1.09.2022

finished reading

 
A truly beautiful book.  It's set in 1972 so it has a bit of a nostalgic feel, although I am not sure why it's set then--other than it was a simpler time, and "stranger danger" wasn't quite the same as it is today and there is no reliance on technology.  With three narrative threads, the complexity of the story is told from youth, middle age, and old age.  The innocence and naivety of Clara are balanced by the almost-jaded perspective of Liam with Mrs. Orchard's reminiscences rounding out the trio.  It's an interesting play on the definition of solace--with comfort given and sought.

From the publisher:
A Town Called Solace--the brilliant and emotionally radiant new novel from Mary Lawson, her first in nearly a decade--opens on a family in crisis: rebellious teenager Rose been missing for weeks with no word, and Rose's younger sister, the feisty and fierce Clara, keeps a daily vigil at the living-room window, hoping for her sibling's return.

Enter thirtyish Liam Kane, newly divorced, newly unemployed, newly arrived in this small northern town, where he promptly moves into the house next door--watched suspiciously by astonished and dismayed Clara, whose elderly friend, Mrs. Orchard, owns that home. Around the time of Rose's disappearance, Mrs. Orchard was sent for a short stay in hospital, and Clara promised to keep an eye on the house and its remaining occupant, Mrs. Orchard's cat, Moses. As the novel unfolds, so does the mystery of what has transpired between Mrs Orchard and the newly arrived stranger.

Told through three distinct, compelling points of view--Clara's, Mrs. Orchard's, and Liam Kane's--the novel cuts back and forth among these unforgettable characters to uncover the layers of grief, remorse, and love that connect families, both the ones we're born into and the ones we choose. A Town Called Solace is a masterful, suspenseful and deeply humane novel by one of our great storytellers.



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