The Good Childrenby Kate Wilhelm
When they move to a new home in Oregon, the McNair family know they're where they belong. But when tragedy strikes the family, the children face the prospect of being separated by the state. Rather than being sent to different foster homes, the four children decide to lie. And it's a big lie. The sort of deceit that can hold a family together or tear it apart . . . See more details below
When they move to a new home in Oregon, the McNair family know they're where they belong. But when tragedy strikes the family, the children face the prospect of being separated by the state. Rather than being sent to different foster homes, the four children decide to lie. And it's a big lie. The sort of deceit that can hold a family together or tear it apart . . .
For parents, worry comes with the territory --at one time or another, most contemplate what would happen if their children were left alone in the world. Wilhelm takes this "what if?" and conjectures a chilling, but somehow consoling fable.
After a life of moving about following their father's career, the McNairs have settled in an old house in Oregon. They are a perfect family, finally living in a perfect house after never being in one place long enough to reach outside the family for anything. The mother, an orphan toughened by the streets, believes a family must stay together, no matter what. When the father dies suddenly, the mother is inconsolable and becomes even more isolated from the world beyond her family. Soon after, the four children, ages 15, 14, 11, and 6 find their mother dead under an apple tree. Fearing separation, they decide to keep her death a secret, and bury her in the garden.
The children manage to meet the practical challenges of daily life as well as the emotional hurdles of adolescence. But the youngest, Brian, insists his mother has never left.
Almost three years pass, and the older children grope toward adulthood while Brian turns ever inward. As the eldest prepares to enter college, they finally stage a "disappearance" for their long-dead mother, but for Brian his mother never left the first time, let alone the second.
Writing from the viewpoint of Amy, the next-to-youngest, Wilhelm conveys the notion that the dead can control the living with a remarkable gentleness and understanding. Although the "haunting" at the core of the novel is rooted in psychology, one feels that science is sometimes just a newer explanation for the supernatural. Wilhelm's The Good Children is a lyrically written, effectively chilling story that again proves her mastery as a storyteller.
- St. Martin's Press
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.43(w) x 9.64(h) x 0.94(d)
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