Rain Line

Anne Whitney Pierce, Author
Anne Whitney Pierce, Author University Press of New England $30 (361p) ISBN 978-1-58465-021-8
Reviewed on: 01/31/2000
Release date: 02/01/2000
Paperback - 377 pages - 978-1-58465-214-4
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The accidental death of her hockey star boyfriend forces a young woman to redefine her life and relationship with her parents in this lucid, crisply wrought novel set in Cambridge, Mass., in 1982. Twenty-two-year-old Leonarda ""Leo"" Baye--named by her eccentric parents after Leonardo da Vinci--is in the car with Danny McPhee after a party on the night his Harvard team wins a big game, when he loses control and crashes through a guard rail and into the river. But while Leo swims to safety, Danny, inexplicably, does not. Shattered by Danny's apparent suicide, scorned by his parents and conflicted about finishing her violin studies at the Boston Conservatory, Leo retreats to her musty childhood home on Cobb's Hill. Her mother, once a celebrated opera singer whose stage fright prematurely ended her career, rarely emerges from her room, while her father, a failed inventor, caters to his wife's every fragile whim. After Leo discovers that she is pregnant with Danny's baby, they all begin to have a salubrious effect on one another, bringing them ""one foot over the rain line,"" into the ""warm, sunlit place"" that represents safety. This simple tale is redeemed from sentimentality by Pierce's sure, resonant prose. Leo is an appealing character and her parents, especially her mother, Lydia, who spouts statistics and non sequiturs, are affectionately and precisely delineated. In Pierce's patient hands (her Wonder Women won the 1994 Willa Cather Fiction Prize), this story of survival and healing achieves poetic immediacy. (Mar.)
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