A family grapples with barely concealed secrets after witnessing a tragedy in Poissant’s poignant and beautiful debut novel (after the collection The Heaven of Animals). Retired Cornell math professor Richard Starling and his wife, Lisa, an ornithologist, gather their 30-something sons Thad and Michael for one last hurrah at the family’s lake house in North Carolina before the couple sells the house and retires to Florida. After Michael, an alcoholic facing a dry morning with “wings in the skull,” fails to save a neighbor boy from drowning, the family struggles to salvage their vacation as the causes of their inner pain rise to the surface. Michael’s wife is unexpectedly pregnant despite Michael’s long-standing objection to fatherhood; Thad, an underemployed poet, begrudges his open relationship with Jake, a blocked artist; Lisa mourns her firstborn infant daughter lost to SIDS; and Richard worries Lisa is selling the lake house to punish him for an undisclosed affair. As the family members’ facades begin to crack, fresh wounds surface and hard decisions are made by each. Poissant demonstrates superb talent for observation, cultivating a familiar, lived-in feeling of the family’s lake house, where each character’s unique viewpoint emerges powerfully and their everyday interactions gain greater significance. This is a remarkable, moving depiction of a family on the brink. Agent: Gail Hochman, Brandt & Hochman Literary. (July)
Reviewed on : 04/15/2020 Release date: 07/01/2020 Genre: Fiction
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