Echolocation

Myfanwy Collins, Author
Myfanwy Collins. Engine (Ingram, dist.), $14.95 trade paper (204p) ISBN 978-0-9835477-6-1
Reviewed on: 02/27/2012
Release date: 03/01/2012
Ebook - 208 pages - 978-0-9835477-7-8
Hardcover - 203 pages - 978-0-9835477-9-2
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Collins' debut novel cuts to the chase with the protagonist, Geneva, slicing off her arm in a gruesome chainsaw accident within the first few pages. Thenceforth known as "one-armed Geneva—still beautiful, but flawed," she finds herself caring for the woman who raised her, Auntie Marie, as the latter succumbs to cancer. Drawn in by the gravity of their beloved's worsening condition, the prodigal Cheri—whom Auntie Marie also brought up—returns to their northern hometown, and so does Cheri's mother, Renee, who abandoned Cheri to Auntie Marie's care years ago and fled to Florida on the back of a motorcycle with her ne'er-do-well boyfriend, Rick. Though the makings of an emotionally fraught, redemptive reunion are all here, when Renee shows up with a strange baby that had been given to Rick to pay back a debt—and which he plans to sell—she discovers that her sister has died, Rick is on her trail, and their lives are in danger. Following a dramatic and violent turn, the novel takes on a spiritual tone, complete with a quest and visions. Though the prose is stark and stirring (if occasionally troubled by stale metaphors), and the characters are sufficiently complex, the novel ultimately disappoints; its strong start is worthy of a less contrived conclusion. (Mar.)
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