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.
Hosseini writes and narrates an amazing and morally complex novel, hooking you from the start. A dark fairytale sets the scene for the many stories to come. The reader is once again in Afghanistan, but the trip feels completely different from "The Kite Runner" which was a unlike "A Thousand Splendid Suns". You also travel to other destinations and times as the seemingly disparate stories tie together.
What astounds me about this novel is how complex, thoughtful, and new are the scenarios and characters. While many authors churn out the same books year after year because the market supports this (i.e. Sparks or Piccoult), Hosseini took his time to create thought-provoking characters grappling with insurmountable odds.
In the beginning, a father faces a devastating loss and must choose the right path for his children. A choice he'll remember and possibly regret for the rest of his days. The overall theme is of making difficult decisions and living with the consequences. It begs the question, "does the end justify the means"? I won't give more details as not to spoil the experience. I found this novel rich, thought-provoking, haunting, and powerful.