Review published on June 10, 2016.
When you begin reading a book set in Upstate New York and there is a mention of a woodpile on the first page you know something isn’t right….
Superficially (and that is definitely the wrong word to use in most contexts to do with this book) it is not a difficult book to read; a page-turner because you want to know more. More of why and what will they do now rather than whodunnit. It is a very classy psychological thriller that has you thinking about all sorts of things – what you believe in, what would you have done in that situation, why people do what they do or why they don’t do what they should do….the story is packed with much to ponder but is never turgid.
When the first chapter’s title is your birthday you look twice and wonder if you’re going to have a special connection to this book, the role of fate and coincidence, and eerily there were a lots of questions in that vein. I enjoy a book that teaches me something (ideally without effort) and now I know something of Swedenborg, of angels and demons, heaven and hell, and his belief system.
This book is predominantly set in the 1970s, far enough away to be a different era and close enough to be recognisable. Likewise the small town the action is set in is in New York State but outside the cosmopolitan and fashionable areas that we are more familiar with. Nothing is quite what you expect but is nearly there.
The novel focuses on women squaring up to life differently, but not so differently, recognisable but not quite. Each is a product of her time in both negative and positive ways, as are the various male characters, too.
Something just resonates with this book – it is a great solitary read, leaving the reader with plenty to mull over; however there is also so much within for a book group to discuss.
I will be looking to read her previous three novels, I consider this book a find!
All Things Cease To Appear by Elizabeth Brundage
riverrun 978-1-78429-687-2 hbk May 2016
dir91? pbk Apr 2017
“Summertime, and the livin’ is easy, Fish are jumpin’ and the cotton is high. .”