Shining Sea

Anne Korkeakivi. Little Brown, $26 (288p) ISBN 978-0-316-30784-0
This absorbing generational story, which follows the Gannon family from WWII to the present, explores complex dynamics and captures the mood of different decades in America. Korkeakivi's cogent insight into family relationships and the impact of personal loss, as well as how the times we live in effect who we are, shines through. The book opens with an affecting scene in which the patriarch, Michael Gannon, 43 years old and a survivor of the Bataan Death March, realizes that he's having a heart attack. The viewpoint shifts to his beleaguered widow, Barbara, left caring for their four children with a fifth on the way, and then to the troubled Francis, the youngest son, who can never escape the shadows of his heroic father's life and death and, later, his best friend's suicide. Each character's story is rich and excellently crafted: Barbara's practical second marriage five years after her husband's untimely death, plagued with a problem she refuses to recognize; eldest daughter Patty Ann's struggle with a string of loser husbands and the heartbreaking choices she makes to survive; Francis's wanderlust as he lives day-to-day to escape his past, following whims across continents that eventually place him in life-threatening circumstances. In the end, Korkeakivi (An Unexpected Guest) seamlessly brings her themes full circle—heroism, the importance of family, and giving back to the world—all of which would have made Michael Gannon very proud. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 09/05/2016
Release date: 08/01/2016
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-0-316-30786-4
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-0-316-30785-7
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-4789-1646-8
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