The reader takes possession of this flawlessly composed novel the way one walks through a house that, while never seen before, is immediately familiar and utterly one's own. Thomas Boudreaux, divorced proprietor of a used-book store in Virginia, writes about his family in 1967, when he was 17 and his father Daniel, an Air Force career man and Vietnam hero, was caught stealing a typewriter from his Maryland base and sentenced to two years of hard labor in Wilson Creek, Wyo. Daniel's surprising act and rapid conviction pitch his family--his wife Connie, Thomas and eight-year-old Lisa--into nearly overwhelming uncertainty. After they move off the base and into a new town, Connie decides that they must go to Wilson Creek. On the train ride across country, they are befriended by young Penny Holt. Thomas's initial interest in Penny becomes obsessive after she moves into their Wilson Creek boarding house, where she will play a central role in the family's drama. With perfectly modulated pitch, Bausch ( The Fireman's Wife and Other Stories ; Violence ) captures the voices of his characters--young Thomas's mingled needs to understand, help, escape and heal, Lisa's sharp rudeness (of them all, she stays most directly related to the reality of their circumstances), Connie's desperate desire to keep her family together without losing herself. Though it is a turbulent time in the world and Thomas's chronicle is full of conflict, the story unfolds with a quiet, commanding authority--it is a literary edifice, from details to grand design, and Bausch is a master builder. Author tour. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/29/1993 Release date: 04/01/1993 Genre: Fiction
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