There Will Never Be Another You
Carolyn See
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Buy *There Will Never Be Another You* by Carolyn See online

There Will Never Be Another You
Carolyn See
Random House
Hardcover
256 pages
May 2006
rated 4 of 5 possible stars
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There Will Never Be Another You begins on 9/11 with a confessional by sixty-four-year-old Edith, who is lamenting the loss of her second husband, Charlie, after an extended illness. Edith volunteers at the UCLA Medical Center in Westwood where her only son, Phil, works as a seasoned dermatologist.

Phil is unhappy in his marriage to the stunningly self-absorbed Felicia. While the couple is outwardly united in their care for their two children, Eloise and Vern, petty squabbling and bickering ultimately define their relationship.

Anxious to escape, Phil turns to his vintage wine collection and drinking with his best buddy, Jack, while the world around him steadily falls apart. A virus or bacteria has broken out in Los Angeles, purported to have started with monkeys and first affecting only cats, their carcasses appearing all over Phil's neighborhood.

The authorities, concerned over the eventuality of a catastrophic calamitous breakout among humans, order Phil to participate in a bio-terrorism experiment designed to evaluate and improve this city's response to medical emergencies from radical threats.

Meanwhile, Andrea, a sophomore at UCLA, meets and falls in love with Danny, an Asian American. A type of cross-cultural anxiety tempers their bourgeoning relationship, complicated by the fact that she lives at home while her father is dying of liver disease.

As the world situation continues to spiral out of control, the specter of further attacks chemical, biological and even nuclear - are never far from the radar screen, and these ordinary people adjust, cope, and continue on with their lives, having children and raising families because they have to.

In a narrative spans almost ten years, from 2007 to 2016, one might expect silence, the isolation and sadness to shut down all of these people. Phil realizes pretty early on that the truculent Vern is the only person he really loves. Faced with the threat of his own life "being sucked away," he, in desperation makes a decision that irrevocably changes his family.

The characters' quest to understand and come to terms with the disquiet in their lives both personal and collective is at the heart of the story. These people live persistently in a world on the edge, unhappy in their relationships and marriages, lonely for connection, yet also having to live with a post 9/11 mentality.

World political unrest and the way global catastrophes can reverberate throughout our lives is obviously the canvas upon which author Carolyn See delineates her characters. There Will Never Be Another You gives us a restrained reminder of our unstable world, interspersing her story with a reflective message of hope and optimism, a type of cautionary testament to the resiliency of the human spirit.



Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. Michael Leonard, 2006

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