THE RIVER ROAD

Karen Osborn, Author
Karen Osborn, Author . Morrow $23.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-688-15899-6
Reviewed on: 10/14/2002
Release date: 11/01/2002
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-06-052935-2
Ebook - 288 pages - 978-0-06-226253-0
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Teen angst and jealousy spin out of control in this tale of a tragic love triangle. Brothers David and Michael have been in love with Kay since she moved in next door; seduced first by the novelty of Kay's missing father, then by her burgeoning sexuality, the boys become her best friends. But as the three move into their teenage years, golden boy David develops a daredevil streak and Michael's jealousy swells. When they get to college, David and Kay embark on an all-consuming affair, while Michael watches and simmers. All comes to a head on a nighttime repeat of their childhood rambles through the Connecticut countryside, which ends at the French King Bridge. Much of the novel is devoted to reconstructing the next half hour: what is clear is that Kay and David both dropped acid, then David jumped off the bridge believing he could swim to shore and never made it. As in Osborn's previous novel, Patchwork, alternating points of view tell a story of parental blindness and all-consuming love. In the end, it hardly matters why David jumped, or why Kay didn't. The point is that David was one of those magnetic but destructive personalities who, even in death, leave behind a trail of hurt. Osborn's prose is clean and neat, but the curious flatness of the narration—emotions blankly stated instead of evoked—robs the story of depth and power. (Nov.)

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