Complicity

Elizabeth Cooke, Author Little Brown and Company $0 (262p) ISBN 978-0-316-15507-6
From the alternating viewpoints of mother and daughter Amanda and Maggie, this quietly eloquent first novel records a family's terse transactions as they complicitously hide behind lies. They share violent memories: the shooting deaths of Amanda's father and son Evan; Amanda's cold denial of her husband; her rejection of the women Evan loved. The family plays out its tight drama in a wooded, mountainous New England setting, where they own a rough lakeside cabin built by a great-grandfather. The heady beauty of the place seems overhung with menace; Amanda remarks, ""You must always be prepared for death on this lake.'' Time shuttles seamlessly back and forth from Amanda's repressed girlhood to a here-and-now in which affectionate Maggie struggles to break through her mother's brittleness and fear for her ``weak'' heart. The narrative surface, often made up of echoing repetitions and bleakly vacant comments, contrasts with a tumultuous inner world, where feelings can only be experienced through the sufferings of natural creaturesnotably swallows, owls and loons. These moments account for Cooke's strongest writing, although the novel's contrived wrap-up may disappoint. (February)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
Discover what to read next
TIP SHEET
MORE BOOKS YOU'D LIKE
X
X