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The Fragile World
by Paula Treick Deboard


Overview -

From the author of stunning debut The Mourning Hours comes a powerful new novel that explores every parent's worst nightmare

The Kaufmans have always considered themselves a normal, happy family. Curtis is a physics teacher at a local high school.  Read more...


 
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More About The Fragile World by Paula Treick Deboard
 
 
 
Overview

From the author of stunning debut The Mourning Hours comes a powerful new novel that explores every parent's worst nightmare

The Kaufmans have always considered themselves a normal, happy family. Curtis is a physics teacher at a local high school. His wife, Kathleen, restores furniture for upscale boutiques. Daniel is away at college on a prestigious music scholarship, and twelve-year-old Olivia is a happy-go-lucky kid whose biggest concern is passing her next math test.

And then comes the middle-of-the-night phone call that changes everything. Daniel has been killed in what the police are calling a "freak" road accident, and the remaining Kaufmans are left to flounder in their grief.

The anguish of Daniel's death is isolating, and it's not long before this once-perfect family finds itself falling apart. As time passes and the wound refuses to heal, Curtis becomes obsessed with the idea of revenge, a growing mania that leads him to pack up his life and his anxious teenage daughter and set out on a collision course to right a wrong.

An emotionally charged novel, The Fragile World is a journey through America's heartland and a family's brightest and darkest moments, exploring the devastating pain of losing a child and the beauty of finding the way back to hope.

"Heart-stopping. A gripping read that delivers a beautiful reminder of the resilience of love." Karen Brown, author of The Longings of Wayward Girls"

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780778316763
  • ISBN-10: 0778316769
  • Publisher: Mira Books
  • Publish Date: October 2014
  • Page Count: 415
  • Dimensions: 8.53 x 5.46 x 1.14 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.7 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Literary
Books > Fiction > Thrillers - Suspense

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2014-09-29
  • Reviewer: Staff

DeBoard’s second novel (after The Mourning Hours) explores revenge and redemption through the eyes of a grieving family. Daniel Kaufman—musical prodigy, honor student, and all-around nice guy—is killed in an apparent hit-and-run collision shortly after he begins his freshman year at Oberlin. Five years later, the Kaufman family has completely fallen apart. Daniel’s father, Curtis, can’t shake his obsession with the man responsible for Daniel’s death; mother Kathleen has deserted the family and moved from Sacramento to Omaha; and anxious younger sister Olivia keeps meticulous track of every irrational fear that crosses her mind. Shortly after learning that Daniel’s killer has been released from prison, Curtis has a breakdown, and he and Olivia pack up the car and hit the road for what she thinks is an impromptu father–daughter road trip. But Curtis has an ulterior motive—he thinks he’s figured out what will finally set things right for the Kaufmans. Although the highway is dotted with stock characters and routine plot twists (naturally, the car’s transmission breaks down in the middle of nowhere), DeBoard deftly navigates a complicated father-daughter relationship through alternating first-person narratives. Tension builds as Curtis inches ever closer to his perceived destiny; readers will be guessing until the last page. (Nov.)

 
BookPage Reviews

The destructive power of grief

Curtis and Kathleen Kaufman are living every parent’s worst nightmare: Their son Daniel, a musical prodigy attending Oberlin College, was mowed down by a drunk driver. In The Fragile World, Paula Treick DeBoard explores the aftermath of this shattering event.

The Kaufmans’ solid marriage disintegrates in their mourning. Their other child, Olivia, a lovely and decidedly normal preteen (there is really only room for one prodigy per family), feels the pressure to fill the hole left by Daniel. Seeking a fresh start, Kathleen moves to Omaha. Olivia stays with her father in Sacramento, where they subsist on frozen food and never address their lingering pain.

When Curtis gets a letter notifying him that Daniel’s killer is up for early parole, something in him snaps. He makes plans to bring Olivia, by now a goth-wannabe who has given up on ever filling Daniel’s shoes, to her mother before continuing to Oberlin to face the man who destroyed his family. From here, The Fragile World takes a turn from a lovely, quiet meditation on grief to one of the most recipe-for-disaster road trips since Thelma and Louise got in that Ford Thunderbird. Eventually, Curtis must decide whether his thirst for revenge is more powerful than his instinct to keep his family intact.

The Fragile World is told alternately from Curtis’ and Olivia’s viewpoints, and DeBoard perfectly captures the angsty, ironic tone of a teenage girl hiding oceans of pain. It is a beautifully evocative journey through a family’s darkest hours, one that reminds us that even the most broken among us are capable of resilience.

 

This article was originally published in the November 2014 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
BAM Customer Reviews