From Publishers Weekly
Noble (The Reading Group) hits her stride in her tearjerker fourth novel. Before Barbara Forbes, a mother of four, succumbs to terminal cancer, she leaves words of wisdom for her four daughters in the form of letters to each of them. In the year following Barbara's death, her daughters draw strength from her words and from each other as they move forward with their lives. Lisa, the eldest, is advised to "let someone look after [her]" for a change. Jennifer, "fragile and hard to reach," struggles with an unraveling marriage. Free-spirited Amanda is thrown for a loop by a family secret, and teenaged Hannah, experiencing her first taste of rebellion, is reminded that she still has a lot of growing up to do. Though Barbara's life-is-short aphorisms are nothing new, her sharp wit and distinctive voice is a nice complement to the four nuanced stories of coping with death. (Apr.)
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The terrible impact of bodies falling from the sky, the shrill thwack of a golf ball hit out-of-bounds, the elusively tender caress upon a faithful dog’s head. Such tactile, sensory imagery infuses Amend’s lustrous collection of short fiction that celebrates the forlorn and isolated, the disgruntled and misunderstood, the least guarded and most apprehensive among us. With sly humor and subtle insight, Amend traces the uncertain trajectory of love from devotion to deception, blossom to breakup, through relationships both casual and deep. An inner-city schoolteacher tries desperately to break down the barriers between insensitivity and empathy in “Dominion over Every Erring Thing,” while a writer of cybererotica is surprised by a callous lack of loyalty in “The People You Know Best.” In a world where husbands begrudgingly support wives and sisters inexplicably betray brothers, where lovers appear and disappear at whim, Amend’s dialogue is crisp and pure, her observations nuanced and keen, her understanding of the human condition buoyant and clear. --Carol Haggas
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