Mar 18, 11
Read from March 10 to 18, 2011
This book came to me from a friend, who had been a school mate of the author in Helena. Simply put, this short novel is the story of several generations of a family, and their relationships with each other, with their love interests, and with God (or faith). What I really liked about this novel is that the story is told in chapters, AS chapters of the characters' lives as perceived by each character. The stories are interwoven, sometimes giving the same episode but told slightly differently by a different character, and perhaps time-shifted by a few years. The passing of time and the point of view of the different characters enriches the stories.
What makes it all the more amazing to me, as an admirer of the craft of writing, is that the stories are told succinctly, without feeling that they're too brief or insufficient. Although the writing is not at all like letters written between the family members throughout the years, the effect is the same. Imagine finding an archive of letters collected by a matriarch over a century, and finding out about a family (perhaps your family) that you never knew you had. The stories are brief and yet tantalizingly rich with feeling, connection, doubt, love, and a little bit of family scandal too.
This was a quick read, but the more I think on it, the better it gets. It makes me want to write. I think I would like to read more of Maile Meloy.