Guide The Life We Bury

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With only a few months to live, he has been medically paroled to a nursing home, after spending thirty years in prison for the crimes of rape and murder. As Joe writes about Carl's life, especially Carl's valor in Vietnam, he cannot reconcile the heroism of the soldier with the despicable acts of the convict. Joe, along with his skeptical female neighbor, throws himself into uncovering the truth, but he is hamstrung in his efforts by having to deal with his dangerously dysfunctional mother, the guilt of leaving his autistic brother vulnerable, and a haunting childhood memory.

But as he and Lila dig deeper into the circumstances of the crime, the stakes grow higher. From the Trade Paperback edition. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. More Details Original Title. Joe Talbert 1 , Detective Max Rupert 1. Minnesota United States. Other Editions 5. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about The Life We Bury , please sign up. Not to complain but the actress is Farrah Fawcett, not Faucet, as in the book. Was that a typo? Sara Someone who checked this book out before me crossed it out and wrote in the correct spelling of her name!

When can we expect to have another wonderful book by this fabulous arthur to read. II can hardly wait!!! See all 17 questions about The Life We Bury…. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Let me just say that the narrator of this book is awesome! I mean 5 Star! This book is excellent in audio! Really good debut novel. Fun mystery with likeable characters and some good twists and turns. I loved Lila and Joe!

You need to be able to suspend disbelief for this one. View all comments. Nov 03, Mischenko rated it it was amazing. Loved it from beginning to end Joe, a college student, has an English assignment to complete that requires him to interview someone for a biography. Carl has an interesting background including some secrets. Everyone already knows his story, or do they? Joe and Carl are the main characters and the book focuses primarily on these two. I truly enjoyed all the characters, the plot with the twists, and the suspense. The characters are all well-written and everything felt realistic to me.


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I had to find out what the outcome would be, and for that, this will always be a favorite. View all 28 comments.

College welcomes author Allen Eskens to discuss his debut novel, The Life We Bury, Oct. 27

Apr 21, Annet rated it it was amazing Shelves: wilderness-books-can-usa , crime , wow-impressive , family-ties , dark , coming-of-age , hope. Wow, what a great book! Highly recommended: 4.

Note: just upgraded to 5 stars. Just really enjoyed this book, unusual and great story. What drew me to this book was the unusual story of a student, Joe, who has a biography assignment for his studies and decides to interview Carl Iverson, a dying Vietnam veteran and convicted murderer and rapist in a nursing home.

Fiction Book Club discussion: The Life We Bury

Carl has been released from prison because he is dying from cancer. Joe has just left his home to live near college and try an Wow, what a great book! Joe has just left his home to live near college and try and finish his studies. At home he left his alcoholic and dysfunctional mother, her abusive boyfriend and his vulnerable autistic brother Jeremy, which is really tough on him.

So there are several elements in this story, part of which is the 'crime part', where Joe is trying to figure out if Carl did the murder years ago. Great writing, great story.

MORE BY ALLEN ESKENS

Sensible, intelligent, tender, creepy at the same time. Will definitely go and find this author's other books. View all 23 comments. I listened to the audio version of The Life We Bury after a tip from a Goodreads friend who also listened to it while doing chores. While listening to this I was mostly shoveling snow which made that task a little bit more tolerable. The Life We Bury is a rewarding tale of two characters, Joe and Carl that are bonded together by buried secrets and the burdens I listened to the audio version of The Life We Bury after a tip from a Goodreads friend who also listened to it while doing chores.

The Life We Bury is a rewarding tale of two characters, Joe and Carl that are bonded together by buried secrets and the burdens they carry. This made the audio version very enjoyable for me. It was like hearing the story for myself first hand. I highly recommend the audio version of The Life We Bury for those times you want to get lost in the tasks and chores that need to be done. View all 46 comments. This book has been in my Audible wish list for at least three years. From the summary, it looks like a book I would enjoy: mystery, suspense, rave reviews for the storytelling.

The only thing holding me back was the Vietnam War veteran as a character. How ridiculously picky is that? I was secretly afraid it would be too graphic in retelling old war stories. And it was a bit graphic, but thankfully very brief. As it turns out, Carl Iverson the paroled convict and war veteran, is a major reason th This book has been in my Audible wish list for at least three years. As it turns out, Carl Iverson the paroled convict and war veteran, is a major reason this book is so lovable!

The heart tugging, suspenseful book centers around Joe, a street-smart college student. He has had to struggle for everything in his life. He never knew his dad, his mom is a raging alcoholic and his almost grown brother, Jeremy, is a perpetual seven year old due to his autism issues. Our guy, Joe, literally stumbles onto a mystery while writing a biography essay on a nursing home resident, Carl Iverson. If solved, the mystery may exonerate Carl of crimes that sent him to prison for 30 years. Carl doesn't particularly care if he is exonerated or not, which makes the mystery even more compelling.

Joe, however, does care. That is the kind of guy he is. Principled, caring, compassionate. And tough as nails. Allen Eskens is a first rate storyteller and a natural born writer! The story flows effortlessly from Carl's life story to Joe's back story. They seem to not have anything in common with each other, but as they talk, their stories become intertwined.

I can't tell you how engrossed and invested I was while listening. I could not stop listening and the book made packing up for a big family move almost bearable! There was just enough of everything I love in a good story: mystery, suspense, likable lovable protagonists, real emotions and struggles, and a rewarding ending! I also adored the Minnesota setting, the cold, snowy weather provides the perfect tone to the story. I finished this little beauty in less than 2 days. This book won all kinds of awards as a debut novel for Eskens.

Deservedly so. You will not regret listening or reading this one! The audio book is narrated by a talented actor, Zach Villa. I felt he perfectly captured the voice of Joe and Carl. Not an easy task, considering the age and life differences of the two characters.

If you like audio books, I highly recommend this one! If not, you must read it! Lucky for all readers, there are three more books in this Eskens series. They are touted as possible standalone books, but most of my Goodreads friends say the back stories are so interesting that you will want to read all of the books. That's enough for me, I already borrowed the next audiobook from the handy dandy Overdrive app free!!! Sadly, we are still packing and moving, but thank God for writers like Eskens for making it less painful!

View all 41 comments. Apr 30, Susanne Strong rated it it was amazing Shelves: favorites , audiobooks , must-read. Highly Recommended! Joe Talbert hasn't had an easy life.


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He is a college student whose mother is a drunk and whose younger brother is autistic. He never met his father and unfortunately, he lost his grandfather years ago. He only recently transferred to the University after taking classes at the Community College. He has worked like crazy ever since he could remember, supporting his alcoholic moth 4. He has worked like crazy ever since he could remember, supporting his alcoholic mother and younger brother. Now, he works as a bouncer in order to pay for college. For an English class, he receives an assignment that he has put off for a long time: to interview a stranger, and draft a biography.

Not knowing where else to go, Joe drives to a nursing home, thinking someone there will have the life experience he is looking for. He is right. There he meets Carl Iverson. Carl served 30 years in prison for murder, rape and arson and was let out to serve the remainder of his sentence at the home because he has stage 4 cancer and only has a few months to live. Carl Iverson has never told anyone his story. Upon meeting Joe Talbert, he decides that Joe will be the first. That he will tell Joe his "dying declaration," though no one else will probably hear it or ever know the truth.

He has a few requests: That Joe listen and not judge him which Joe promises to do , and that Joe be honest with him about his life and his secrets as well. In interviewing Carl and in finding out more about Carl's past, Joe learns that Carl was a Vietnam Vet, and that he won awards. Does this jibe with Carl being a murderer and a rapist, Joe wonders? Then Joe and his neighbor Lila obtain Carl's trial file and both begin to dig deep to find the truth. This takes both Joe and Lila into places neither expected and things go awry.

In the midst of this, Joe has to deal with familial problems making things even more difficult. His thoughts and his vocabulary are far wiser than those of most twenty-one year olds. This may be because he is the man of the family and basically raised brother. That said, he also comes across as being quite naive in several situations that arose and in those situations I found my heart beating, my blood pressure rising and my stomach churning. Carl Iverson is a very complex man who, at times appears cold and emotionless.

In uncovering the life he buried, you come to understand why. What struck me about this novel was how well written each character was. You could picture each one in your mind, fully fleshed out.


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From Joe's alcoholic mother. To Jeremy, his brother. To his neighbor, Lila. And for a debut novel - this was even more incredible. Allen Eisken nailed it. Further, I thought the narrator, Zack Villa, did an excellent job narrating the voices, changing the tones for each character, especially Joe and Carl. I was basically crawling out of my skin, though I admit, I understood something important midway through and still found that I was unable to tear myself away.

This was by far, one of my favorites books of the year and I recommend it and especially the audiobook to anyone looking for a story with compelling characters who draw you in. Published on Goodreads and Amazon on 4. View all 45 comments. Jun 03, Jaline rated it it was amazing Shelves: xxcompleted. Neither Joe nor his autistic younger brother Jeremy have ever met their fathers. Their mother is an alcoholic who also has a mental health disorder and refuses to seek out or accept help.

Although Joe is in a different city at college, he is close enough to go home in case of emergencies. Despite his school workload and working evenings and weekends to pay for school, Joe is doing well — except life keeps sending him curve balls. One of his assignments in College is to write a Biography about someone that includes two corroborating references.

Joe gets the idea to go to a Seniors home, convinced that long lives would hold more information, especially about times long past. Out of the possibilities to interview, only one intrigues Joe by the uniqueness of his story: Carl Iverson, convicted rapist and murderer. This book grabbed my attention from the beginning. As intriguing as the characters are, the plot also moves at a brisk and steady pace — except for the times when we are racing through a scene that is filled with suspense and danger.

And there are a few of those. The writing in this novel is exceptionally good. The author uses a light hand with imagery, metaphors and similes that pop up like little surprises of silvery clarification. The personalities of his characters and the smooth flow of the plot are the driving forces that held my rapt attention, while the poetic moments touched my heart. It has only been four years since this debut novel broke out and touched so many readers with its story. Since then, the author has written three more novels, and I can hardly wait to explore each one of them.

Highly recommended to everyone. View all 65 comments. Nov 26, Larry H rated it really liked it. It's been said you should never think you know everything about a person's struggles because they may be struggling in ways you could never imagine. There's also the old saying that you shouldn't judge a book by its cover. Joe Talbert is struggling to get by on a day-to-day basis. He can barely afford college yet he's determined to stay there as long as he can, but he has to deal with 4.

He can barely afford college yet he's determined to stay there as long as he can, but he has to deal with the demands of his bipolar alcoholic mother, who often leaves him to tend to Jeremy, his autistic brother. Sometimes the tug-of-war between family and college is more than he can bear, yet he is wracked with guilt at the thought of leaving his brother in his mother's irresponsible and erratic care. He gets an assignment in English class to interview a stranger and write a biography of them. Procrastinating for far too long, he goes to a nearby nursing home in the hopes of interviewing one of the residents.

Instead, he winds up meeting Carl Iverson, a terminally ill man recently released from prison after more than 30 years, who was medically paroled to the nursing home. A Vietnam vet, Carl was convicted of the brutal rape and murder of a young girl. When Carl and Joe begin talking, Carl makes it clear he will not lie to Joe. He simply wants to tell Joe his story, and Joe wants to understand why if Carl and his friend Virgil both insist that Carl is innocent, things went so awry during his trial and Carl never tried to correct the situation in all this time.

How can he reconcile the man's heroism in Vietnam with the grisly crime scene pictures and the testimony presented against him? So this I don't care if anybody reads what you write. I don't even care if you write it down at all I have to say the words out loud. I have to tell someone the truth about what happened all those years ago.

I have to tell someone the truth about what I did. He and his neighbor, Lila, begin combing through the files from the trial and start uncovering threads that never had been pursued at that time. But why didn't Carl give his attorney this information? Why did he simply give up and let the jury convict him? The Life We Bury is both a compelling mystery and a moving character study of a young man dealing with more than his share of problems, who is determined that truth and justice get their due. His efforts aren't entirely magnanimous—he's hoping that his actions might help alleviate some guilt he's been carrying around for a long time.

But by putting everyone else, including his brother, first, does he destroy his own chances to move beyond the bleak existence he's had for so long. The Life We Bury was his debut novel, and it was pretty great itself, although I'll admit that I rolled my eyes a tiny bit that two college students would suddenly fancy themselves detectives.

That quirk notwithstanding, Eskens hooked me from the very first sentences, and even though I had some idea of how the book would resolve itself, that didn't affect my enjoyment at all. I loved Joe's character, and found his struggles between family and doing his own thing to be very familiar. You can bet I'll be reading Eskens' other books now that I loved the first two I've read. He's a great combination of storyteller and master of suspense, and that makes for some great reading.

See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria. View all 34 comments. Feb 03, PorshaJo rated it really liked it Shelves: audio , challengereads , challengereads Rating 4. I knew a bit about it, saw some reviews, but didn't rush to get it. I put it in my audio queue awhile back and again, didn't think much when it arrived in my inbox. Then I started listening and was immediately hooked. Joe Talbert is a young college student who you can say, is struggling to keep it together. His mother is a drunk, frequently arrested, or off gambling someplace.

His brother, is autistic, and needs supervision, which he Rating 4. His brother, is autistic, and needs supervision, which he sadly does not get from his mother. Joe seems intelligent at times but then quite aloof and dimwitted at others. He has to write a biography of an elderly person for a course. Naturally, he waits so long on starting, and he ends up going to a local nursing home to find a person to write about. Carl Iverson is the man that he meets in that nursing home. Carl is a convicted murderer, rapist, and arsonist who served 30 years in prison and is now in the nursing home, dying of pancreatic cancer.

He's accused of the murder of a year old girl who lived next to him long ago. He agrees to tell Joe his life story, calling it his 'dying declaration'. And there is where the story took off. Joe begins to hear Carl's story, dig into the evidence, and do his own investigative work. Helping him is his neighbor, Lila, who Joe is infatuated with, and his brother, Jeremy unwittingly helping him. Jeremy brought some much needed relief to this heavy story. This one kept me on the edge of seat the entire time.

The audio was great, the narrator really brought the story to life, as well as, all the characters. He did an amazing job. A true highlight of an audio. I listened to this while in the kitchen, cleaning, baking, anything just to keep listening.

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Every chance I got, I would listen to this one. I had to know how this story would end. Yes, at some point I had an idea of what would happen. But it didn't matter. The ride of getting to that point was intense and I loved it. A great story, audio, and thriller. One, I'm sure, I will remember for sometime. View all 49 comments. Dec 06, Elyse Walters rated it it was amazing. Zack was a flawless voice!!!

Something about the way Mr. Zack Villa read this novel, was absolutely the perfect combination of real - calm - not too phony or hyped - but always held my attention. I felt like I was in the same room with him while he was talking to me. Read an excerpt pdf Book Club questions. A " masterful debut " with a "satisfying resolution.

Thriller fans should keep their eyes on Eskens; he's a comer. This story kept me turning the pages, and it touched my heart. The characters are as real as my next-door neighbors, the story compelling, and the writing superb. A " well-crafted debut novel. Characters with layers of suppressed memories and emotions only add to the suspenseful plot. Looking forward to more from this Minnesotan author! Smart, stylish writing sets the tone in this absorbing debut about Joe's efforts to unearth the truth behind a brutal murder while caring for his autistic brother.

A rich and highly satisfying mystery! Some children quietly carry tremendous burdens, and Allen Eskens is masterful in exposing the frustrations of a young adult trying to escape the clutches of an abusive, alcoholic parent—all while trying to take college classes, protect a younger brother, and investigate a murder three decades old. This debut novel is breathtaking, the plot real, heart-wrenching, and hopeful.

Eskens writes my kind of book. Great story, great characters, and great suspense. It was a great read and it sucked me in from the very beginning