A Cloud in the Shape of a Girl

Jean Thompson. Simon & Schuster, $26 (336p) ISBN 978-1-5011-9436-8
Thompson’s incisive, intricate novel centers on three generations of women living in a small, unnamed Midwestern college town. Evelyn Wise worked as a history professor during WWII, and after the war married Andrew. Evelyn’s greatest happiness in life seemed to stem from her career achievements—which included work for the League of Women Voters—rather than marrying and raising her two children, Laura and Mark. Laura held career ambitions that paled next to her desire to marry and have a family. Her post-college partying lifestyle led to her meeting Gabe Arnold, a graduate student studying computer science who seemed to be more of an adult than any of the boys she knew. They have two children, Grace and Michael. Grace has now finished college and works at a health food store in town, while Michael struggles with substance abuse and his halting music career. Laura takes on the role of caregiver for Evelyn, who is dying from cancer, and Gabe, who is an alcoholic. Grace struggles to not repeat her mother’s mistakes, determined to live life on her own terms. As Thompson (Who Do You Love) examines the present and past of each of the three generations of women, she adroitly reveals how their life experiences shaped them into being so different from one another. Intense, compassionate, and satisfying, Thompson’s novel is filled with real, complex characters whose destinies are inextricably tied to the women in their lives. Agent: Henry Dunow, Dunow, Carlson & Lerner. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/20/2018
Release date: 10/09/2018
Genre: Fiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-5082-6305-0
Library Binding - 500 pages - 978-1-64358-024-1
Compact Disc - 978-1-5082-6428-6
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-1-5011-9437-5
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