4 Nov 2008

Goldengrove by Francine Prose

A beautifully written tale of a family trying to deal with the sudden death of a family member. Margaret, eldest child of Henry and Daisy and sister to thirteen year old Nico, drowns in the local lake, possibly of a non-treated heart condition. The excruciating rawness of grief isolates Nico and her parents: her mother blocks it out with prescription drugs, her father buries himself in his bookshop, Goldengrove, and his unfinished novel. Nico stumbles into a relationship of sorts with Margaret's boyfriend Aaron, himself desperately unable to cope. Prose seems to write about grief from the inside and I found her story quite moving. The family are not healed after the death in the family because one never is, but at novel's end she brings the family to a satisfying place: ' bobbing into the blinding light' where 'we had to relearn to breathe'. A place where missing Margaret was still painful, but someone had ' lowered the volume of the siren song that so nearly took us down with her"

by Christine