REVIEWED BY KATHARINE ENGLAND
lifelong hunger for her mother’s love undermines her own early marriage, which ends in a betrayal that is uniquely painful, but that also bestows an unexpected and life-salvaging compensation.
The novel moves in little leaps, backtracking here and there to fill in family history, oddly wayward at times about its tenses but constantly forestalling criticism with a sudden image that is dazzling in its immediacy and rightness – like the dead fox “smeared on the road like a broken jar of jam…”. Grace’s diagnosis with cancer taxes the dynamics set up in childhood as her now adult children, all variously disappointed by the way adulthood has treated them, try to adjust to her new neediness and to their impending loss. This is a novel that grows on the reader as Grace’s illness brings the characters into sharper