The Weight of Him

By Ethel Rohan
Read by Tim Gerard Reynolds

11.23 Hours 02/14/2017 unabridged
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At four hundred pounds, Billy Brennan can always count on food. From his earliest memories, he has loved food’s colors, textures, and tastes. The way flavors go off in his mouth. How food keeps his mind still and his bad feelings quiet. Food has always made everything better, until the day Billy’s beloved son Michael takes his own life. In Michael’s memory, Billy determines to make a difference and undertakes a public weight-loss campaign to raise money for suicide prevention—his first step in an ambitious plan to save himself and others. However, Billy’s dramatic crusade appalls his family, who simply want to get on with their lives. Despite his crushing detractors, Billy garners welcome allies: his community, a coworker who lost his father to suicide, and a filmmaker with his own dubious agenda, as well as a secret, miniature kingdom that Billy populates with the sub-quality dolls and soldiers he rescues from disposal at the local toy factory where he works. But it is only if Billy can confront the truth of his pain and suffering and the brokenness around him that he and others will see the change they need. Set in rural, contemporary Ireland, The Weight of Him is an unforgettable, bighearted novel about loss and reliance that moves from tragedy to recrimination to what can be achieved when we truly decide to take a stand.

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Summary

Summary

An Amazon Best Book of the Month for February 2017

At four hundred pounds, Billy Brennan can always count on food. From his earliest memories, he has loved food’s colors, textures, and tastes. The way flavors go off in his mouth. How food keeps his mind still and his bad feelings quiet. Food has always made everything better, until the day Billy’s beloved son Michael takes his own life.

In Michael’s memory, Billy determines to make a difference and undertakes a public weight-loss campaign to raise money for suicide prevention—his first step in an ambitious plan to save himself and others. However, Billy’s dramatic crusade appalls his family, who simply want to get on with their lives.

Despite his crushing detractors, Billy garners welcome allies: his community, a coworker who lost his father to suicide, and a filmmaker with his own dubious agenda, as well as a secret, miniature kingdom that Billy populates with the sub-quality dolls and soldiers he rescues from disposal at the local toy factory where he works. But it is only if Billy can confront the truth of his pain and suffering and the brokenness around him that he and others will see the change they need.

Set in rural, contemporary Ireland, The Weight of Him is an unforgettable, bighearted novel about loss and reliance that moves from tragedy to recrimination to what can be achieved when we truly decide to take a stand.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“An achingly sad, achingly lovely novel that speaks to the essential core of our shared human experience.” Robert Olen Butler, Pulitzer Prize–winning author
“Ethel Rohan is a writer of great courage and emotional intelligence. She can also tell a damn good story.” Tom Barbash, New York Times bestselling author
“Rohan’s tender, generous, and inspiring debut novel The Weight of Him deserves our full appreciation and absorption.” San Francisco Chronicle
“This painstakingly beautiful debut novel is emotional and thought-provoking…Readers will find themselves rooting for Billy, his sanity, and his family.” RT Book Reviews (4 stars)
“Shows impressive acuity in portraying the many facets of Billy’s and his family’s grief.” Booklist
“Captures a blend of comedy and tragedy that is entirely true to family, hometown, and our own private struggles.” Eowyn Ivey, author of The Snow Child
“Tim Gerard-Reynolds’ understated and measured narration portrays a grieving Irish family…with his natural reading style, which proves all the more rewarding when Rohan depicts genuine grief. Gerard-Reynolds’ voicing of each grieving family member as he or she struggles to cope with the suicide of the eldest child is varied and consistently full of realistic humanity. The core tension in the story comes from the different ways the husband and wife handle grief. Gerard-Reynolds’ sensitivity to the stoicism of one and the dogged determination of the other is a sure achievement that brings out the strengths of Rohan’s novel.” AudioFile

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Author

Author Bio: Ethel Rohan

Ethel Rohan, born and raised in Ireland, is the author of two story collections, Goodnight Nobody and Cut through the Bone, the former long-listed for the Edge Hill Short Story Prize and the latter long-listed for the Story Prize. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, World Literature Today, Guernica magazine, Tin House Online, the Rumpus, and many more.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, Digital Rental, CD, MP3 CD
Category: Fiction/Literary
Runtime: 11.23
Audience: Adult
Language: English