Out of Time

Helen Schulman, Author
Helen Schulman, Author Atheneum Books $19.95 (245p) ISBN 978-0-689-12122-7
Reviewed on: 06/03/1991
Release date: 06/01/1991
Hardcover - 978-0-517-11439-1
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This first novel by the author of the short story collection Not a Free Show is an intimate, wrenching portrait of individuals shattered by an untimely death. The narrative opens--and closes--with the fatal car crash of 20-year-old Ken Gold. Schulman lifts her story out of time, going backward to show the family a year before Ken's death, ruptured by the parents' divorce; further back to his childhood; and further still to his parents' courtship. She moves forward to a year, then five years, after his death, to a decade later. Schulman bends not only time but perspective, giving the points of view of many characters--relatives, friends, bystanders. Ken's mother copes with the horror of outliving her child, abandoning her work as a guidance counselor because ``the uncertainty of young people's futures makes her crazy; all she can imagine are tragic endings.'' Grief incapacitates Ken's sister, who's ``determined to do nothing with her life.'' Ken's brothers, less able to articulate their loss, feel it just as deeply. In luminous prose that is comic as well as lyric, Schulman measures the love, anger and pain that charge our deepest relationships. (July)
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