Three generations of women seek comfort and closure in storm-wracked Vermont in this tender debut novel by MacArthur (after the story collection Half Wild). When heroin addict and mother Bonnie goes missing during 2011’s Tropical Storm Irene, her daughter, Vale, leaves a bartending job in New Orleans to return to the small town of her birth and find her. Still living on the family’s mountain are Bonnie’s nonagenarian aunt and once-guardian, Hazel, and widowed cousin-in-law, Deb. Although Vale’s return is welcome, it churns up their own resentments about living such an isolated existence. The novel is told from each of their perspectives: Vale digs for family lore before it is lost to the passage of time and death, Deb confronts tragedies of the past and present, and Hazel spirals through long-hidden memories. Secondary characters are just as strong as the narrators: Bonnie’s mother, who treasured her cabin in the woods; Deb’s husband, whose silence made him complicit in tragedy; and Bonnie, who relishes the hurricane’s wrath from a perch on a bridge. The resulting narrative is nuanced, poetic, and evocative; MacArthur empathetically depicts each of her characters in their wounded but hopeful glory. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 10/30/2017 Release date: 01/09/2018 Genre: Fiction
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