Thursday, January 20, 2011

Elizabeth Strout, AMY AND ISABELLE

Brilliant and terrifying. In a claustrophobically small mill town (I found myself thinking of Richard Russo), 16-year-old Amy's math teacher begins to molest her, and her mother Isabelle has no idea. Estranged from other people in town (and from her daughter) by what she imagines to be her own dark secrets, Isabelle only finds out because her boss comes upon Amy and Mr. Robertson in his car. Ultimately, the novel is somewhat redemptive--Isabelle finds her place by sharing the truth; but Amy is already almost gone. I'd compare the emotional intensity and the skill of the writing to that of LITTLE BEE.
By the way, has anyone out there read Chris Cleave's newest?

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