Without a Backward Glanceby Kate Veitch
On a stifling Christmas Eve in 1967 the lives of the McDonald children-Deborah, Robert, James, and Meredith-changed forever. Their mother, Rosemarie, told them she was running out to buy some lights for the tree. She never came back. The children were left with their father, and a
A deeply felt first novel of family, choices, and coming to terms with the past.
On a stifling Christmas Eve in 1967 the lives of the McDonald children-Deborah, Robert, James, and Meredith-changed forever. Their mother, Rosemarie, told them she was running out to buy some lights for the tree. She never came back. The children were left with their father, and a gnawing question: why had their mother abandoned them?
Over the years, the four siblings have become practiced in concealing their pain, remaining close into adulthood, and forming their own families. But long-closed wounds are reopened when a chance encounter brings James face-to-face with Rosemarie after nearly forty years. Secrets that each sibling has locked away come to light as they struggle to come to terms with their mother's reappearance, while at the same time their beloved father is progressing into dementia. Veitch's family portrait reveals the joys and sorrows, the complexity and ambiguity of family life, and poignantly probes what it means to love and what it means to leave.
On Christmas Eve 1967, Rosemarie McDonald walks out the door of her suburban Melbourne home, leaving her husband behind to raise their four children: Deborah, the eldest at almost 13 and default mother; Robert, the compulsive worrier; James the peacemaker even at eight; and Meredith, the perpetual baby. Decades later, the children have forged their own families, but remain trapped in their original roles and are still somehow waiting for word from Rosemarie. When James rediscovers her on a trip to London, they are all faced with confronting their betrayer, and themselves, and possible forgiveness. Published under the title Listenin Veitch's native Australia, the novel's omniscient narration eavesdrops on the inner lives of each family member and their different ways of coping with abandonment-not all of them healthy. What emerges is a heartfelt yet unsentimental portrait of a family undone by a mother's desire, and its struggle to find ways to keep going and keep together. (June)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Veitch's debut novel is a compelling tale of a family fractured by abandonment. On Christmas eve 1967, Rosemarie McDonald, a young wife and mother, walks out of her family's home near Melbourne, Australia, and never returns. Over the next 40 years, her four children maintain close relationships with one another, establishing their own families and now helping to care for their aging father, whose grasp on reality is slipping. We meet the oldest, Deborah, authoritative and controlling; charming, artistic, and charismatic James; obsessive-compulsive Robert, always responsible; and the youngest, Meredith, flighty and fearful, all plagued by their mother's abandonment. Then James, in London on business, crosses paths with Rosemarie. The balance of the novel focuses on just how and when he will reintroduce his mother to his siblings. Veitch has written a powerful and engrossing story of family interactions complete with family members' frailties and strengths. Chockablock with rich, idiomatic Australian slang, this novel includes a glossary. Recommended for all fiction collections where Anita Shreve and Anne Tyler are popular.
- Penguin Publishing Group
- Publication date:
- Sold by:
- Penguin Group
- NOOK Book
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- File size:
- 579 KB
- Age Range:
- 18 Years
Meet the Author
Kate Veitch is a journalist and author who grew up in Melbourne, Australia. Currently, she divides her time between San Francisco and New South Wales, Australia.
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The book seemed long and not very interesting, so many characters, one could spend to much time on that alone. I read the entire book on vacation and was waiting for it to get better, which never happened. This is her first book and wish her luck with her future books.
Great first book - looking forward to more from Ms. Veitch.
A page-turner! Looking forward to a sequel! Complex characters we can all relate to. Impressive for a first-time novelist.
On Christmas Eve 1967 in Melbourne Rosemarie McDonald tells her four preadolescent children (Deborah, Robert, James, and Meredith) she is stepping out to buy lights for the family yuletide tree. She never came home to the dismay of her four children. Instead, she flew to England her kids were raised by their father, who from that night forward pretended his wife was dead while Rosemarie never apparently took a backward glance to those she left behind who needed her.-------------- Four decades later, James meets his mother. Rosemarie who has always felt guilty about deserting her children know she must either flee into the night again or try to make amends as best as she can. Her adult children though they have families of their own never recovered from her vanishing as they learned loved ones leave and how to conceal any hurts.--------------- This family drama works because of the four adult children whose personalities differ as they coped with the abandonment in varying ways four decades later each has big relationship issues as they never recovered from their mom leaving. Rosemarie is terrific as she tries to hide her guilt and remorse from James, but fails. Although her spouse suffering from elderly dementia is somewhat removed from a confrontation with his kids and Rosemarie over welcoming back the person who betrayed them, Kate Veitch provides a strong relationship tale of a shattered family who may find it is too late to reconcile as defense mechanisms have become forty year habits.-------- Harriet Klausner