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The Year of Fog (Bantam Discovery) Paperback – February 26, 2008
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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 the Audible Audio Edition edition.
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 the Audible Audio Edition edition.
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However, the author does have a dream-like way of telling a story and she was able to make us feel Abby's pain and hate Jake for being an ungrateful, weak, wet wimp. It was a good story with an interesting plot and I liked that it was shown from a different perspective. I do wonder if the author could have written from other points of view other than Abby's as that might also have added a little extra depth. Not a bad read at all.
Following along behind the little Emma, she stops and looks away for just seconds. When she looks up again the girl is gone.
Abby searches frantically, and calls the police. It is left up to her to call Jake, Emma's father, and let him know what has happened. That call is the beginning of a journey that will tale Abby deep into the depths of her own heart and soul, and a great distance away to another country, where she believes that she will find the girl.
The story journals the days and weeks from the first moment Abby realizes Emma is missing, through the weeks and months where her thoughts are with the child, and during which she attempts to hold her relationship with Jake together. Can any relationship survive such a tragedy?
This is a mystery, it is a love story, and compelling story of faith and growth of the human spirit.
There is a period about three quarters of the way through, where the story lags a bit, but stick with it, for an emotional and intriguing ending.
I recommend it .
This book had great potential. The premise is that the main character Abby, is caring for her soon to be step daughter Emma while her fiance is out of town. A quick visit to the beach turns into tragedy when Abby gets distracted and Emma turns up missing. Now, this sounds like a good book. And it could have been......
Michelle Richmond had a good idea, but turned it into mathematical and memory lessons. Pages upon pages were filled with memory experiments and Abby going over mathemtical equations in her head that may have changed the course of events. By day 100, I kept chanting to myself- only 265 more days to go. Only 265 days for Abby to reflect on her own childhood, read books on memory experiments, and reflect on math lessons from her high school teacher- none of which I signed up for.
I will say that the end was not bad. I felt some vindication for making it through a full year of pages and felt no guilt for flipping through chapters all at once at times. The end is pretty farfetched, but she had to give us something and I happily took that little gift.
All in all, read this book if you are interested in memory exercises or research. If you really want to know what happened to Emma, read the first 30 pages and then skip to the last 30. Actually, trim that down to the first 15 and last 15- you'll still get the story line. Minus, a mathematical hangover.