cover image The Exception

The Exception

Susan Trott. Carroll & Graf Publishers, $17.95 (221pp) ISBN 978-0-88184-626-3

Trott ( Sightings ) has won a reputation as a stylist, and among those whose tastes favor the fantastic, her reputation should remain secure. Her latest novel, set in the environs of San Francisco, draws Boy Freeling and his sister, Amy, into a unique extended family that includies their uncle Masefield, cousin Masef, Zen priest Ito, dark and intense Laurie and seductive Cecile, who with her infant daughter moves in after crowning the victorious Boy at the Boston Marathon. Laurie, who has adored Masef since childhood, rages when she learns that he and Amy, ignoring genetic as well as social proprieties, have become lovers. But Amy's charms do not ensure Masef's loyalty once Cecile's baby is accidentally killed by Boy, a traumatic event that turns Olympic hopeful Boy into a zombie. Power broker Masefield seeks to reclaim son Masef by proving that Cecile herself was responsible for her baby's death, a theory that leads to confrontation in a little town called Weed. Competing points of view overlap awkwardly; the Zen priest is more a convenience than a character; and the uncle reeks of Hollywood cliches. Still, if readers can suspend disbelief, this quirky tale of self-obsessed people may find a new following. (Oct.)