The Good Parents

Joan London, Author . Grove/Black Cat $14.95 (349p) ISBN 978-0-8021-7057-6

London (Gilgamesh ) delivers an excellent family drama rooted in rural Australian lives. The novel opens with a lengthy glimpse into the life of 20-year-old Maya de Jong, who has recently left her small hometown for a new job (and subsequently an affair with the new boss) in Melbourne. As early as the second chapter, however, it's clear that the narrative interest lies with Maya's parents, Toni and Jacob, who arrive for an extended vacation to discover Maya's gone missing. Maya's puzzling, abrupt absence—which will leave readers perplexed nearly as long as the de Jongs are—leaves Toni and Jacob with little to do but wait for her to contact them; this period of enforced helplessness and isolation provides a metaphorical insight into the parents of adult children, who, as Jacob reflects, reveal their own self-doubts and self-awareness once their parental role is finished. The narrative shifts subtly among the past and present of a wide cast, each of whom has his or her own story of abandoning one life for another. This insightful novel illuminates with seeming ease the fraught relationships among friends, families and entire communities. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 09/22/2008
Release date: 02/01/2009
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 349 pages - 978-1-74166-652-6
Hardcover - 351 pages - 978-1-74166-793-6
Open Ebook - 368 pages - 978-1-55584-918-4
Open Ebook - 177 pages - 978-1-84887-437-4
MP3 CD - 978-1-5318-2548-5
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