Mothers

Chris Power. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $27 (304p) ISBN 978-0-374-21366-4
Full of travelers and troubled relationships, Power’s debut contains enough greatness to recover from sometimes repetitious narratives. “Mother 1: Summer 1976,” the sparkling first story, concerns a 10-year-old Swedish girl, Eva, as she navigates her feelings toward Nisse, a neighbor boy, after she accuses him of defacing their apartment complex. Eva appears in two more stories. In “Mother 2: Innsbruck,” she is a young adult, traveling Europe and contemplating suicide, while in “Mother 3: Eva,” she is married with a daughter yet impaired by depression and wanderlust. “Mother 2: Innsbruck” suffers from a sameness that weakens the collection, as a series of tales revolve around characters hiking rural landscapes. Of these, “The Crossing,” with its newly minted couple testing their relationship on a multiday walk, works best. Other highlights include “Johnny Kingdom,” which follows a Rodney Dangerfield–esque tribute comic on his farewell performances in Florida, and “Above the Wedding,” about an affair between a man and his friend’s future husband. There’s plenty to admire in Power’s writing, and the author mines his characters for unexpected traits and decisions, making for an auspicious debut. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/12/2018
Release date: 01/15/2019
Genre: Fiction
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