Marissa is expecting her first child and fixated on securing the same cradle she was once rocked in for her own baby. But her mother, Caroline, disappeared when Marissa was a teenager, and the treasured cradle mysteriously vanished shortly thereafter. Marissa's husband, Matthew, kindly agrees to try to track down the cradle, whi...more
It’s 1997 and Matt and Marissa are a young married couple expecting their first baby in a month or so. Marissa’s mother left her family when Marissa was 15 and Matt is an orphan. When Marissa is 8 months pregnant she decides the baby must have the cradle she slept in as a child and wants Matt to get it for her. The problem is that Marissa’s mother took the cradle with her when she left. The only lead Matt has is an address for Marissa’s aunt (her mother’s sister...more
Family is the central theme in Patrick Somerville's debut novel The Cradle, which consists of two differing stories told ten years apart. The reader is first introduced to Matt and Marissa, who are expecting their first child and Marissa, eight months pregnant, is insistent that Matt find the Civil War cradle that mysteriously was stolen from her home when she was 15, the day after her mother walked out on her family. Somerville then propels the reader ahead ten years to present d...more
One of the first signs of the felicitous writing in this short novel is the graceful switch between voices in the first two chapters, from Matt, a man in his twenties who is about to become a father and who is charged by his wife, Marissa, with a mysterious task; to Renee, a woman in her fifties who has a secret. From there the novel takes Matt on a classic American road trip, but with a difference -- this picaresque journey has a serious purpose, in the noble tradition of the Grail quest. Inter...more
In the first story we meet Marissa and Mark. Marrissa is very pregnant with the couple's first child. She becomes obsessed with locating an antique Civil War cradle that her mother took with her when she abandoned the family many years earlier. Matt, wanting to please his wife, as this cradle seems so important to her, sets out on a mission to find it. Along the way, he reco...more
I originally picked this book up because it was in a Barnes & Noble Discover recommendation. I enjoy reading books from this seasonal pamphlet of first-time writers for a number of reasons:
- I really want to support first-time writers and if I like the book I like to follow their writing career.
- I am always looking for books that are outside of the realm of books I usually read.
- I have read ot...more
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Published: March 9, 2009
Beautifully written! Read it, then pass it to your significant other.
In the spirit of Somerville's novel and the words of Strunk and White, I'll try to "eliminate unnecessary words" in my recommendation. The Cradle is a fantastic, wonderfully written story. It is compelling and unsentimental. Most characters are likeable but when they aren't, you'll enjoy disliking them. He paints a beautiful pictue in only 200 pages....more
Critics uniformly praised Somerville's moving debut about the meaning of family and its power to heal. Somerville's spare but buoyant prose strikes the right emotional balance, expressive without being sentimental, and his fast-moving plot steers steadily between the profound and the whimsical toward a satisfying conclusion without ever veering into melodrama. Despite a few flawsósome awkward narrative shifts, one-dimensional characters, and clich»sóThe Cradle is a finely crafted full-length nov...more
There was a second story told also of Renee and a secret t...more
No, there's not too much there. Patrick Somerville has crafted a slim, full-hearted tale in the midwestern mode perfected by William Maxwell. He also reminded me of Michael Cunningham. Several times I felt the same quiet melancholy pleasure as when I read The Hours, in characters...more
The story of a young couple who are expecting their first child. Marissa sends Matthew on a mission to find the cradle that had been her's as a baby-it had mysteriously been stolen a few mere weeks after he mother had walked out on Marissa and her father Glenn. Matthew, who had been raised as an orphan tossed from one family to another had a hard time comprehending the importance of it all.
But he loved his wif...more