Idaho by Emily Ruskovich, Penguin/Random House.

Australian Women’s Weekly NZ - - BOOKS - KE

A novel of im­mense ma­tu­rity, deal­ing with loss, lone­li­ness and de­men­tia. Wade Mitchell and wife Jenny are both Idaho “prairie peo­ple”. Gen­tle choir mis­tress Ann has been teach­ing Wade, a dog trainer and knife crafts­man, to play the pi­ano at the school at­tended by his young daugh­ters June and May. When an in­ex­pli­ca­ble act of vi­o­lence oc­curs – Jenny tak­ing a hatchet to May, June dis­ap­pear­ing into the woods – we are per­plexed and in need of an­swers. Plead­ing guilty, Jenny has to serve a life sen­tence, and a short time af­ter his di­vorce, Wade mar­ries Ann. They head for the Mitchell fam­ily’s re­mote moun­tain home, where Wade’s early-on­set de­men­tia and his grief re­sult in un­pro­voked vi­o­lence to a trapped Ann. She stum­bles on ghosts – a po­laroid of the girls which she sweeps from un­der the fridge, as our char­ac­ters must be robbed of their mem­o­ries – in an ethe­real tale that leaves much to the imag­ined, rather than the ex­plained. The hu­man ca­pa­bil­ity for cru­elty and the ca­pac­ity for for­give­ness are the book’s foun­da­tions, from an au­thor who has such a del­i­cate a touch, she could write on eggshells.

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