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The Year of Fog (Bantam Discovery) Paperback – February 26, 2008


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Product Details

  • Series: Bantam Discovery
  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Discovery; Reprint edition (February 26, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553385895
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553385892
  • ASIN: 0385340125
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (170 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #258,415 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this spare page-turner, Richmond (Dream of the Blue Room) draws complex tensions from a the set setup of a child gone missing. Photographer Abby Mason stops on San Francisco's Ocean Beach with her fiancé Jake's six-year-old daughter, Emma, to photograph a seal pup; by the time Abby looks up, Emma has disappeared. Abby, who narrates, flashes back to her growing relationship with high school teacherJake, and sketches its transformation over the course of the search. Emma's mother, Lisbeth (who abandoned the family three years earlier), wants back into Jake's life—even as he is giving up hope on finding Emma. Abby delves into the bereft missing children subculture and into the vagaries of memory. A hypnotist helps Abby unearth promising details of that singular last day with Emma, but the information requires major follow-through from Abby. The book's twist on missing child stories is wholly effective. Richmond develops the principle characters, and Abby's dysfunctional parents make for sharply drawn secondaries, as do local surfers. The book is beautifully paced—one feels Abby's clarity of purpose from the first page. The sure-handed denouement reflects the focus and restraint that Richmond brings to bear throughout. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Richmond's sophomore effort (after Dream of the Blue Room, 2003) traces a traumatic year in the life of photographer Abby Mason after she loses her fiance's six-year-old daughter. The moment Abby stopped to photograph a dead baby seal while walking on a fog-bound beach in San Francisco is one she will replay in her head a thousand times. That's the last time she saw Emma, who was racing ahead, eager to collect sand dollars. Panic and fear soon give way to sheer exhaustion and emotional shutdown as Abby and Emma's dad, Jake, immerse themselves in the desperate search for the missing first-grader. As the months tick by, Jake becomes convinced that Emma drowned, while Abby is sure that Emma was kidnapped. The trauma and the guilt wreak havoc with their relationship and with their struggle to regain a sense of normalcy. Richmond gracefully explores the nature of memory and perception in key passages that never slow the suspense of the search. Closely echoing Jacquelyn Mitchard's best-selling Deep End of the Ocean (1996), this is a page-turner with a philosophical bent. Joanne Wilkinson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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More About the Author

Michelle Richmond is the author of the forthcoming novel GOLDEN STATE (February 4, 2014), the New York Times bestseller THE YEAR OF FOG, the novels NO ONE YOU KNOW and DREAM OF THE BLUE ROOM, and the award-winning story collection The Girl in the Fall-Away Dress. Her new story collection, HUM, will also be published in 2014.

Michelle has received the Catherine Doctorow Innovative Fiction Prize (2012), the Hillsdale Award for Fiction from the Fellowship of Southern Writers (2009), the Associated Writing Programs Award, and the Mississippi Review Fiction Prize. Visit michellerichmond.com for updates, book giveaways, and social media links.

From the author:
"For me, a novel always begins with a place and a character, and unfolds from there. My first two books are rooted in the Southern landscape of my childhood. Without the place out of which they grew, those books would not exist.

My subsequent books--The Year of Fog, No One You Know, and my forthcoming novel, GOLDEN STATE--could, in my mind, only take place in the San Francisco Bay Area. San Francisco has been my home for a decade. It's the place that fills my days and my imagination, and it inevitably finds its way into my novels."

Customer Reviews

Her characters are well written, and very diverse.
Katrina Elizabeth
The ending might have been a little abrupt, but it surprised me, and I like that in a book.
Eliza Bennet
This was an okay book, but it was too long and repetitive.
Previe

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 51 people found the following review helpful By lisatheratgirl VINE VOICE on June 16, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is a book about a parent's worst nightmare. Unlike similar books, such as Beth Gutcheon's Still Missing, this book goes beyond the facts of a girl who disappears. The father, Jake, sticks to a police-procedural approach in trying to locate his daughter, sending out flyers, offering a reward, setting up a web site, appearing on television and radio. But Abby, Jake's fiance, feels responsible for the girl's disappearance and takes a much more imaginative approach. The themes of the book are presented through Abby's eyes. One is memory, recall of details, hypnosis, looking for clues that might have been overlooked. Abby and her friend Nell study the workings of memory, amnesia, the inability to forget. Another is the passing of time and the artificiality of time. The police say the longer a child is missing, the less likely he/she will turn up alive. Jake accepts this, Abby studies what time may mean. Abby is a photographer and looks for clues in her pictures. Jake and Abby are in agony, and I feel the story is realistic, including what eventually happens. There are different possibilities when a child disappears. She may eventually be found alive, like Elizabeth Smart in Utah. That doesn't mean she's undamaged. She may be found dead, like the child of one of the characters in a support group in the book. A child may be dead, but it can turn out there was no abduction, like the case of two boys in Milwaukee, Wisconsin last year. After a nationwide search, the boys were found accidentally drowned in McGovern Park lagoon in their own neighborhood. And then there are the children who are never found and the family never knows what happened. Jake wants closure, Abby refuses to give up. Although some people think the book is slow moving, time could really drag for parents in this situation. I couldn't put the book down and found it interesting up to the end. I think this could turn out to be one of the best books of the year.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Warlen Bassham on March 2, 2008
Format: Paperback
I picked this book up brand new at a bargain counter in a grocery store. I bought $50 worth of groceries that day. This book was the most nourishing item in the shopping basket.

Abby Mason [the narrator], a young photographer engaged to Jake, the father of charming 6-year-old Emma, 'loses' the child one foggy day at a San Francisco beach. One moment the girl is there-- the next moment she's gone.

The book is the story of everyone's search for the missing child-- especially Abby's search. (The search takes almost a year-- hence the book's title.) But while everyone else is looking in every possible physical nook and cranny of the area, Abby's search takes her into her own past, into the convoluted pathways of memory, into her knowledge of photography, into an exploration of psychology and philosophy worthy of the great literary artists of our time and of all time. [Why this writer isn't classed right alongside the likes of Amy Tan, Joyce Carol Oates, and Alice Walker is a total mystery to me-- she's that good.]

Some reviewers have classified Year of Fog as "Women's Lit," whatever that's supposed to be. I hasten to tell you, it's not just for women. Any halfway or better educated man who isn't addicted to Westerns or Tom Clancy to the exclusion of everything else will find this enthralling and even heart-pounding at times. I literally could not stop reading.

The solution to the 'mystery' is absolutely unpredictable, no matter what you think it's going to be. The characters, especially Abby, will stay with you forever. It's one of the best books I've ever read, and I've read thousands.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Previe on November 5, 2008
Format: Paperback
This was an okay book, but it was too long and repetitive. I found myself skimming through the endless search scenes. And, in the end, I found the behavior of the main characters a little hard to believe. The protangonist was really a victim. This was no random kidnapping, yet the boyfriend didn't seem to understand that his messed up family stole a year from this poor woman's life. I wanted to smack him in the end.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By libramingo on August 12, 2008
Format: Paperback
Although I enjoyed the references to lovely San Francisco, I agree with other reviewers that the book is repetitive. It could have been shortened considerably, or better yet, the plot could have been enhanced and/or incorporated better character development. A few things:

Hard to believe that the uber-observant Abby could lose an adored child at Ocean Beach (even with fog and a dead seal).

Although the author clearly did her research on memory, photography and San Francisco, the book seemed more of a report on these subjects, kind of dumped into a loose plot about a lost child. It would have worked better if the research was more subtly interwoven into a deeper plot with more developed characters.

In particular, the relationship between Jake and Abby seemed very superficial. Although I get it that Jake is clean, logical, hairy-chested and paternal, I don't know who he is beyond that. The romantic relationship wasn't deeply established, and the intimacy seemed sit-commy.

The next door neighbor Nell seemed a tad too convenient, being a librarian and all, coming over with mounds of books and referrals to hypno-therapists. The relationship there seemed superficial as well, all one-way.

Although the character Abby seems a decent person, I hardly thought her worthy of all the adoration she gets simply by showing up. In particular, it was hard to imagine why Nick, the successful captain wonderful who flies around the world on mysterious (spy?) missions, would first of all be constantly single, and second, continuously on the hunt and in utter adoration of (a rather morose) Abby. Ditto for female strangers, like the surfer girl Goofy. Abby doesn't seem to give anything back to these people, but they still want more Abby.
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