|Why is there a disembodied arm floating in water on the cover?|
Nobody literally drowns in this novel.
I came by this book unexpectedly. It was left in the dining room and never claimed. My adopted copy has a big gold sticker on it saying: Heather's Pick
Well Heather, I don't know why you thought this book was a good read and there is nothing astonishing, or compelling about it. Ms. Shreve, the reviewer quoted on the cover, needs to reacquaint herself with the meanings of superlatives. Especially the word: "astonishing".
Astonishing: flabbergasting, jarring, jaw-dropping, jolting, shocking, startling, stunning, stupefying
Perhaps Ms Shreve knows Holly LeCraw as an idiot savant who's molecule of genius is knowing how to use a thesaurus? In which case, yes, this was an astonishing book. As for well-crafted, I'm not so impressed either. I'm all for finding the correct word for describing nuances of meanings but the amount of irregular words in this book was distracting. I would be reading along and come across a particularly interesting word choice and find my brain grinding to a halt. Why that word? It may as well have jumped off the page and blown me a raspberry.
As for the story, it surrounds a miserable group of people who reek of desperation. Jed and Callie are sibs whose mother was murdered seven years before and whose dad died shortly after in a mysterious car accident. Dad was never cleared of suspicion in the murder and the sibs are left struggling with this life altering event in their own ways. Callie has a confusing case of post partum depression and too much time is devoted to describing in clouded terms, the meanderings of her mind. Sorry, not interested.
Dad broke off an affair with Marcella the day his wife was murdered. Seven years later Jed and Marcella embark on a love affair as if this were a perfectly natural thing. Aside from the ick factor, LeCraw's descriptions of their trysts are jarring and uncomfortable. Like they are trying to wring sexual satisfaction out of each other like hot, wet, sandy towels.
I was willing to tolerate this to get to the end of the story but I was in for another astonishing surprise. Reaching the last sentence of the last page, I turned to continue reading and voom! That was it. I was left with a distinct; "wait...what?" feeling reminiscent of the way I felt after watching Miami Vice episodes in their latter years.
So if you see this on the shelf and you trust my judgement even a little, pass on this one. Or read it and tell me where I went wrong.