No Direction Home

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A tensely emotional debut novel of abandonment, loss, and the unexpected shapes families take to survive. "Silver is masterful at orchestrating her complicated cast of characters and settings….Moving and resonant."—Los Angeles Times Book Review
"Blindness will be like this." So says ten-year-old Will Burton, trying to reimagine his life in the wake of his father's abrupt disappearance, as his family picks up stakes and moves to California. Another boy, Rogelio Augilar, risks his...

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Overview

A tensely emotional debut novel of abandonment, loss, and the unexpected shapes families take to survive. "Silver is masterful at orchestrating her complicated cast of characters and settings….Moving and resonant."—Los Angeles Times Book Review
"Blindness will be like this." So says ten-year-old Will Burton, trying to reimagine his life in the wake of his father's abrupt disappearance, as his family picks up stakes and moves to California. Another boy, Rogelio Augilar, risks his life to cross the border illegally from Mexico to reach his father, enduring gangs, police roundups, and the pitiless desert. And Marlene McClure, a hard-edged, feisty teenager, leaves her own Midwestern home in search of a father she has imagined but never known. The lives of each of these families converge on a single home in Los Angeles—where the very needs and desires that have torn them apart allow them a measure of hope together. Written with heart-stopping grace and a powerful understanding of the needs and desires that define family, No Direction Home masterfully evokes how far we will go in the name of a place to call home. Reading group guide included.

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Editorial Reviews

San Francisco Chronicle
“Gripping and at times heartbreaking. . . . Silver, with her attention to everyday detail and her determination to take seriously the myriad individual lives that create California, has crafted a beautiful, honest and poignant novel of this siren state.”
New York Times Book Review
“A considerable feat.”
Elizabeth McKenzie
&#823-; the burdens carried by this group gather an undeniable weight in the telling, and most readers will end up feeling for the hapless people they've spent time with here.
— The New York Times
Kirkus Reviews
Themes of desertion and migration visibly shape a story of family responsibility. Guilt or abandonment or both afflict almost every member of the large cast in Silver's first novel as they explore melancholy feelings about their parents or offspring. Will Burton, more sensitive than his twin brother Ethan-although both suffer with the same eye disease-fears he is to blame when his father, Frank, suddenly walks away from his family without saying goodbye. Will's mother, Caroline, is forced to sell up and move, with the children, back to her parents, Vincent and Eleanor, in California. Eleanor, beset with dementia, seems rarely burdened with deep feeling anymore, but Vincent, who abandoned her for a while, years ago, fears that the wound he inflicted precipitated the disease. Eleanor's nurse, Amador, has abandoned his own family in Mexico, in an effort to shoulder his financial responsibilities. He, too, carries a burden of sorrow, since his first son died aged one, after a family outing when Amador impulsively dipped him in a chilly river. Subsequently he dares not love his other children as freely, especially his second son, Rogelio, who has always sensed but misunderstood his father's prickliness. And there's another forsaken child, 16-year-old Marlene in Ohio, Frank's love child who, after a sudden, fleeting encounter with him, decides to trek to California, thinking to find him there. Rogelio has also run away from home, eventually appearing in Amador's trailer, thin and desperate. Amador, who had started an affair with Caroline, realizes he must reunite his family and curtail his emotional absence. Marlene's arrival surprises no one and engenders kinship with her half-brothers. Sheunderstands her father will always elude her, but has found something else. Caroline chooses to share the burden of her mother with her father. Silver (stories: Babe in Paradise, 2001) writes deftly but her overdeterminism squeezes the life out of her characters. Heavy on the self-reproach, this questing first novel is all but defeated by its insistence on the difficult duties of parent and child.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393328745
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/10/2006
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Marisa Silver

Marisa Silver is the author of The New York Times Notable Book Babe in Paradise. She lives in Los Angeles, California.

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