In the aftermath of a devastating loss, Cal and Jenny Horigan's marriage is unraveling. Both are plagued by guilt, unable to seek comfort from one another.Read more...
In the aftermath of a devastating loss, Cal and Jenny Horigan's marriage is unraveling. Both are plagued by guilt, unable to seek comfort from one another. Burdened by remorse, they begin to lose sight of the love that once anchored them-together with their sense of right and wrong.
As the Horigans try different ways to deal with their pain, a new acquaintance seems to offer the support they desperately need-though at times they are unsure whether his guidance is leading them back to each other or further apart...
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2011-07-25
- Reviewer: Staff
Gyllenhaal (aunt of Maggie and Jake) ) juxtaposes the impact of a family disaster on a marriage against the economic woes of a small upstate New York town in her intriguing second novel. Cal and Jenny Horigan's lives are upended when Cal is in a car accident and their two-year old daughter, Betsy, whose car seat comes loose, is killed. Cal is eager to pursue a "wrongful death" lawsuit against the company that manufactured the car seat, spurred on by his eldest brother, Edmund but , Jenny–for her own complicated reasons–is strongly against the idea. The couple's radically different reactions to Betsy's death and the increasing wedge between them is ably explored using alternate viewpoints. While the townspeople rally around them, the knowledge that the Horigan name goes back in the town for generations, and the fact that Cal's father's business, and Cal and his older brother Kurt's business are both seeing hard times is a quiet undercurrent to the story. In the middle of the crisis, a mysterious stranger arrives in town. Daniel Brandt, a charismatic landscape architect (and sociopath), enters the Horigans' lives, offering balm to their misery and guilt, while taking advantage of their vulnerability. Added to the mix are Jenny's difficult relationship with her father, a strict and unemotional workaholic minister, and her free-spirited, younger sister, Judy, who once made a pass at Cal. Gyllenhaal (Local Knowledge) has a real page-turner, although her simplistic characters undermine the potential for greater depth and insight into relationships and the complexity that fuels them. (Sept.)