marriage, in all its promise and pain…His honest, heartfelt storytelling–like a cooling breeze off a certain New England shoreline–has never felt fresher. Andrew Abrahams, People
  • Wryly funny…An impressively expansive analysis of familial dynamics between not only spouses but also in-laws, parents and children…It’s Russo all the same, and his many fans are sure to savor the journey. Joanne Wilkinson, Booklist
  • In one of America’s most mythic landscapes, Russo details one man’s shaky first steps out of his past and into self-knowledge with good humor, generosity, and an open heart. Pam Houston, O, The Oprah Magazine

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marcia | 2/19/2014

    " Really enjoyed it! Some parts made me laugh out loud!! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mike Herzing | 2/10/2014

    " Liked Bridge of Sighs and Empire Falls much better. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stefanie Lubkowski | 2/8/2014

    " This book was enjoyable, but felt like an easy assemblage of Russo tropes. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Courtney | 2/5/2014

    " I love how Russo writes, however I think this book was intended for an older person. Maybe I'll read it again when I'm 50-something. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jeanne Palermo | 2/3/2014

    " Okay but not up to par with his previous books. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tamlyn | 2/1/2014

    " Good book. I liked the character development. The setting added a whole other character to the book. Good ending as well. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Barbara Fisher | 1/30/2014

    " Not as good as Russo's previous books.....reads more like an Anne Tyler novel. But funny, sympathetic characters as always. Definitely worth reading for Russo fans. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ruthanne Davis | 1/29/2014

    " Excellent read. Poignant and hysterically funny in parts...just like real life. Would make a great movie. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jean Kuper | 1/22/2014

    " This book was tough to get through. The plot was cheesy and the characters weren't likeable. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Leigh Vosler | 1/11/2014

    " Fun Book. Great Character development "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Julia | 12/25/2013

    " All of Russo's protagonists are the same person with slightly (and I mean slightly) different demographics. Still, he manages to capture some slightly different bit of humanity in each of them and that makes them worth reading. This wasn't his best but it was like-able anyway. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cynthia | 12/22/2013

    " Not much of a plot. Enjoyable read, but not a very fast page turner. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michael Malone | 12/3/2013

    " Funny, insightful, acerbic...Russo gets a great read on how humans think and what drives their behavior. Bonus point of you spend time in Cape Cod. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Aly | 11/29/2013

    " Not my favorite Russo, but I always think he's a pretty good read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Petrea | 10/22/2012

    " Middle aged man coming to terms with his parents. Well written, some language, vivid characters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Agnes | 8/14/2012

    " Good novel of the foibles of these families. Always enjoy Russo's writing as he is so real in descriptions and happenings in lives of his characters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Wendy Van Peenan | 6/26/2012

    " I liked it ... probably as much due to the setting (Cape Cod) as the story ... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rosanne | 5/23/2012

    " My first read by Ricahrd Russo, he is a fantastic storyteller. It is amazing, just like in real life, his characters remembered and disremembered their lives so differently. Sometimes we think we want something only to realize what we want is what we already have. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Meghan Barkett | 4/22/2012

    " I love Richard Russo. This is a sobering, yet hopeful look at marriage. I love the humanity in his books. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jennifer Phelps | 1/11/2012

    " Did not think this was one of his stronger books. There were some funny parts, but none of the characters were very likable. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bev Ness | 10/28/2011

    " "That Old Cape Magic" by Richard Russo is the story of one late-middle-age man, Jack Griffin, and the crisis that unexpectedly hits his life when his elderly parents start to die. The book is a joy to read, but falls just a little shy of the author's usual greatness. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Paige Newman | 7/23/2011

    " Wow, a shocking not very good Russo book. I didn't know he could write a poor novel. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Andy Sinkleris | 7/10/2011

    " A light, fun, work from Russo that has some moments of family hysteria. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sandra | 5/17/2011

    " Sometimes dysfunction adds depth to a story--but this one was just dysfunctional. Maybe it was me, but this book was just a bit sad--to no end. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mark | 5/15/2011

    " Not finished yet, intriguing, strong characterisation as always with Mr Russo.
    "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Anne | 5/12/2011

    " Passively written. I hate to say it because I enjoyed Mr. Russo's previous books, but this one put me to sleep. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Robin | 5/10/2011

    " I was pleasantly delighted with this nuanced story of the mysteries of the human heart. Russo writes with a richness and understanding of his flawed characters that allows the reader to simultaneously sympathize and cringe.
    Best wedding scene ever. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Donna | 4/25/2011

    " I loved all his very human characters and was sometimes laughing out loud. Near the end, there's a wedding rehearsal dinner scene that would trump all the movie wedding mishaps I've seen. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jana | 4/24/2011

    " Story of a midlife crisis. Poignant, beautiful, and ultimately sad. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Katie | 4/18/2011

    " Not my favorite Russo book, but interesting none the less.

    Story of a 50s-something professor, who tries to sort out the impact his parents had on his life and his marriage.

    ps A few too many f's for me. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Chris | 4/14/2011

    " Richard Russo is always good company whether you are reading his novels or listening to them while driving, which was the case for me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kate | 4/13/2011

    " Warm-hearted and funny, with serious undertones, like so much of Russo's work. A wonderful portrait of the bittersweet realities of marriage and parenthood. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cydney | 4/12/2011

    " a good look at mid life "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lois | 4/6/2011

    " A great read for those of us that have parents that are reaching the age that they our help. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marge | 4/6/2011

    " An occasionally hilarious and ultimately loving tale of dysfunctional family. So he carried his dead parent's ashes around in the trunk of his car for over a year.... Nothing weird about that! "

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About the Author
Author Richard Russo

Richard Russo is the author of Empire Falls, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. He also wrote the screenplay for the HBO miniseries adapted from Empire Falls. He is also the author (and coscreenwriter) of Nobody’s Fool, which was made into a major film starring Paul Newman. He lives in Camden, Maine, and Boston with his wife.

About the Narrator

Arthur Morey graduated from Harvard and did graduate work at the University of Chicago. He has won awards for his fiction and drama, worked as an editor with several book publishers, and taught literature and writing at Northwestern University. As a narrator, he has received nineteen AudioFile Earphones Awards and been a finalist for the prestigious Audie Award.