Ecco: HarperCollins. Aug. 2019. 416p. ISBN 9780062877789. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062877819. F
A rebellious girl from an upper-middle-class Washington, DC, family and the son of Evangelical Christians from rural Wisconsin meet in New York’s underground music scene in the early 1990s. While trying to start a record label and promote the career of eccentric musician Joe Harris, Pam becomes pregnant, and she and Daniel marry and live in a small apartment on the Lower East Side with their daughter, Flora. Following 9/11, they temporarily flee New York, and Flora grows up moving between her grandparents’ stable DC home and her parents’ Bohemian existence. We follow Flora into the present day as her concern for the environment leads her first to pursue a career in soil chemistry and then to work as a Green Party campaign staffer during the national 2016 election.
VERDICT Here, Zink (Mislaid) seems to follow her characters where they want to go rather than imposing an orchestrated plot on them. Thus, what starts as a gritty “sex, drugs, and rock and roll” novel turns into a family drama about generational conflict, then a story about our current sociopolitical moment. For these engaging characters, the attempt to find meaning and purpose is often detoured when the universe has other plans. [See Prepub Alert, 2/18/19/.]
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