Can you retract something slightly?
If so, then I do temper my last post. I finished Dwelling Places by Vinita Hampton Wright last night and truly enjoyed it. The first paragraph was haunting and the story tragic, sad, and sweet. And nothing was tidy. The dialogue was even realistic, normal. There was even a couple of sex scenes! *gasp*
"In Beulah, Iowa, widow women all over town garden in the clothes of their deceased husbands. From a distance, they often look like small-framed men. They keep their husbands clothes because it's wasteful to throw away hats and shirts that still have wear in them. They wear the clothes in the memory of the men they have survived, even after the scent of them has been laundered away."
That's how Dwelling Places begins. The story of a farming family who has lost its identity and grip on the world once farming is no longer their vocation. Their ties to the land and each other slip away and each attempts to navigate the foreign world in their backyard. Mack has spent two weeks in a mental hospital after his wife finds loaded shotguns. His brother, Alex, drank himself to death. His wife, Jodie, contains her anger and seeks the smile of another man. Kenzie, their 14 year old daughter, prays and meditates on a picture of Jesus until she can see his eyes move. Young Taylor, named after his grandfather whose death was tragic and mysterious, dresses in black, wears makeup, and speaks as little as possible. And matriarch Rita does and does and does, trying to keep them all together.
I won't say too much more except to recommend it. It's not Brothers Karamozov or anything but a worthy, modern novel of a modern family trying to find their way and their faith.