Short, Simple, No Spoilers
Alternating between 2011 and 1940, a dying mother, visited by her children, hints at a past regret to her daughter, Laurel. Present day Laurel visits libraries, families and spends her day digging into the past to determine what changed her mother all those years ago. Dorothy's past unfolds with love interest, Jimmy and you walk beside her experiencing the decisions she made for better or worse.
At first, I thought this book would be predictible. I adored, "The Secret Garden," liked "Distant Hours," but didn't care for "House at Riverton." Hesitant to pick up this fourth offering from Morten and happy I did. She introduces complex characters whose desires make them human; neither perfect nor wrong. There are many corners you turn in the story and just when I thought I'd figured out the ending, I was led down a divergent path. Enjoyed the journey and hope you will, too. Excellent choice for women who like a good character driven mystery.
The title pays homage to Robert Frost and each story has a reference to gold therein. Characters from all age ranges tied to the Appalachian landscape fill this raw, real collection of tragic short stories. Trapped physically or mentally, each person navigates their ineffectual circumstances in hopes of reaching for sunlight only to realize the futility of their dreams. For example, in "Cherokee", a man and wife win big at a casino only to realize their victory is fleeting. I don't want to give away anymore details so you can enjoy each story as you go.
Rash is a master story teller placing you in the middle of each story, connecting quickly with the characters, standing in their rough landscape, and facing the consequences of their choices some ending with dark consequences.
Don't forget to press pause after each story; the next one begins quickly and you'll want to mull over the details from the last.
If you enjoyed this, check out "The Cove," and "Serena," also by Rash and "Winter's Bone," by Danny Woodrell.
Can a novel composed in iambic pentameter be relatable, detailed, and meaningful? The answer is a resounding yes! Rakoff's lyrical rhyming composition doesn't detract or sacrifice story. It's not just a novelty for he packs each character's storyline with ironic and heartbreaking realism. A girl suffers a tragic event only to be dismissed by insecure mother; a secretary navigates a sexist boss in a loveless affair, and many other stories and scenarios I won't spoil.
This novel is brief, yet loaded with satirical and tragic tales of ordinary people dealing the hand they're dealt. It's heartbreaking, yet beautiful. The vocabulary, turn of phrase, and irony transform this "poem" to a higher level. Felt I needed to revisit the 500 core GRE words to keep up! Listened on 1X to absorb the meaning and paused frequently to take in all the information. Short, yet thought-provoking and sad this is his last work. If you enjoyed this, check out another of his books, "Fraud."