Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
Starred Review. With his ears made of envelopes," postman Willard Heald hears the secret intimacies of the residents of Garner, N.H., the setting of this exceptional debut. He composes intricate histories of his small town—time lines, lists, aphorisms, ordinances, predictions and conversations—which form the skeleton of Allio's lyrical evocation of country life as its adherence to the past smothers its present. In a novel full of voices, Heald's rings the loudest: "For some of our native folk, to meet the modern age was a difficult task. It was I who came upon young Frances, face up in Blood Brook and floating." This discovery occurs at the end of summer 1925, during Garner's transition from a prosperous farming town to a decaying vacation destination for a group of wealthy urbanites, and the death of nymphlike Frances only hastens the metamorphosis. Allio's finely wrought writing—Frances has "a laugh of leaves," while Heald's wife muses that "the evening was what one married for"—just barely overshadows a narrative that turns suspenseful in its final third. Four main characters nurse hearts as brittle as autumn's foliage, and their hurts lead them to places as frightening as dark forests and as shocking as the cool water of a stream. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Allio's first novel is a shockingly beautiful work about the clash of age and youth, experience and purity, and urban and rural life in 1920s New Hampshire. With farming less lucrative than in the past, the Giddens family makes the controversial decision to take in summer boarders. The farm draws wealthy, young, and overconfident New Yorkers, and the Puritan town of Garner shakes its collective head. Through Allio's stunning prose, the tension of this situation is tangible and thrilling, even more so due to the knowledge, presented in the opening pages, that young Frances Giddens will turn up dead. As the story focuses alternately on various characters fascinated with the elusive Frances--from a lonely female boarder to the town's curious postman--we learn about the complexity of Garner. And this farming town proves to be the novel's strongest character. Against the haunting backdrop of an ancient forest, Garner is still stinging from the Civil War, a dwindling population, and rapidly changing times, and its conflicts make for an alluring and unforgettable novel. Annie Tully
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved