Marisa Silver, Author . Norton $23.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-393-05823-9

Inhabiting the uncomfortable space between loss and self-discovery, this debut novel by Silver (after the story collection Babe in Paradise ) tells of missing fathers and the women and children they leave behind. Caroline, whose astronomer husband's departure dredges up memories of her father's abandonment, moves her twin 10-year-old sons, Will and Ethan, cross-country to Los Angeles to live with her parents. Caroline's father, motivated by decades-old guilt, has just hired a Mexican immigrant named Amador to care for his wife, who is quickly succumbing to dementia. Meanwhile, two willful teenagers, Marlene (Will and Ethan's illegitimate half-sister, the daughter of their absent father) and Rogelio (Amador's eldest son), embark on parallel, gritty expeditions in search of their fathers. Silver proves herself a deft juggler of plot lines and an effective realist; she conjures an aching world of half-truths, physical need and emotional frustration. Young Rogelio's adventures underground, in the lawless tunnels under the Mexican-American border, are particularly affecting, as are the struggles of Will, who suffers from a degenerative eye disorder and tries to learn to see the world "from the inside out" by observing his grandmother's mental meanderings. Despite some easy moralizing and overextended metaphors, this is a moving novel, each of its well-wrought characters finding some comfort in the "solace of in-between spaces." (June)

Reviewed on: 03/21/2005
Release date: 06/01/2005
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 289 pages - 978-0-393-32874-5
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