Catching Heaven

Sands Hall, Author Ballantine Books $25 (384p) ISBN 978-0-345-43970-3
Hall's first novel meticulously details Southwestern life and the rancor of middle-aged sibling rivalry in a variation on one of Aesop's venerable fables. Lizzie Maxwell, a 39-year-old single mother, is the country mouse who once thought she'd paint in Paris, but now designs greeting cards and teaches art in the historic town of Marengo. Her 41-year-old sister, Maud Maxwell, is the city mouse who lives in Los Angeles and acts in TV dramas, sitcoms and commercials. The rivalry between the two dates back to childhood: Lizzie believes their parents always loved Maud best. Fed up with her fading career and her long-time lover, Miles, a musician who refuses to give her a child, Maud walks out on an embarrassing commercial audition, and on Miles, too. She drives to Marengo, where Lizzie and her three children (each fathered by a different man, none of whom Lizzie has married) have been living for 15 years. The tensions between the sisters, who envy each other's lives, escalate over a nine-month period. Maud finds a small house and a job as a saloon singer and piano teacher. She has brief affairs with Driver, a Native American activist, and Rich, an abusive young cowboy, and assumes an ever-larger role in the life of Lizzie's middle child, third-grader Summer. Lizzie's jealousy grows when Maud develops relationships with Sam, an elderly American Indian who is Lizzie's best friend and was her first lover in Marengo, and Jake Arboles, the father of Lizzie's youngest child. Although frequently awkward in the telling, and spotted with clich s, the novel conveys the pathos of the middle-aged realization that some options--including those of motherhood and artistic achievement--eventually expire. Major ad/promo; 5-city author tour. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/31/2000
Release date: 08/01/2000
Show other formats
Paperback - 400 pages - 978-0-345-44000-6
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-299-25856-3
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Email Address


Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.