Shortly after his wife, the mother of his two teenage children, ends her life by jumping from the window of their Manhattan apartment, Arthur King decides he must return with his family to his home state of Wyoming. There, his mother welcomes her wounded son and her bereft grandchildren to her much loved but now quite diminished ranch. But how long will they stay?
In elegantly modulated, brisk, and engaging prose, Charlotte Bacon, a master dramatist of the interwoven crises of modern life, tracks the surviving Kings through the course of a summer as they try to come to terms with the new realities set in motion by Laura's inscrutable act. From the perspective of each protagonist in turn, we watch shy Celia and handsome Cam, distraught Arthur, and his brave mother, Lucy, face themselves and their future in a Wyoming that is both beautiful and consoling yet beset by new threats of destruction.
A split estate is a form of real property in which the mineral rights have been split off from the other land uses to which the owner is entitled. This practice has transformed the landscape the Kings love, and, in truth, their very lives have become split estates. A novel very much about America today, both rural and urban, Split Estate is a heartrending depiction of an ordinary family trying desperately to reconnect in the midst of loss and to find solace in the heart of despair.