Once Upon a Day

Lisa Tucker, Author
Lisa Tucker, Author . Atria $24 (342p) ISBN 978-0-7434-9277-5
Reviewed on: 11/28/2005
Release date: 04/01/2006

Tucker's outstanding novel (after Shout Down the Moon ) is as structurally dextrous as it is emotionally satisfying, boasting a chorus of extraordinary voices and assured parallel plot lines separated by four decades. In the present day, 23-year-old Dorothea has left her overprotective father's secluded 35-acre New Mexico estate, called the Sanctuary, where she and her brother, Jimmy, had been sheltered from current news and all modern-day innovations. Searching for her runaway brother in St. Louis, Dorothea meets a recently widowed doctor-turned-cabbie, who introduces her to the vibrant outside world he's been trying to escape. A parallel tale set in the 1970s follows the budding romance between a successful film director and the waif who becomes his muse, his wife and the object of his obsessive control. The tour de force resolution that ties both stories together is a lyrically poignant reminder of the necessity of hope. An exceptionally empathetic storyteller, Tucker has created a haunting, gripping novel that brims with graceful writing and fragile characters. This should be catnip for book clubs, whether they devour it as a page-turner about parenting and family or discuss its subtle meditations on fate and coincidence, wealth and poverty, freedom and safety, fairy tales and American dreams. 10-city author tour. (May)

The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!