- Paperback: 432 pages
- Publisher: Bantam (May 28, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0553381512
- ISBN-13: 978-0553381511
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (119 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #710,838 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Folly Paperback – May 28, 2002
This month's Book With Buzz: "The Silent Corner" by Dean Koontz
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"The thing about madness was, it just took so damn much energy, and it was so thoroughly tedious in the meantime." Master woodworker Rae Newborn knows madness intimately, with every bone, every pore, every particle of her being. At 52, with three suicide attempts, extended hospitalizations, the death of her husband and daughter, and a vicious attack behind her, Rae has come to Folly Island, far out in the Straits of Juan de Fuca, to rebuild her life by building a house:
She would pull herself together, she would go and rebuild Desmond's house, she would lift his walls and dwell within them quietly all the rest of her days. Everything that House was lay there waiting for her to take it up: House as shelter, House as permanence, House as a continuation and a legacy, comfort and challenge, safety and beauty, symbol and reality joined as one.Bequeathed to Rae by Desmond Newborn, a great-uncle she never met, Folly Island is lovely indeed. But when Rae discovers Desmond's journal in the 70-year-old ruins of his house, she learns that Desmond had his own internal horrors to confront on the island. As she labors in solitude, her prickly nature deterring all but the most determined of her would-be neighbors, it's not just her well-being that's at stake. Rae must prove herself sane if she is to have any contact with her beloved granddaughter Petra. So when the "skin-crawling feeling of being watched" doesn't fade, she does her best to ignore it. But does paranoia have its roots in reality? And is Rae doomed to repeat her ancestor's tragic end?
So effectively does King weave together past and present--the shrouded history of Desmond's life and death on Folly, and the tense, dusty, exhilaratingly panicky account of Rae's wrestling with old demons and new timber--that the future seems less important than the author might have wished. In other words, the eventual unmasking of Rae's watcher pales in comparison to the gradual revelation of Rae herself within King's haunted and haunting narrative. But with such a strong character and such moodily lovely prose, readers shouldn't miss the denouement-driven trappings of standard suspense. --Kelly Flynn --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Beautiful prose and intriguing characters can't quite save the confusing, and at times needlessly complicated, plot of this challenging psychological thriller, set on a fictional addition to the San Juan Island chain in Washington state, from Edgar-winner King. Talented, 52-year-old wood artist Rae Newborn suffers from severe depression, having survived several suicide attempts, as well as the death of her beloved second husband and their young daughter in a car crash. After being mugged by two strangers near her mainland home, Rae decides to wwork for healing by rebuilding the house called Folly that her great uncle, Desmond Newborn, constructed in the '20s as a way of mending his own war-wounded psyche. She capriciously dumps all her medications into Puget Sound, then lives in a tent while she digs and saws and chisels her way to bringing Folly and herself back to life. In uncovering and solving one murder, she works toward regaining sanity and--perhaps--love. While King skillfully portrays psychological illness, the book's sheer complexity of detail is overwhelming. There's more mass than the average mind can keep straight, and the passages about rebuilding Folly, especially, have a tendency to bog down. The denouement is a bit hokey, though definitely more attention-grabbing than all the rest put together. (Feb. 27)Forecast: Fans of King's Mary Russell and Kate Martinelli series will ensure strong initial sales, as will some serious ad/promo and a preview in each paperback copy of Night Work, currently on sale. This is far from King's best work, though, and may turn off some of her fans, leading to poor word of mouth and a weakening of sales down the road.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
This is a fairly long book, and one that won't appeal to everyone. Many pages are devoted to Rae building a house on her island, some people would find that tedious, I found it very interesting (If the book had been about Rae making fishing lures, or rebuilding a car, that would have been tedious to me). Rae is an artist who works with wood, and I found the descriptions of her work beautiful.
Rae has spent many years struggling with mental illness (horrific depression). While she has known happiness, she's known tragedy even more intimately. She gets the idea to rebuild her great-uncle's house that burned down seven decades before, and it begins to give her life new purpose. Because of her mental illness, she is unsure of herself when she sees or hears things (like a footprint that shouldn't be there or sounds that she's not really sure she heard).
The "mystery" element of the book is just a small part of the story, it's more about Rae finding the will to live again. But in the last few chapters of the book, it does get pretty pulse pounding.
Interspersed in the chapters are journal entries from Desmond, Rae's great-uncle and a WWI veteran with PTSD. The horrors of war haven't seemed to change much in the last 100 years. Rae feels a strong connection to Desmond, though she never met him, and the reasons why are made clear in the final chapter.
In both books, King's prose is breathtaking. In Touchstone, I thought she made the novel dull in the middle with too much detail. In this novel, she has a lot of exacting detail on house construction and the island environment, but it is necessary to the plot and subplots. In this book, the details do not make the reading dull, they enhance the novel.
I commented on the Touchstone book: "I think she spent way too much time on character and scene details and not enough .. developing the reason for the ... threat." The opposite is mostly true in this book. The character comes to life with profound insight but not so much as to bore the reader. The description of the island (Folly) , done with enough detail so that one can visualize it, but not so much that you get bored.
Folly is about a woman artist recovering from a very serious mental breakdown and grieving on an island once owned by her uncle. She decides to reconstruct the house he built (burned in a fire). While doing so she finds information on his last days. In addition she has to deal with ghosts, who may or may not be real. She has the challenges of someone who has had breakdowns and her relationships with her family and returning to the "real" world.
King proves that she has an excellent grasp of psychology particularly mental issues. Either she has experienced some mental challenges or is very close to someone who has. She goes beyond the textbook to the reality of it. She understands the sometimes delicate line between reality and imagination. She is able to develop the relationships the heroine has with her daughter, granddaughter and residents of the mainland with a stron, but without overdoing it.
In addition her grasp of house construction and wood workers is profound. She has demonstrated in this book and in a few of the Russell and Martinelle books that she is very acquainted with artists, their temperment and their craft.
The mystery is actually a mystery within a mystery. It is haunting and handled with a very delicate touch. I felt the presence of "the Watchers" all too well. My only criticism is that she did not develop the pyschological reasons for the attack at the end. I can not say more without spoiling the plot. I will only say that I would have preferred a little more development of this character.
I am a Laurie King Fan. I've read all the books in her two series and this is my first encounter with one of her stand-alones . I found the book engrossing and could hardly put it down until the last chapters. The way the book ended left me cold! It was as though the author didn't think the storyline through before she began writing and then couldn't come up with an ending that lived up to the wonderful character development and the beautiful narrative. The "who," the "why," and the "how" of the ending seemed to me more in line with a novice writer rather than someone of King's stature. Neverhteless, my enjoyment of the bulk of this book made up for the final let-down. I wish there were a 3 1/2 star rating since that would most accurately describe where I think this book belongs.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
a well written work