Bart Moeyaert, Handprint, , trans. by Wanda Boeke. . Front Street, $15.95 (128pp) ISBN 978-1-886910-71-3

Belgian author Moeyaert (Bare Hands) evokes a variety of moods in three chronologically arranged scenes, narrated by the third of four children, known only as "Sis." These slices of life reveal her feelings about her mother, brother, two sisters and other characters who periodically join their household. The girl's descriptions of her surroundings coincide with her emotional landscape. For instance, the author emphasizes Sis's repugnance for her mother's current lover through the claustrophobic aura of the opening scene, which takes place on a car trip. While the narrator's brother, in the driver's seat, openly expresses his hostility towards the man, Sis sits silently next to him in the back seat ("In the curve, Bordzek slumps against me like a brick. His head drops forward and I can't move anymore"). Humor melds with compassion in the second episode with the arrival of a "visitor," bequeathed to the family in her grandmother's will. Sis envisions the stranger as generous and handsome, but he turns out to be an unkempt old man in a wheelchair. The final chapter comes to a quiet climax, in which Sis's maturation comes clearly into focus; she experiences a moment of acceptance and peace as she pauses from her fantasy of her absent brother and becomes fully aware of those remaining at home—her two sisters, Skip and his dog. Through the voice of his innocent yet keenly observant and compassionate narrator, the author eloquently expresses the nuances and subtleties of the relationships that shape the person she is becoming. Ages 12-up. (June)