Isaac and His Devils

Fernanda Eberstadt, Author, Victoria Wilson, Editor Alfred A. Knopf $22 (337p) ISBN 978-0-394-58496-6
Confirming the promise of her first novel, Low Tide , Eberstadt tells a captivating tale. The ongoing struggles of the eponymous Isaac's devils within his large and awkward body produce gale forces--and a rollicking read. We meet Isaac Hooker at various moments throughout the stormy two decades of his life in a rural New Hampshire town. First as the insatiably curious and ungainly child of Sam, a would-be professor who instead teaches at the local high school, and Mattie, a slovenly and energetic power; then as the often cruel older brother of the order-loving Turner; as the brilliant but extremely difficult high school student who has read more than his teachers (and lets them know it); as the Harvard dropout who lives with his former math teacher, Agnes Urquhart, in an isolated cabin; and finally, as the neglectful son who falls apart after his father's death. Isaac is a child hell-bent on knowing everything, to the annoyance of his mother and the adoration of his father. In her sensitive account of Isaac's desperate search for truth and meaning and his wary circling of his father's failure, Eberstadt not only shows us the life of one young eccentric, but also paints portraits of small-town existence and the universal truths and pains of parental relationships. In an often dense and sometimes slow--but redeemingly clear-eyed--narrative, Eberhardt's characters are passionately conceived and rich with life. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1991
Release date: 04/01/1991
Paperback - 337 pages - 978-0-446-39413-0
Open Ebook - 249 pages - 978-0-307-80731-1
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