Mind of Winter

Harper. Mar. 2014. 288p. ISBN 9780062284396. $24.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062284419. F
Holly, a wife and mother, wakes up on Christmas Day with a hangover and a vague sense of unease, the first of many things that go wrong. She's missed the alarm, and her husband is late to pick up his elderly parents at the airport. Outside, a raging blizzard develops, stranding her husband with his parents. None of the invited houseguests will risk the drive to their house for the holiday dinner, leaving Holly alone with her beautiful adopted Russian daughter, Tatiana, or Tatty, who is going through a particularly sullen adolescent phase, driving Holly to distraction. Or is Holly simply one of those annoying clinging mothers? Ordinary household events—preparing a meal, fretting over dropped phone calls, arguing with her daughter—become weighted with sinister significance. Holly's nonstop interior ruminations are agonizing yet fascinating and draw the reader into a search for clues as to what is real and what may be bizarrely delusional.
VERDICT Winner of a National Book Critics Circle Award for her poetry, Kasischke also writes fine fiction; this novel is up for France's Prix Médicis étranger, and Kasischke's writing has been compared to that of Joyce Carol Oates. Like Mona Simpson (Anywhere but Here), Kasischke vividly depicts a woman's tormented inner world. [See Prepub Alert, 10/21/13.]
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