But Not for Long

Michelle Wildgen, Author . St. Martin's/Dunne $24.99 (325p) ISBN 978-0-312-57141-2

Three housemates find themselves in the midst of an eerily plausible energy crisis in Tin House senior editor Wildgen's solid second novel (after 2006's You're Not You ). Greta moves into Hal and Karin's Madison, Wis., housing co-op to escape her marriage to an alcoholic, only to have him show up on the porch. Hal works for the nonprofit Southern Wisconsin Food Initiative (SWFI), while Karin is an assistant editor, and Greta is a fund-raiser for Grinwall College. Amid a worsening recession—where gas is largely unavailable and the entire city loses power—the housemates each struggle with personal crises, and an investigation into a possible drowning at the nearby lake only increases the sense of impending doom. Hal's mother recently died and he worries about a drop in food donations to the SWFI; Karin is threatened by Greta's arrival, fearing it will disrupt her platonic relationship with Hal; and Greta struggles to distance herself from her husband, Will. Wildgen skillfully shifts between the key players, focusing simultaneously on social and interpersonal issues. With its open-ended conclusion, the novel allows the characters' lives to resonate beyond the final page. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 08/03/2009
Release date: 10/01/2009
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 325 pages - 978-0-312-65531-0
Open Ebook - 336 pages - 978-1-4299-8693-9
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