Christopher Brookhouse, Author . Permanent $26 (150p) ISBN 978-1-57962-179-7

Novelist and poet Brookhouse underwhelmingly examines the repressed desires of the Groh family and its community in Jeffrey, N.H., following the disappearance of teenage daughter Nicki. Set to graduate high school and attend Princeton, Nicki runs away the morning after a classmate, Willie Boots, tries to rape her during a boat ride. The novel becomes less about the circumstances surrounding Nicki's departure and more about the people she leaves in her wake—her outwardly distant but loving father; her sexually and emotionally conflicted mother; the young teacher with whom Nicki had been having an affair; Willie, who continues to pine for Nicki; and other minor townsfolk whose gossip peppers the novel. Told in sparse, economic prose that echoes the self-protective silences the characters employ to protect their secrets, Brookhouse's slim book has moments of revelatory power, but overall, the narrative simplicity lends the project an air of banality. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 11/03/2008
Release date: 01/01/2009
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