Charlotte Bacon Lost Geography: A Novel

ISBN 13: 9780374191603

Lost Geography: A Novel

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9780374191603: Lost Geography: A Novel
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A heart-breaking novel by a prize-winning young writer

In a debut novel that is a triumph of wit and feeling, Charlotte Bacon explores the transitions that sixty years visit upon the members of an unforgettable family--a Saskatchewan woman and her Scottish husband; their plucky daughter, who moves to Toronto; and her remarkable daughter, who lives in France with her Turkish-English husband. Lost Geography takes the complexity of migration as its central subject: Why do landscape, work, and family lock some people in place and release others? In settings both rural and urban, these stalwart, tragically dispersed yet resilient people respond not only to new environments and experiences but to the eruption of sudden loss and change.
As the settings and characters shift in this wise, resonant book, readers are invited to see how habits of survival translate from one generation to another. How are we like our forebears? How does circumstance make us alter what our heritage has told us is important? With unfailing subtlety and elegance, Lost Geography teaches us, in a luminous sequence of intense personal dramas, that what keeps us alive isn't so much our ability to understand the details of our past as having the luck and courage to survive the assaults of both the present and history.

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About the Author:

Charlotte Bacon, born in 1965 and educated at Harvard and Columbia, teaches English at the University of New Hampshire in Durham. Her collection of stories, A Private State, was awarded the PEN/Hemingway Award for First Fiction in 1998.

From Kirkus Reviews:

A lyrical first novel from Bacon (A Private State: stories, not reviewed) exploring the cycle of loss and renewal as it works itself out in the lives of four generations of women. The cycle begins with Margaret Evans, a bright, self-reliant young nurse in 1930s rural Saskatchewan. She tends a seemingly taciturn Scotsman, Davis Campbell, when he falls sick, and almost immediately realizes he is a romantic kindred spirit. Campbell had come to Canada in search of adventure. Instead he and Margaret settle down, run a successful farm, raise a familyand die in an accident. Their daughter, Hilda, is just 18 when theyre killed, and, possessed of her father's watchful intelligence and restless spirit, moves to Toronto in search of new possibilities. Her hopes of wandering farther are curtailed when a brief liaison results in pregnancy. Her daughter, Danielle, is almost as resilient and independent as Hilda, who has become a successful businesswoman. Danielle heads to Paris, where she meets and marries the charming, reticent, conflicted Osman Harris. Osman, a half-Turkish, half-English dealer in Oriental rugs, finds that Danielle, with her calm certainty, provides the compass he had lacked. When she grows ill and dies, grief-stricken Osman and their two children, Sasha and Sophia, feel suspended, motionless. Osman moves them to Manhattan and buries himself in business, while Sasha spends most of his time obsessively cataloging fugitive signs of natural life in the city: birds, plants, the occasional coyote. It's left to Sophia, 14, to do something to draw her father and brother back into life, embracing it as her mother and grandmother did. She manages this in a particularly deft, satisfying scene. Bacon's prose is lyrical and exact. Her descriptions of the ways in which love compels risk in each generation are fresh and moving, and her portraits of several complex women, each struggling to find her unique strength and identity while passing on a sense of life's possibilities, is often exhilarating. A resonant, impressive debut.-- Copyright © 2000 Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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