Molly Hanner's marriage to William is slowly unraveling, and the pulls of entropy this exerts upon them and their three children painfully instruct Molly in the many ways people barely miss loving each other. But divorce is only a catalyst in Molly's life. Amazed at the weight of her family's hurt and at her isolation within it, Molly, painter and student of astronomy, shifts her gaze outward -- to the stars, to the images she paints, to the world around her -- looking for an order that will contain the disarray of her own life.
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Elizabeth Cox is the author of one story collection and three novels, including Night Talk, winner of the Lillian Smith Award. Born and raised in Chattanooga, she lived in Durham, North Carolina, for almost thirty years and taught at Duke University for seventeen years. She currently lives in Littleton, Massachusetts, and serves on the faculty of the Bennington Graduate Writing Seminars.From Publishers Weekly:
In Stringer's Ridge, N.C., the marriage of William Hanner, architect, and artist Molly is dissolving. Although William precipitates the break and Molly acquiesces passively, both are distressed: "They didn't yet realize the ragged way people fall out of love and how it is never completely done." In her second novel, Cox ( Familiar Ground ) tells us how Molly, in her daily life as mother--of 16-year-old Joe, Franci, who's 12, and Lucas, age 7--both relinquishes love and claims it. With her recently widowed father, Molly looks back at childhood experiences of loving; with her astronomy teacher, she considers loving anew; with her children, and with the sympathetic figure of a local misfit, she is reminded of the vulnerability inherent in attachment. Cox's simple, meticulous prose infuses this domestic tale with a subtle force, but the full effect of her insight is constrained by an flatness in tone and an excess of metaphoric material--Molly's art, lunar eclipse, the disappearance of her son, a fatal fire--that ultimately create distance rather than intimacy. Cox's clear-eyed vision, especially keen when trained on family dramas, remains unique and promising.
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