Highbridge Audio. Sept. 2022. 6:04 hrs. ISBN 9781696609494. $15.99. F
Gilliss’s haunting debut, narrated with restraint and precision by Devon Sorvari, follows Tuck, Paul, and their daughter Agnes as they leave their disintegrating life in Pittsburgh for the tenuous safety of a remote island off the coast of Maine. There, they squat in Tuck’s grandmother’s house which has been inherited by Tuck’s unreliable and now absent father. Tuck’s situation becomes more dire when she discovers that Paul is addicted to kratom, an herb with opioid-like effects. Without money, resources, or help, as Paul is locked in a seemingly unending cycle of bitterness and withdrawal, Tuck turns to the sea for survival, harvesting seaweed, tiny blue crabs, mushrooms, and mussels, which she and Agnes ration between themselves. Sorvari grimly describes Tuck’s desperate circumstances, conveying her initial state of shock with a distant, numb tone. But as Tuck discovers more about Paul’s troubles and misdeeds, Sorvari brings her anger to the surface, and it grows into a thrumming force. Sorvari’s masterly performance honors the poetic cadence of Gilliss’s words, and her pacing—delicate, yet insistent—is exquisite.
VERDICT Enhanced by Sorvari’s luminous narration, this piercing portrait of a woman pared down to her essence is unforgettable.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing