Hot Springs

Geoffrey Becker, Author . Tin House $14.95 (301p) ISBN 978-0-9820539-4-2

In his incisive latest, Becker (2008 Flannery O'Conner Prize–winner for Black Elvis ) recounts the misadventures of Bernice Click, a volatile young woman determined to raise the biological daughter she gave up for adoption. With the help of her boyfriend, Bernice kidnaps five-year-old Emily from her adoptive parents in Colorado and ends up in Baltimore, where she attempts to make a new life for herself and the girl. Meanwhile, Tessa Harding, Emily's adoptive mother, tries to recover Emily without involving authorities. Struggling with the revelation of her husband's indifference to the child, not to mention his adultery and increasingly sadistic behavior, Tessa embarks on a riveting adventure. The novel relies on a far-fetched coincidence to launch Tessa's mission, but resulting scenes are sufficiently tense and thought provoking to justify the stretch, while Becker's portrayal of Tessa's faith is moving and psychologically complex. As desperation mounts on all sides, Becker piles on devastating events, creating a remarkably taut narrative and a rousing testament to humanity's capacity for resilience. Nobody gets off the hook, though they do find uneasy deliverance in unexpected places. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 11/16/2009
Release date: 02/01/2010
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-0-9825048-3-3
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