Mercy Street

Jennifer Haigh. Ecco, $27.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-06-176330-4
Haigh (Heat & Light) explores the issue of abortion in this layered if frustrating story of a Boston women’s health clinic. Claudia, a counselor at Mercy Street, struggles with insomnia and anxiety after the death of her difficult mother, as well as because of her daily work with women who are faced with unwanted pregnancies. To cope, she smokes weed. Meanwhile, antiabortion protesters mount a steady campaign outside the clinic, and Haigh delves into their world. Among them is a rabidly antiabortion activist and racist retiree named Victor, who is tangentially connected to Claudia’s dealer and maintains a website where he shames white women who visit Mercy Street. The set up is strong and culminates in Victor deciding to travel to Boston from his log cabin in Pennsylvania to “save” Claudia, but the narrative runs out of steam just as it gets going. Haigh doesn’t successfully weave the different narrative threads, delving into what leads men to become violent antichoice activists, for instance, but leaving the female characters disappointingly unexplored. There are some solid building blocks, but they crumble into an unsatisfying resolution. This doesn’t hit the high marks it aims for. Agent: Dorian Karchmar, WME. (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 11/30/2021
Release date: 02/01/2022
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 352 pages - 978-0-06-241474-8
Paperback - 496 pages - 978-0-06-321107-0
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