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The Cradle

Patrick Somerville, Author
Patrick Somerville, Author . Little, Brown $23.99 (203p) ISBN 978-0-316-03612-2
Reviewed on: 01/19/2009
Release date: 03/01/2009
Open Ebook - 102 pages - 978-0-316-15802-2
Ebook - 978-0-316-07263-2
Paperback - 204 pages - 978-0-316-03611-5
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An elusive heirloom cradle symbolizes childhood's pains and possibilities in Somerville's spare, elegant first novel (after a story collection, Trouble ). Marissa, pregnant with her first child, becomes obsessed with tracking down the antique cradle her mother took when she abandoned the family a decade earlier. Marissa's husband, Matt, is sure he's been dispatched on a fool's errand, but his journey soon connects him to Marissa's family and his own history of abandonment, neglect and abuse amid a string of foster homes and orphanages. Matt's quest through four states is interwoven with another drama that takes place 11 years later, in 2008, in which poet and children's author Renee Owen is haunted by memories of war and a lost love as she prepares to send her son off to fight in Iraq. Again, long-buried secrets come to the surface, one of which poignantly links the two story lines. Though the connection will not shock, Somerville's themes of a broader sense of interconnectivity and the resultant miracles of everyday existence retain their strength and affirm the value of forming and keeping families. (Mar.)

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