Norumbega Park

Anthony Giardina. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $26 (336p) ISBN 978-0-374-27867-0
One night in 1969, while driving with his family, Richie Palumbo accidentally discovers the (fictional) New England town of Norumbega, a WASPy enclave west of Boston, and falls in love at first sight with an old house near the town center—as well as what he and his family could become there. So begins Giardina’s contemplative new novel, which weaves the perspectives of the Palumbo family—wife Stella, son Jack, and daughter Joannie—over the course of 40 years as they struggle with faith, desire, and disappointment. Richie’s dreams prove elusive, and the Palumbos are ill-prepared for their new community: “The furniture they’d brought was full of the angles of an imagined future that, he realized now, had already dipped into the past.” Stella resists the town from the beginning, while Jack rebels against the weight of his father’s expectations by channeling his teenage energy and looks into seducing as many girls at Norumbega Regional High as he can. Joannie slips from her father’s grasp and becomes a cloistered nun. There are moments of grace and beauty—a late-night swim on an empty lake, an illicit glide across an iced-over pond—and Giardina (White Guys) effectively portrays the cloistered world of contemporary nuns. However, the characters’ malaise and dissatisfaction becomes claustrophobic. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 10/31/2011
Release date: 01/31/2012
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 336 pages - 978-1-4299-5001-5
Paperback - 325 pages - 978-1-250-02409-1
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