In Caddis Wood

Mary Francois Rockcastle, Author
Mary Fran%C3%A7ois Rockcastle. Graywolf, $15 trade paper (272p) ISBN 978-1-55597-592-0
Reviewed on: 07/11/2011
Release date: 09/01/2011
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As she did in her debut, Rainy Lake, Rockcastle once again melds family drama with a palpable sense of place. Here the focus is on an older couple unwilling to acknowledge the effects of aging on both themselves and on their familial relationships. Hallie is an increasingly successful poet poring over a bundle of letters that represent a lost love. Carl, an ambitious architect, who often favored his career over his family, unlike Hallie, bristles at the implications of a retrospective exhibition of his work. And when his health begins to fail, with a progressive neurodegenerative disorder, unresolved resentments and old tragedies come to the surface—including not only those of Hallie and Carl themselves, but also of their parents and their children, now adults. With a setting divided between the couple's Minneapolis home and their evocative forest retreat, the novel's chapters ricochet between Hallie's and Carl's points of view. Suffused, appropriately, with imagery of the natural and man-made worlds, Rockcastle's skillful pacing weaves together the family's tumultuous history with its uncertain present. A mature love story offering a clear-eyed glimpse of the challenges and rewards of a long marriage. (Sept.)
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