A husband deserted by his wife, two children abandoned by their mother, and a choice that may change everything. The author of
Songs in Ordinary Time returns with her sixth novel, a haunting and powerful tour-de-force.
The place: rural Vermont. The time: the Great Depression. Henry Talcott's beautiful wife, Irene, has recently left him. He and their two young children, Thomas and Margaret, are spending the summer in a tent on the edge of Black Pond. It's a bittersweet idyll.
An itinerant butcher, Henry must often leave his children alone as he travels the country in search of work. He is devastated by the loss of his wife, and shamed by his inability to provide for his family. He hasn't yet told them why their mother left or if she'll ever return. For 11-year-old Thomas, who minds his sister while his father works, the long days throb with heat and more freedom than he has ever known.
Then their prosperous neighbor, Mrs. Phyllis Farley, begins to woo Thomas and Margaret as companions for her strange, housebound son. The children set out to find their mother, only to learn that she does not wish to be found. And Henry must weigh an unusual proposition, the consequences of which may cost him everything.
"Morris' nearly flawless prose is mesmerizing." (
Booklist) "Never one to shy away from the messy and bleak, Morris unflinchingly illuminates the bitter existence of neglected children and their inspiring resilience, once again proving herself a storyteller of great compassion, insight, and depth." (
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