- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
From The CriticsAndrew is a heartbreaker; Nina is brokenhearted. Brother and sister, fiercely protective of each other, they are reacting to being raised by a drunken mother and a sadistically brutal and promiscuous father. Nina narrates the first third of this novel about a family on the verge of collapse, describing her solitary life as a copy editor in perpetual mourning for the big, cheerful man to whom she was briefly married. She finds excuses to keep her life a desert; Andrew's life, by contrast, is a sexual and romantic jungle. An exasperated Nina describes him as a "compulsive, chauvinistic asshole." Andrew is more charitable: Sensitive people, he says, "realize that Nina isn't standoffish, but shy. 'Traumatized' would be a better word." The trauma they describe so vividly is obliquely corroborated by their mother, who has been defeated by her husband's ingenious cruelty. Nina's sharp, careful clarity, her mother's guilt and excuses and Andrew's desperate gaiety are so distinct and plausible as to make this book a quiet tour de force.
—Penelope Mesic <%END%>