cover image Everything


Kevin Canty, Doubleday/Talese, $25 (208p) ISBN 978-0-385-53330-0

The disaffection from a purposeless life unites the characters in Canty’s painstakingly crafted novel of backcountry Montana. When longtime friends RL and June memorialize the 11th anniversary of June’s husband’s death, they’re confronted with the emptiness of their lives. RL seeks new beginnings with an old acquaintance undergoing treatment for cancer, while June contemplates selling her house. Into the mix is added RL’s sweet but depressive college-age daughter, who engages in an ill-advised affair with an older man beleaguered by a dull marriage. Though the narratives rarely cross, Canty’s adept handling of structure and themes makes them all feel like part of the same conversation, and the few points of intersection resonate sharply. An able minimalist, Canty (Nine Below Zero) is skillful at evoking the weight of a lifetime’s quiet angst in mundane moments. The story offers few moments of grace for its luckless characters, but it’s full of life, and the occasional bright spots are hard-won and authentic. (July)