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In Chris Bohjalian's fine follow-up to Midwives, individual judgment and the unconventional again clash with the medical and legal forces of tradition. In rural Vermont, two years after his wife's sudden death, an exhausted state's attorney can hope for little but a quiet life with his 4-year-old daughter. Leland Fowler's only goal is a cure for the common cold--his own, that is, which has dragged on for months. As it turns out, his appointment with the town's only homeopath will set to rights his physical and emotional symptoms. At least for a while.
Alas, another of Carissa Lake's patients isn't quite so lucky. Despite her warning that Richard Emmons not go off his prescription drugs, he does exactly that. In fact, during an asthma attack, he takes the homeopathic law of similars--the belief that "like cures like"--to an entirely new level. This tragedy embroils Carissa in an investigation of her practice and forces Leland into a decision that is to alter not only her life but his:
Upstairs, my daughter slept. And for a long time we sat on the floor before the tree, neither of us saying a word, as I worked out in my mind exactly what I would have needed to prosecute this case if a summer cold had not lasted into the fall, and I had not met Carissa Lake. Once I knew, nothing seemed quite so hopeless, and I began to sketch aloud for her exactly what we would want to create in the morning, and exactly what we would want to destroy.Chris Bohjalian is an artist of the small but seismic instant. As this gripping novel proves, he knows all too well the awful daring of a moment's surrender. --Siobhan Carson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
As he proved in last year's Midwives, Bohjalian is adept at examining social and moral issues fraught with ambiguities. Here, again, he focuses on a fallible protagonist whose lapse in ethical judgment is motivated by love and need. Widower Leland Fowler, the chief deputy state's attorney in Burlington, Vt., has been lonely since his wife was killed in an accident two years previously, leaving him to raise his daughter Abby, now four. When traditional methods fail to cure a persistent sore throat caused by stress, he consults homeopath Carissa Lake, receives a remedy that works on the principle of "like cures like" (i.e., using the cause of the illness as the cure)Aand falls desperately in love with Carissa. When another of Carissa's patients misinterprets the law of similars and falls into an allergy-induced coma, Leland realizes that Carissa may be accused of malpractice. Abandoning his judgment and his rectitude, Leland instructs Carissa in fabricating and destroying evidenceAthis while his own office may seek to prosecute her. The consequences are, of course, ineffably sad. Despite his tendency to use foreshadowing with the bluntness of hammer blows, Bohjalian succeeds in escalating tension and communicating the irony of Leland's position. The evocation of domestic routines and the quality of small-town life ring true in beautifully captured details. But despite Bohjalian's evident compassion for decent people who behave irresponsibly in moments of crisis, it may be difficult for readers to accept Leland's unethical behavior, no matter how deep his emotional need. Since credibility is essential in understanding Leland's fall from grace, one finishes the novel wishing that Bohjalian had been able to portray his hero's quandary without so completely betraying Leland's moral principles. Author tour. (Jan.) FYI: Jessica Lange will appear in the ABC TV movie based on Midwives.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
I love everything Bohjalian writes....this does not disappoint.Published 29 days ago by Lynne Foerster
Pretty good.....not as good as some of his others....good twist at the end.Published 1 month ago by Suzanne M. Varso
Leland is a state prosecutor in Vermont. He is a widower and has a young daughter, Abby. He develops a chronic cold and seeks out alternative remedies. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Skyqi
This story was too forced. It was as though Bohjalian discovered homeopathy and thought it would make a cool book. . So he came up with this very convoluted story. Read morePublished 5 months ago by BEE
Poor character development made this a mediocre story. I couldn't connect with any of the characters and so found it difficult to get into. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Catherine McDonald
Most of the story is unsettling as one gets involved with thinking of guilt, lying, poisoning, stealing, and the like. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Lila Aamodt
Heard the author was really a great writer - couldn't prove it by this book. Also, the ending was "fair" - could have been more interesting. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Susan
When I finished the book, I thought "what on earth led me to buy this?" This book was so close to being cool and interesting - but it was just a big miss, disjointed and... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Jennifer