August Heat: A Novel

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9780060160944: August Heat: A Novel
From Publishers Weekly:

In this precisely rendered, lyrical first novel, nature is a dominant character, and human behavior is as rhythmic and inevitable as the change of seasons. At the beginning, a 60-ish widow, Rachel Wilcox, returns to her childhood home in a small rural community; at the end, a storm and flash flood sweep the town. Both events disturb the equilibrium of the townspeople. Rachel plans to sell the old family house and place her mad brother, Jacob, in a sanitarium near her city home. But she underestimates the old house's effect on Jacob and his mythic importance to the community. Jacob alone sees below life's surface to profound truths. Lordan's cadenced prose carries the reader through the story as a river carries a raft, inexorably and suspensefully. "All up and down River Street at just this moment, people peer at one another secretly and believe what they see, but, like the density of the heat and the days-old thrum of heat thunder, their vision is a deep distortion, outlines and textures false." Though Lordan romanticizes the essential cruelty of madness, her remarkably accomplished prose, laced with precise sensory and pastoral details, makes this novel both compelling and convincing.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal:

Rachel Cavanaugh, now middle-aged, returns from the city to the small town where she was born, bringing with her an urban sophistication and an unemotional pragmatism that jar discordantly with the rhythms of rural life. Her goal is to sell the family property and convince her brother Jacob, the local madman, to live with her in her city apartment. Her sudden, belated interest in Jacob is resented by the townspeople, as is her general intrusion into their otherwise routine lives. Yet more than creating petty tensions, Rachel's return exposes old wounds and revives personal frictions. As she attempts to remove Jacob, the townspeople are forced to realize his key role in voicing the passions and emotions that they themselves strive so hard to silence. Ponderous at times, but overall not bad summer reading.
- Julia Duffy, CUNY Grad. Sch. Lib.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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