cover image Isabel Out of the Rain

Isabel Out of the Rain

Catherine Gammon. Mercury House, $10.95 (200pp) ISBN 978-0-916515-97-3

Russell takes Isabel in ``like a lost kitten.'' He's 37, she's 14.parallelism. ok?aa/yes/pk He loves her, sometimes desires her, believes she was fated to come to him. This vague presentiment becomes unnervinglyor `tragically'? aa concrete when Isabel says that their meeting was no accident--he is her father. Or is he? Isabel tells many stories (not lies, according to Russell's distinction: ``A lie is not a story. Somewhere in a story the truth is concealed''). She is a mystery that Russell must solve. Her past is somehow connected with his own and with his friend from the Vietnam war, the powerful, maya-worshippingl.c. maya. sg Billy Santana, who stole Russell's wife and took her to live in Guatemala. A murder frames the novel, and Russell's brother, Cheyenne, seems guilty. Oddly enough, he, too, knows Isabel. Gammon crafts a solid psychological mystery with Oedipal undercurrents that arise fromundercurrents is plural, and `arise from' is less wordy than `rise out of'. ok? aa/ok/pk a mist of confusion and nightmarish flashbacks--of Vietnam, of sexual abuse--becoming clear only at the finish. Sometimes the prose in this first novel is thick, asking more questions than it answersor:`asking more questions than it answers' aa . But the conclusion strikes with force owing to its stealthy, veiled approach. (Apr.)