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Sandrine's Case
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Sandrine's Case [Format Kindle]

Thomas H. Cook

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Descriptions du produit

Présentation de l'éditeur

Thomas H. Cook offers one of his most compelling novels ever in Sandrine's Case, in which a college professor falls in love with his wife all over again...while on trial for her murder.

Samuel Madison always wondered what Sandrine saw in him. He was a meek, stuffy doctorate student, and she a brilliant, beautiful, bohemian with limitless talents and imagination. On the surface their relationship and marriage semed perfectly tranquil: jobs at the same small, liberal arts college, a precocious young daughter, a home filled with art and literature, and trips to some of the world's most beautiful cities and towns. And then one night Sandrine is found dead in their bed and Samuel is accused of her murder.

As the truth about their often tumultuous relationship comes to light, Samuel must face a town and media convinced of his guilt, a daughter whose faith in her father has been shaken to its core, and astonishing revelations about his wife that make him fall in love with her for a second time. A searing novel about love lost and rediscovered, from one of our greatest chroniclers of the human heart.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 1011 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 354 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : 0802126081
  • Editeur : Mysterious Press (6 août 2013)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
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16 internautes sur 17 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A different take on courtroom fiction 6 août 2013
Par TChris - Publié sur
There are few novelists of intrigue I admire as much as Thomas Cook. Whether he's writing a spy story, a crime novel, or a courtroom drama, his approach is unconventional. Tension derives not from action but from the intense probing of his characters' lives. In Sandrine's Case, Cook uses a criminal trial to reveal not just the facts underlying a death, but the mind and soul of the accused, an unfeeling man who (his wife once said) is composed of scar tissue.

Sam Madison, an English professor at a liberal arts college in a small Georgia town, had a terrible argument with his wife Sandrine, a history professor at the same institution. He is accused of killing her and of attempting to disguise the murder as suicide. The evidence against him is circumstantial: a "sinister research history" on his computer; his role in obtaining the Demoral that killed her; the antihistamines in Sandrine's blood; a broken cup; a parody Sam wrote of noir fiction; "a silence when I should have spoken, a question I should have asked but hadn't." Sandrine had recently been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's Disease, a condition that (according to the prosecutor) furnished Sam's motive: it was easier to kill than to face years serving as a caretaker, feeding and bathing his helpless wife. Sam fears that the jurors will despise him because he is an intellectual living a privileged life, but the most damning evidence against him are the words Sandrine spoke to her friends about Sam's detached, isolated nature. Sam is, according to Sandrine, a sociopath (or so she said in the last words she spoke to him), and he knows his "cold perhaps even haughty demeanor" is not playing well with the jury. He has good reason to fear that the trial has become a referendum on his marriage, that he will be punished for being a distant, uncaring husband.

The ultimate mystery in Sandrine's Case is not what Sam did or did not do, but whether Sam is correct in certain suspicions he begins to harbor about Sandrine. Since Sandrine's Case is told in the first person from Sam's perspective, it obviously isn't a whodunit. Sam feels enormous guilt, but for much of the novel his precise role in Sandrine's death is unclear. Was he possessed, after twenty years of sharing a home with his wife and daughter, to murder Sandrine, despite his belief that "no man had ever been loved by a more worthy woman"? As Sam slowly disintegrates -- thinking about the testimony of the witnesses at his trial, reliving the police interrogations, recalling (in bits and pieces) his life with Sandrine -- he begins, perhaps for the first time, to understand himself, to come to terms with his deep sense of failure, a judgment he "put on everyone else," particularly Sandrine, because he feared to judge himself. The testimony of witnesses teaches Sam what Sandrine really thought of him, and seeing himself through Sandrine's eyes is a revelatory experience.

Sam describes Sandrine's academic writing as "graceful and carefully measured," a description that applies equally to Cook's prose. Sam, who laments "what a low culture we have now," has never read a crime novel (unless you count Crime and Punishment or other works of literary genius). If he were to do so, Sandrine's Case would be a good place to start. Cook's insight into his characters and his elegant prose are undeniably the stuff of quality literature, yet he (unlike Sam, whose failed novel became more academic with each rewrite) never fails to tell a compelling story. There might be more courtroom theatrics in a Grisham novel, but there is more bare honesty, more heart, in Sandrine's Case than you'll find in a dozen Grishams. It is a strangely redemptive, life-affirming story about death, a decidedly different take on courtroom fiction, but in its own quiet way, a small masterpiece.
11 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 A simple premise made of extremely complex layers and gorgeous prose 13 août 2013
Par Bookreporter - Publié sur
Thomas H. Cook is an author's author. He has amassed an enviable bibliography comprised of books that prove his love of language and his ability to quietly and surgically slice into lives and personalities. While his novels are considered to fall under the classification of crime fiction, he defies some of the elements of that genre while never eschewing a literary tone. It is telling that after more than three decades and close to 30 books, Cook's latest effort features some of his best prose.

SANDRINE'S CASE is built upon a relatively simple premise constructed with extremely complex layers. A husband calls the police, stating that he has just arrived at home and found his wife dead, the victim of an apparent suicide. After an investigation, though, the husband is charged with first-degree murder and goes on trial. Have we seen this before? Absolutely, but the plot contains several fascinating variations on this theme. The husband and wife in question are Sandrine and Samuel Madison, professors at a small and undistinguished college for over two decades. Sandrine is popular with the faculty and students and, indeed, with the townspeople of Coburn, a small and closely held city less than a hundred miles from Atlanta.

Samuel is not especially liked or likable; one gets this impression almost from the beginning of the book, which is narrated in the first person by Samuel himself. It is but one example of Cook's quiet genius that the reader can get the sense almost immediately that Samuel was not always so unlikable, and indeed we eventually learn that such is the case as the story unfolds over 10 days. Samuel has a defense attorney who is self-styled as "the smartest Jew lawyer in Coburn County," but seems to think that his own client might be guilty of the crime with which he is charged. Sandrine had reason to commit suicide, which interestingly enough is part of the alleged motive that Samuel supposedly had for murdering her.

As the book proceeds, one wonders what the deceased --- outgoing, intelligent, stunningly beautiful, capable of spouting obscure yet brilliant quotations while creating many of her own --- saw in her cold fish husband, whom she labelled a sociopath on the night of her death. We eventually learn exactly what it was that attracted Sandrine to Samuel, who looks down on practically everyone around him with a casual coldness that had invaded his home as well.

Still, Samuel is not without redeeming social value. One of his few acquaintances ("friend" would be too strong a word) is a next-door neighbor who owes much to Samuel, a debt that can never be truly repaid as a result of an impulsive, selfless, and yes, brave act that Samuel committed years before. And then there is Alexandria, Sandrine and Samuel's daughter, who seems to have taken the best of her mother's personality but is a step away from estrangement from her father. Such a thing perhaps would be more than he could bear, yet the danger of it arises from much more than the murder charges that have been brought against him; if he is exonerated, it still may not save him at home.

SANDRINE'S CASE is loaded with quiet metaphor and shot through with turns of phrase that would fill a small notebook on their own. It can be read in one sitting, though you will be tempted to rush through it. Still, I suggest reading it slowly, taking in its nuances and perhaps even re-reading it after finishing, just to enjoy how Cook so carefully constructed it.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Like watching a 1930's movie 28 septembre 2013
Par David - Publié sur
Cook has received numerous Edgar nominations, so I was surprised how boring and unengaging this book was. The Amazon summary covers the plot well. It reminded me of lesser 1930's films where the acting was very shallow, the action very slow and the characters seemed very unrealistic.

The device of framing the action through a trial also seemed retro and served little purpose and added scant drama--and I have a great weakness for good courtroom dramas.

Without giving spoilers, the climactic scenes seemed far-fetched.

This would have been better as a short story. I thought he had a well-meaning message to send about relationships, but took much too long to deliver it and, just as I have trouble with cardboard superhuman action heroes (Jack Reacher, etc), I found these stereotypes of 2 professors unconvincing.

Obviously, personal tastes vary tremendously; given that he is a veteran writer, I encourage readers to sample the book and draw their own conclusions.
14 internautes sur 17 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 "You're the victim in this case, Sam. Don't forget that." 23 juillet 2013
Par Bonnie Brody - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
Sandrine's Case by Thomas Cook is an interesting novel about the death of a 46 year-old woman named Sandrine. Was it suicide or was she murdered by her husband Sam? The novel's structure is in the form of a courtroom drama and takes place on each day of the trial with each witness testifying for or against the accused. During the course of the trial, Sam reminisces about Sandrine and their original meeting and love affair, the early days of their marriage and Sandrine's personality. He also considers the last days of her life and the awful fight they had before she died.

Sandrine loved words and was an astute grammarian. She had a tender side and originally had a dream of opening a school for poor children in Africa. During the course of years, her dreams died as she taught at Coburn College, a small liberal arts college in Georgia, the same school where Sam taught.

While the trial is taking place, Sam is asked to resign his tenured professorship because of the negative publicity his trial will bring the college. If he doesn't resign, the president is prepared to fire him.

I found the book rather long and it meandered just a bit too much for me to be completely vested in it. I found the characters interesting but not to the point of wanting to pick the book up all the time. I enjoyed the metaphors, quotes from other authors and the characterization of Sandrine. She came alive more than any other character. I have read other books by Thomas Cook and have loved them. This is not one of his strongest novels.
12 internautes sur 15 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Cook at his most mature....a book to savor 27 juillet 2013
Par A. Koren - Publié sur
Since Thomas H. Cook has been writing I have followed his creative output. In this reviewer's opinion Cook has reached a new zenith in his wonderful career. The reviewer who gave this book 3 stars did an excellent job of summarizing what the book is about. What I think he missed in describing characters he felt were more one dimensional is that this story is about two people who have a more academic, not romantic or sensual love.
Spoiler alert (next 2 sentences) What makes the book so poignant is that the transformation of Sandrine's husband in an act of redemptive love works so well. It is as close as a character of his background can finally get to opening his heart and being transformed.

The expressions of love are numerous and not to be judged as one reviewer winds up doing. It shows a lack of inclusiveness of the different manifestations of the heart. Comparing these different loves is like comparing Bach to Beethoven or Brahms. This somewhat more reserved love winds up with a hell of a punch line and Mr. Cook leads us like a Pied Piper in a fascinating tale elegantly told. His mellifluous use of the English language is part of what has garnered him consistently good reviews in his many years of consistently exceptional book and peer reviews. This man knows how to write. This is a work of literature as well as a fine mystery and his creative use of historical references punctuates his writing perfectly. This is poetry in prose told with simplicity and care. If you pass on this book you are missing a true literary treat.
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