Fault Lines [NOOK Book]

Overview

A best seller in France, with over 400,000 copies sold, and currently being translated into eighteen languages, Fault Lines is the new novel from internationally-acclaimed and best-selling author Nancy Huston. Huston's novel is a profound and poetic story that traces four generations of a single family from present-day California to WW II¨Cera Germany. Fault Lines begins with Sol, a gifted, terrifying child whose mother believes he is destined for greatness partly because he has a birthmark like his dad, his ...
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Fault Lines

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Overview

A best seller in France, with over 400,000 copies sold, and currently being translated into eighteen languages, Fault Lines is the new novel from internationally-acclaimed and best-selling author Nancy Huston. Huston's novel is a profound and poetic story that traces four generations of a single family from present-day California to WW II¨Cera Germany. Fault Lines begins with Sol, a gifted, terrifying child whose mother believes he is destined for greatness partly because he has a birthmark like his dad, his grandmother, and his great-grandmother. When Sol's family makes an unexpected trip to Germany, secrets begin to emerge about their history during World War II. It seems birthmarks are not all that's been passed down through the bloodlines. Closely observed, lyrically told, and epic in scope, Fault Lines is a touching, fearless, and unusual novel about four generations of children and their parents. The story moves from the West Coast of the United States to the East, from Haifa to Toronto to Munich, as secrets unwind back through time until a devastating truth about the family's origins is reached. Huston tells a riveting, vigorous tale in which love, music, and faith rage against the shape of evil.
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Editorial Reviews

Susann Cokal
The author who tells a story backward is taking a risk. After the reader has already pieced together its turning points and traumas, the emotional payoff may not be there at the end. Novice writers can use such gimmicks to bolster a shaky narrative, but happily that's not the case here. The events of Huston's novel…are strong enough to work just as well, if not better, when arranged chronologically, and the book rewards rereading.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

Winner of France's Prix Femina and shortlisted for the Orange Prize, Huston's 12th novel captures four generations of a family and examines the decades-long fallout of a dark family secret. The novel proceeds in reverse chronological order from 2004 to 1944 and begins with six-year-old Sol, who is sheltered and coddled by his mother as he immerses himself in all the perversities the Internet can offer. After surgery to remove Sol's congenital birthmark turns out poorly, the extended family takes a trip to great-grandmother Erra's childhood home in Munich. A turbulent history underlies the visit, and after Sol witnesses a tussle between his great-grandmother and great-aunt, the novel skips backwards in time through the childhood of Sol's father, Randall; grandmother Sadie; and finally Erra. Huston's brilliance is in how she gradually lets the reader in on the secret and draws out the revelation so carefully that by the time the reader arrives at the heart of the matter in Munich 1944, the discovery hits with blunt force. Huston masterfully links the 20th century's misery to 21st-century discomfort in razor-sharp portraits of children as they lose their innocence. (Oct.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal
Huston's 2006 novel won France's Prix Femina; its 2008 English-language edition (Atlantic Bks., tr. by the author) was shortlisted for the Orange Prize. Told in part from the perspective of a six-year-old boy, the book works its way back through four generations of the same Jewish family, beginning in 2004 California and ending in 1944 Munich. Huston provides a fascinating look at this latter segment of history and imagines the consequences certain of its events might have set in motion. She has created realistic characters whose emotional scars and traumas reverberate through time. Narrator Edwina Wren (Ocean Pearl) does an outstanding job of providing unique voices for children and adults heralding from countries including the United States, Israel, Canada, and Germany. Fans of historical fiction and psychological thrillers will love this; strongly recommended. [The Black Cat: Grove pb also received a starred review, LJ 7/08.—Ed.]—Joanna M. Burkhardt, Univ. of Rhode Island Libs., Providence
Kirkus Reviews
Canadian born Huston (Dolce Agonia, 2001, etc.) won the Prix Femina in France for this novel, which traces four generations of a family while examining how unshared secrets shape each succeeding/preceding generation. In California in 2004, six-year-old Sol, a brilliant, spoiled brat, attends a Protestant church as a compromise between his Catholic-born mother Tessa and Jewish-raised father Randall. After surgery more or less removes the birthmark Sol inherited from Randall, Sol's grandmother Sadie orchestrates a trip to Munich with the whole family, including Sol's German-born great-grandmother Erra. The trip is not a success. Flash back to 1982 when six-year-old Randall, also brilliant but more sweet-natured than Sol, basks in the love of his father, a Jewish playwright in his 40s, and desperately tries to please his 26-year-old mother Sadie, a tense perfectionist. Randall loves the year he lives with his parents in Israel while Sadie, a graduate student of the Holocaust and recent convert to Judaism, does research. Then public and personal disasters conflate: Shortly after a controversial Israeli-backed massacre in Lebanon, a car accident leaves Sadie permanently crippled. In 1962, lonely six-year-old Sadie must live with her stern Canadian grandparents while her bohemian unwed mother Kristina finds herself. Sadie, who considers the birthmark on her bottom "dirty," is overjoyed when Kristina, who has changed her name to Erra, marries the kindly Jewish manager of her burgeoning musical career and brings Sadie to live with them. Then a strange foreign man shows up and shatters Sadie's fragile security. In 1944, Kristina considers herself the adored youngest daughter of a solid Germanfamily until her older "brother" explains that, like him, she was stolen by the Nazis from her real parents, and the two forge a secret bond. After liberation, Kristina is adopted by Canadian parents. To keep her "brother" close, she names her birthmark after him. An elegant if overly manipulated structural design parallels the insightful but overly simplified psychological evolution of vulnerable children (excepting demon Sol) into reactive adults. Agent: Michael Heyward/Text Publishing Company
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802198686
  • Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/14/2008
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 14,312
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

A native of Calgary and of New Hampshire, Nancy Huston now lives in Paris; she writes in both French and English. The author of nine novels and numerous works of nonfiction, she has won the Prix Goncourt des Lycéens, the Prix du Livre-Inter, the Prix Elle, the Governor General's Award for Fiction in French and the 2006 Prix Femina.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 13 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(3)

4 Star

(4)

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Sort by: Showing all of 13 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 20, 2010

    Sixty Years of Secrets and Suspense

    "God gave me this body and mind and I have to take the best possible care of them so I can put them to the best possible use. I know He's got high intentions for me, otherwise I wouldn't have been born in the wealthiest state of the wealthiest country in the world, with the most powerful weapons system capable of blasting the whole human species to kingdom come. Fortunately, God and President Bush are buddies." (page 4)

    The year is 2004 and six year old Sol, who is wise beyond his years, is pontificating about the state of the human species, among other things. He is the first of four related characters who tell the story of their childhood in Nancy Huston's brilliant 2008 Orange Prize short listed novel, Fault Lines. Huston uses a variety of literary devices to tell the story of four generations of this California family. She very effectively tells the story backwards chronologically, taking us from present day California to 1980's Hiafa, to 1960's Toronto, to 1944 Germany. Along the way the author slowly reveals the family's secret, by planting clues in each narrative and weaving the story together in a way that exposes the mystery as you peel away the narrative layers. Each character telling the story is about six years of age and very intelligent. Almost too intelligent; like the smartest kids I've ever heard of with language skills beyond belief. But if you can suspend disbelief here, you're in for a very enjoyable read.

    If I say much more I will give away the secret. So let me just say that if you like a mystery, if you enjoy peeling away layers of intrigue, if unexpected developments are right up your alley, if you like the charm of literary devices and smooth, poetic writing and excellent historical fiction, this may be the book for you.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 18, 2010

    If I could write this well I would never have to write another word. Or so I thought until I read her next book. and the next... (Touch of an Angel, Slow Emergencies)

    I READ THE BOOK BECAUSE OF THE COVER; HER EYES. I KNEW NOTHING ABOUT IT. I'D RECOMEND THE SAME TO ANYBODY ELSE. DON'T READ THIS, READ THE BOOK.

    The tale starts with ten year old boy will only eat cream of wheat, has convenient asthma and his goal in life is to destroy the world with robots. It is not written that this little boy is a spoied rich kid who his parents are afraid of and you wouldn't let your kids near him. You are left to consider the title as the story goes back to the previous generation.
    His father,ten, is in Israel. He is going to school and meets an islamic girl; falls in love. When she rejects him,she says that her parents sent her to his school to learn hate and that he is the enemy.
    Another fault...
    Germany. 1942.The fathers grandparents.Wealthy. The grandfather, listening to the radio, screams"Dresden! Dresden!" and goes mad. (The American air force bombed the city. It melted.)
    This young girl came into their lives. She sang with sound only ,no words. And she comes to America...

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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