Every night before he left when she was 10, Jesse Walker's father began a different version of ``the one true story of the world ''; she had to supply the endings. Now 34, with a failed marriage and a string of dead-end jobs and unsuitable lovers, she too has ``a talent for leaving'' and an inability to find the right ending for her life's story. Narrated in Jesse's wry, bravado-filled voice, this novel is a stunning debut. Jesse's long road home, punctuated by a guilt-ridden affair with a college professor in New Hampshire and a love idyll with a pig farmer in Iowa, takes her on a downhill slide into pain and humiliation before she can come to terms with her father's disappearance--the circumstances of which turn out to be different from what the reader has been led to believe. If at first Jesse seems a little too flaky and reckless to be sympathetic, the reasons for her behavior gradually unfold, her cynical wisecracks revealed as shields against vulnerability. In compressed, kinetic prose, counterpointed by an elegiac strain, McFall ends her short chapters with piercing observations, framed with such grace they go straight to the heart, as will the quirky heroine we meet in these pages. (June)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990 Release date: 01/01/1990 Genre: Fiction
During the Covid-19 crisis, Publishers Weekly is providing free digital access to our magazine, archive, and website. To receive the access to the latest issue delivered to your inbox free each week, enter your email below.