The Year She Disappeared: A Novel (James A. Michener)

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9780292717473: The Year She Disappeared: A Novel (James A. Michener)
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Nan and her four-year-old granddaughter Jane are taking their first airplane trip together, flying from Seattle to the East Coast. But this is no ordinary excursion. Nan is abducting Jane.

Nan's own daughter, Alex, believes Jane's father has been sexually abusing her, and she's asked Nan to take her away, to hide her. But when she and Jane arrive in Providence, Rhode Island, things begin to go wrong. The old friend whom Nan expected to stay with has vanished. Her son-in-law is on her trail. And Alex disappears.

"I'm too old for this!" Nan thinks, in furious, self-pitying despair. She wasn't a good wife; she wasn't a good mother. Now she's stranded in a strange city, without friends or money or even her own identity, in sole charge of a very unhappy little girl. When her new life offers new friends, new work, and even a new lover, she must decide whom to trust.

The Year She Disappeared explores the possibility—and the price—of late blooming love. Will the trials Nan faces during her year on the lam break her? Or will she discover who she really is?

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About the Author:

ANN HARLEMAN is the author of Happiness, a collection of short stories that won the Iowa Short Fiction Award; Bitter Lake, a novel; and Thoreau's Laundry: Stories. Among her awards are Guggenheim and Rockefeller fellowships, the PEN Syndicated Fiction Award, the O. Henry Award, and a Rona Jaffe Writer's Award. She is a member of the faculties of Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design.

From Publishers Weekly:

This sophisticated damsel-in-distress tale from Harleman (Thoreau's Laundry) stars sexy 60-year-old widow Nan Mulholland, who pops nitroglycerin and estrogen, and whose life suddenly lurches forward in 1998 when her only child makes a desperate request. Nan's daughter Alex believes that her powerful husband has been sexually abusing their four-year-old daughter, Jane; she begs Nan to take Jane out of Seattle and into hiding until Alex can gain temporary custody. Nan and Jane flee to Providence, where Nan's closest friend has recently moved, but they arrive to find the friend has died days before. That leaves Nan in an unfamiliar city with a faked identity, limited cash and responsibility for a preschooler, but Nan was married to a Foreign Service man and she's tenacious. She's also a perceptive, witty and self-involved protagonist, but she's repeatedly rescued by strangers which makes the plot hard to swallow. And while Harleman's wry humor and vivid descriptions are in play throughout, significant questions remain unanswered by the end of the novel's bumpy ride. (Mar.)
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