cover image IN DAHLIA'S WAKE


Yona Zeldis McDonough, . . Doubleday, $23.95 (304pp) ISBN 978-0-385-50362-4

Infidelity serves as both consolation and punishment in this domestic drama by McDonough (The Four Temperaments ) about a Brooklyn couple who try to piece their lives together after the death of their only child. Rick, a podiatrist, and Naomi, a private school teacher, are devoted to their daughter, seven-year-old Dahlia. When Dahlia is killed in a freak accident, her parents are devastated, and McDonough thoroughly explores their heartache. Naomi retreats into grief-stricken isolation, quits her teaching job and begins to volunteer at the very hospital that was unable to save Dahlia's life. She finds herself drawn to the doctor who delivered the news of her daughter's death and seeks him out as a confidante and perhaps more, blaming Rick for her loss. Rick reacts to Naomi's rejection and takes solace in his work—and in the arms of a co-worker. When guilt drives Rick to confess his indiscretion, Naomi is unconsolable. A story her mother tells her about her own father's indiscretions makes Naomi see Rick's actions in a more forgiving light, but in the end it's another freak accident—dramatic and unlikely—that nips her own dalliance in the bud. Good local color and the lovingly described trappings of upper-middle-class life give McDonough's novel texture, but can't make up for contrived plotting and stock characters. Agent, Suzanne Gluck. (Apr. 19)