Between Here and April

Between Here and April

3.7 4
by Deborah Copaken Kogan
     
 

When a deep-seated memory suddenly surfaces, Elizabeth Burns becomes obsessed with the long-ago disappearance of her childhood friend April Cassidy. Driven to investigate, Elizabeth discovers a thirty-five-year-old newspaper article revealing the details that had been hidden from her as a child—shocking revelations about April's mother, Adele.

Elizabeth, now

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Overview

When a deep-seated memory suddenly surfaces, Elizabeth Burns becomes obsessed with the long-ago disappearance of her childhood friend April Cassidy. Driven to investigate, Elizabeth discovers a thirty-five-year-old newspaper article revealing the details that had been hidden from her as a child—shocking revelations about April's mother, Adele.

Elizabeth, now herself a mother, seeks out anyone who might help piece together the final months, days, and hours of this troubled woman's life, but the answers yield only more questions. And those questions lead back to Elizabeth's own life: her own compromised marriage, her increasing self-doubt and dissatisfaction, and finally, a fearsome reckoning with what it means to be a wife and mother.

Editorial Reviews

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“A captivating thriller.”—More magazine

Daily Candy
“Outstanding . . . a haunting eyes-wide openness.”—Daily Candy

Washington Post
"An amalgamation of autobiography, true crime and melodrama. . . . The story is so engaging... a credit to this narrator's wonderfully appealing voice: funny, frustrated, likable, totally candid about her desires and failings...The perfect book club book."—Washington Post

Publishers Weekly

How could a mother kill her children? This breathtaking first novel from photojournalist Kogan (Shutterbabe) attempts a heart-wrenching answer. Elizabeth "Lizzie" Burns Steiger, a 41-year-old TV producer/journalist, has a hallucination while watching a performance of Medea at a Manhattan theater; she sees her best friend in first grade, April Cassidy, who was killed by April's depressed mother, Adele, in 1972 in Potomac, Md., along with April's sister. In addition to exploring her memories in therapy, Lizzie interviews the Cassidys' former neighbor and others who knew the family for a proposed cable network documentary, but a priceless Pandora's box-tapes of Adele with her psychiatrist-provides the most startling revelations. Kogan skillfully interweaves Lizzie's struggles with her troubled marriage, parenting and a personal trauma shared in the Balkans with a former lover in this unflinching portrait of filicide, which still manages to find light in the darkness of a very disturbing subject. (Sept.)

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Kirkus Reviews
Debut novel from TV producer and photojournalist Kogan (Shutterbabe: Adventures in Love and War, 2001). In the middle of a performance of Medea, Elizabeth Burns faints. Just before she passes out, she has a vivid, visceral recollection of April Cassidy-someone Elizabeth hasn't thought about for 35 years. Once upon a time, they had been best friends, but April disappeared from Elizabeth's memory just as completely as she disappeared from their first-grade classroom. After remembering this lost little girl, Elizabeth becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to her. It doesn't take long to discover that April's mother, Adele, killed both her daughters and herself, but Elizabeth still wants to know why. As she begins to build her story, Kogan deftly exploits the conventions of the murder mystery to create a sense of tension and uncertainty, but the basic facts of the central murder are never in doubt. The mystery Elizabeth is exploring is the mystery of motive-which is, at its core, the essentially unknowable mystery of each human self. These opening chapters are eerie and gripping. A TV producer, Elizabeth uses her job as an excuse to exhume this long-buried tragedy, and, as she digs deeper, she uncovers unnerving parallels between her life and Adele's. Both women are torn between career and motherhood, and both are unhappy in their marriages. Then she finds transcripts of Adele's sessions with a psychiatrist, and the whole novel falls apart. These documents are about as nuanced-and about as convincing-as a dramatic reenactment on Unsolved Mysteries. Adele ceases to be a complex and tragically compelling figure and becomes, instead, a cartoonishly facile exemplar of postpartumpsychosis. Elizabeth, too, devolves into a rickety collection of neuroses, and Kogan provides explanations for each that make it seem as if there is an obvious, inevitable connection between trauma and symptom. The ending is both predictable and absurd, and Kogan provides a coda that is so sentimental and improbable that it's an insult to the reader. Grossly disappointing. Agent: David McCormick/McCormick & Williams Literary Agency
USA Today
"An amalgamation of autobiography, true crime and melodrama. . . . The story is so engaging... a credit to this narrator's wonderfully appealing voice: funny, frustrated, likable, totally candid about her desires and failings...The perfect book club book."—Washington Post

Rocky Mountain News
“A captivating thriller.”—More magazine

The Washington Post
“Outstanding . . . a haunting eyes-wide openness.”—Daily Candy

Working Mother
“This exceptional, riveting novel will haunt you long after you've reached the end.”—Rocky Mountain News

Elle Magazine
"...a page-turning good read...A tautly written story with sympathetic characters and evocative storytelling." –USA Today

From the Publisher
"The perfect book club book...An amalgamation of autobiography, true crime and melodrama...The story is so engaging...A credit to this narrator's wonderfully appealing voice: funny, frustrated, likable, totally candid about her desires and failings." —The Washington Post

"A page-turning good read...A tautly written story with sympathetic characters and evocative storytelling." —USA Today

"Extraordinary...Fascinating and detailed...This is a story that needs to be told." —Elle, #1 Reader's Pick

"[A] haunting page-turner...A compelling look at what it means to be a mother and a wife." —Working Mother

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781565125629
Publisher:
Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Publication date:
09/30/2008
Pages:
277
Product dimensions:
8.76(w) x 10.88(h) x 1.01(d)

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What People are saying about this

Katie Roiphe
"A bold, haunting, honest, and wholly original journey into the darker, unchronicled terrains of motherhood."
—Katie Roiphe, author of Still She Haunts Me
From the Publisher
"A bold, haunting, honest, and wholly original journey into the darker, unchronicled terrains of motherhood."
—Katie Roiphe, author of Still She Haunts Me

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