Sunday, July 06, 2008

And you won't read this book again / Because the ending's just too hard to take

Actually I skimmed back through the first chapter after finishing Charlotte Bacon's Split Estate (I let too much time pass between reading the first chapter and the rest of the book) and reread a section late in the book that I'd found rather implausible--I still didn't find it believable but I could see how a mere, ah, jaunt about the corral would have fit neither the pacing required for imparting the necessary information in that scene or ended it in a location with parallels to the event that set the whole story in motion.

Otherwise this is an excellent work. Several months after Arthur King's wife Laura jumps from a window in their tenth-floor Manhattan apartment, another woman known to the family kills herself in the same manner. Arthur decides it would be better to take his teen son and daughter to Wyoming to live on his mother's ranch than to navigate the bit of sidewalk outside the apartment where the deaths occurred. For awhile it seems that the new environment and new relationships may enable the Kings to work through their grief, but pain will ricochet through these characters once more. The ending, while open-ended, devastates.

Don't read it when you're feeling fragile.

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