The Wishing Garden

Christy Yorke, Author Bantam $5.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-553-58036-5
HThere's magic in Yorke's second novel, magic in the prose, the details and the exquisite characterizations. Divorced advertising executive and Tarot-card reader Savannah Dawson takes her 15-year-old daughter, Emma, from their San Francisco home to Arizona so that they can spend time with Savannah's estranged mother, Maggie, and her father, Doug, who is dying of cancer. Then Savannah meets Jake, a secretive stranger who is building a special bench for her father's garden; at the same time, Emma meets Eli, the local bad boy who works for Jake. Although the relationships between these four characters form the basis for much of the drama in the story, the romantic elements remain secondary to the explorations of each individual's personality. Readers enter a world where poetry and soil speak for a dying man, where love can create as well as destroy and where all characters are complicit in each other's pain, either by choice or by chance. Yorke (Magic Spells) even has Jake's dog, Sasha, narrate some scenes, and those, together with the scenes revealing Maggie and Doug's difficult, complex, and ultimately loving relationship, are the most poignant in the book. Readers who enjoy contrary characters will especially prize the paradoxes in this well-executed novel. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/31/2000
Release date: 08/01/2000
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