Catapult. Sept. 2018. 256p. ISBN 9781936787951. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781936787968. F
From one family comes a tale of three women as they deal with the trials and tribulations of domestic life. Elsie lives in 1930s India with her missionary husband, whose priorities are clearly with his life's work rather than with his family. Their daughter Kathryn arrives in the United States as a young woman during World War II and finds her way to Oregon, eager to start a new life. She marries the seemingly good-natured Carl, but after two children and many years of financial struggle, their relationship falls apart. Shift to their daughter Samantha, who comes of age in the 1970s as societal norms are imploding. In the end, it's Samantha who helps both her father and her mother navigate their end-of-life journeys. Their lives can be viewed as a time line of women's roles in American life, with matriarch Elsie passively subversive, Kathryn rebelling against her constraints, and Samantha possessing the freedom of self-determination.
VERDICT While this new work from the author of The Tree-Sitter is slow moving, each chapter serves as an in-depth "snapshot," leaving it up to readers to extract meaning and put it all together. Readers of Elizabeth Strout may want to take a look.
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