From Publishers Weekly
When Katey Bruscke's bus arrives in her unnamed hometown, she finds the scenery blurred, "as if my hometown were itself surfacing from beneath a black ocean." At the conclusion of new novelist Gussoff's "day-in-the-life-of" first-person narrative, the reader feels equally blurred by the relentless dysfunction, unhappiness and drug-taking self-destruction of Katey, her family and friends. Katey receives a phone call from the police asking her to identify the body of her older sister Reese, an addict who has been shot in a "drug-related" crime. Leaving the police station, Katey takes the bus to the town she left two years earlierDbut she does not inform her family of Reese's death. In the next 24 hours, she reconnects with addicted, doomed high school friends, gets a new tattoo over her heart (a cameo), and visits her younger sister, Shay (after having slept with Shay's boyfriend). In repeated backstory scenarios, the childhood Katey appears destined for drug addiction: "Our family lived on pills. Our mother didn't believe in pain." Katie wonders "how the three of us didn't have major accidents, something disfiguring," then realizes that Reese's death is indeed such an event, and that she must save herself from a similar end. A painful expos of how we avoid feeling, this can be a demanding book for the reader. In the end, though, it works effectively as a prose poem about a nightmare passage in one woman's life. (Nov.)
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