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Girls: A Novel (Ballantine Reader's Circle) - Softcover

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9780449912638: Girls: A Novel (Ballantine Reader's Circle)
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A New York Times Notable Book

In the unrelenting cold and bitter winter of upstate New York, Jack and his wife, Fanny, are trying to cope with the desperate sorrow they feel over the death of their young daughter. The loss forms a chasm in their relationship as Jack, a sardonic Vietnam vet, looks for a way to heal them both.

Then, in a nearby town, a fourteen-year-old girl disappears somewhere between her home and church. Though she is just one of the hundreds of children who vanish every year in America, Jack turns all his attention to this little girl. For finding what has become of this child could be Jack's salvation--if he can just get to her in time. . . .

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Review:
Frederick Busch's 18th work of fiction, Girls, is a novel whose roots lie buried in an earlier short story. In "Ralph the Duck," Busch introduced Jack and Franny, a young couple trying to recover from the recent death of their baby daughter. In Girls Busch expands Jack and Franny's lives beyond this single personal tragedy to encompass a greater loss: the disappearance of a 14-year-old girl, daughter of the town minister and his dying wife, from the community.

Propelled by his own loss, Jack, a security guard at a local college, begins investigating the disappearance, and thus Busch's novel becomes a literary detective story. In the course of solving the mystery, Jack must grapple with his attraction to a professor at the college, the disintegration of his marriage, and the impossibility of outrunning the past.

From the Publisher:
"Powerful -- Exhilarating -- Here is a writer of intelligence and tenderness, a rare combination in a cynical, doubting world."
-- Carol Shields, The New York Times Book Review

"Frederick Busch shows us why he ought to be a household name. His is the classic American style, ice-clear, dagger-sharp, with dialogue that slahes back and forth like a razor."
-- Seattle Times

"Frederick Busch is an estimable writer, a novelist likely to be named whenever serious readers of fiction talk about writers whose work is worth knowing."
-- Scott Turow, Washington Post Book World

"His latest novel is a tour-de-force in which the setting, a college in upstate New York in deepest winter, the characters and the situation are blended so seamlessly that the reader becomes a hapless part of its grim world -- In its very different way, this is the finest literary thriller since William Trevor's Felicia's Journey, and shares the same passionate concern with the helplessness of young women when they become prey to predatory men."
-- Publisher's Weekly

"A complex and disturbing vision of the world as a place filled with danger powers this fascinating novel, another blistering drama of family relations from one of our most productive and passionately serious writers ... It all works superbly as a conventional thriller, though the story's most effective as a harrowing expression of the fragility of our defenses against loss and death, and a moving characterization of its memorable protagonist, a decent man who struggles against powerful odds to remain one. An impressive demonstration of Busch's continuing mastery of realistic narrative."
-- Kirkus Reviews

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  • PublisherBallantine Books
  • Publication date1998
  • ISBN 10 0449912639
  • ISBN 13 9780449912638
  • BindingPaperback
  • Edition number1
  • Number of pages279
  • Rating
    3.51 avg rating
    ( 690 ratings by Goodreads )

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