Rebecca Johns, Author . Bloomsbury $23.95 (297p) ISBN 978-1-58234-498-0

A plane crash in a remote area of Newfoundland during WWII leaves Canadian gunner Walt Dunmore to endure the oppressive cold along with his navigator, Alister Clark. Johnson's moving debut is at first a gripping account of their quest for survival—intertwined with the stories of their young wives at home—but broadens to a multigenerational epic. When only Walt makes it back to Ontario, his life is forever linked with his comrade who died. The plot rushes forward to Chicago in 1967, where Walt, his wife, Dottie, and their sons, Sam and Charley, live near Alister's widow, Adele, and daughter, Caroline. Both because of and in spite of the bond between their fathers, Sam and Caroline have an affair, cut short by Sam's paranoid jealousy. He enlists and goes to Vietnam, but the family's tragic casualty occurs stateside. The retrospective final part of the novel opens on the characters' lives in 1999. With stark, lovely prose, Johnson weaves a delicate tapestry of linked narratives, confirming that the paths not taken can be as significant as the ones taken. Like a ship navigating around an iceberg, "even near-misses leave a wake, an invisible breath that moves through the air." (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 11/07/2005
Release date: 04/01/2006
Show other formats
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-1-59691-946-4
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-1-58234-572-7
Paperback - 297 pages - 978-0-7475-7800-0
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