A Lovely, Indecent Departure

A Lovely, Indecent Departure

3.8 6
by Steven Lee Gilbert
     
 

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A Lovely, Indecent Departure is the riveting and emotionally-charged debut from a promising new voice in literature, and a captivating story of a mother's love and desperation set amidst the heart wrenching landscape of child custody.

Anna Miller wants only one thing, her son, and she will do anything to keep him. When a district court awards custody

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Overview

A Lovely, Indecent Departure is the riveting and emotionally-charged debut from a promising new voice in literature, and a captivating story of a mother's love and desperation set amidst the heart wrenching landscape of child custody.

Anna Miller wants only one thing, her son, and she will do anything to keep him. When a district court awards custody of Oliver to his father, she abducts the five year old and flees to Italy where with her family's help they disappear into the fabric of her native homeland. Told in prose that is both stripped-down and overpowering, Gilbert shapes the everyday conflict of child custody into a stunning search for sense of worth. Standing in the young woman's way is Evan Meade, the boy's guileful and mean-spirited father, who hires a private investigator when the efforts of the embattled local sheriff, Monroe Rossi, fail to track them down. But as the investigation draws them all closer to Anna, Evan's true nature betrays itself and the question of what's in the child's best interest becomes not so clear anymore

Objectively detailed, in a voice that refuses to intrude on the minds of its characters, A Lovely, Indecent Departure, captures in stark detail a world in which modern archetypes are turned upside down and shows what an extraordinary splash Steven Lee Gilbert has made with his first novel.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Gilbert's debut novel reduces the mess of child custody and parental kidnapping into a few elemental ingredients. Divorced school teacher Anna Miller is about to depart for Genova, Italy, with her son, Oliver. For reasons the book doesn't provide, Oliver's father, Evan, has custody of the child, and Anna and Oliver are running away. Because the author's descriptions are so bare, chapter titles--which identify the character covered in each chapter--are like breadcrumbs enabling readers to follow the story. Using a limited third-person point of view to navigate through short scenes, the novel drops subtle hints about the players without fully developing them. When Evan confiscates a card Oliver made for Anna, it's clear he will never win any Father of the Year awards; however, even in this scene it's difficult for readers to judge him as an unfit parent. To determine how serious his issues might be, readers are left to fill in the blanks while watching his new relationship fall apart or read between the lines of his dialogue with the FBI agents and private investigators he hires to track down Anna and Oliver. The author's treatment of dialogue--sans quotation marks, without descriptions of inflection or volume--adds a feeling of complicity to the sparse prose, as if readers have overheard something that's wrong but not entirely illegal. This literary device leaves readers feeling uncomfortable, as they're probably meant to be. The well-crafted plot is meted out at a steady pace, continually feeding readers' need to know and simultaneously whetting the appetite for more. Unfortunately, the novel doesn't end on a wholly satisfying note, mostly because Anna isn't as completely developed as the sheriff, the book's most likable, fully formed character. Despite this title's shortcomings, readers will be eager to return to the table for Gilbert's next work.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780985336509
Publisher:
Steven Lee Gilbert
Publication date:
03/28/2012
Pages:
284
Product dimensions:
5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.60(d)

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