FICTION

Beneficence

David R. Godine. Sept. 2020. 288p. ISBN 9781567926699. $25.95.
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[DEBUT] Best-selling memoirist Hall (Without a Map) has written a quiet gem of a first novel. Following the lives of the Senter family—Tup, his wife, Doris, and their children—from the midst of the Great Depression until 1960, the narrative evokes the patterns of life on the Senter dairy farm. The farm itself becomes a character in the quotidian joys and sorrows of the clan. Thus, when their lives are shattered by a terrible accident, the business suffers, then becomes a refuge, and, ultimately, a place of healing. The author’s lyrical prose and stark portrayal of the grief and guilt carried by Tup and Doris, the way it affects them both and their family, is conveyed so movingly this story is hard to put down.
VERDICT With language poetic in its cadence and capable of seamlessly transporting our minds and emotions to another place and time, this accomplished debut will be welcomed by readers of authors such as Willa Cather, Alex Munro, Amy Tan, or Lisa See.

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