Consider This Home

Greg Bills, Author Simon & Schuster $20.5 (318p) ISBN 978-0-671-79873-4
Bills's masterful debut traces a deceptively relaxed, almost meandering path to a devastating conclusion that weighs despair and hope in an agonizingly fine balance. The abrupt collapse of her parents' marriage calls KathLeen and her precocious, insightful 10-year-old son Daron back from Las Vegas to the small Mormon township of her childhood, where she is forced to gather up threads of the past left dangling by her sudden departure six years before. Her hard-won independence is challenged by various confrontations: with her family; with Tom, her first lover and the father of Daron; and with her estranged husband Skunk, whose visionary religious obsessions hold out to Kath both the threat of annihilation and the possibility of redemption and spark the narrative's incendiary resolution. Kath's struggle is informed throughout by the stark colors of the Utah desert and by Mormonism, the desert religion--here presented as unforgiving and embracing, anachronistic and Utopian, parochial and millennial. Avoiding condescension and sensationalism in favor of a meticulous accumulation of telling detail, Bills leads us beneath the surface of outwardly unremarkable lives to the secret regions touched by the numinous, the terrible and the profound. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/28/1994
Release date: 03/01/1994
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