Eileen Pollack’s new novel, “Breaking and Entering,” takes place in rural Michigan in 1995 — the epicenter and high point of the militia movement, before increased scrutiny and revulsion at the Oklahoma City bombing put some militia groups out of business and sent others underground. (Though not a militiaman, the bomber Timothy McVeigh attended their meetings and spent time on a Michigan farm with his fellow conspirator Terry Nichols.) The Oklahoma City attack comes about a third of the way through Pollack’s book, a real-world event that informs and shadows the fictional ones. ...Quite a lot of bad things happen in “Breaking and Entering.” Pollack is an engaging writer with a first-rate eye for the telling sociological detail.... Since the author’s intent is to explore intolerance, hatred and evil, it is not enough that these forces merely simmer and self-perpetuate. The stakes are raised, and escalating consequences play out. ...—Jean Thompson, The New York Times Book Review
A compassionate, humorous new novel about the ambiguities of modern life.
After his patient commits suicide, a shattered Richard Shapiro and his wife, Louise, both therapists, move from upscale, liberal Marin County, California, to a rural Michigan village in 1995. But so much for the great escape: Louise takes up with a magnetic married minister, and Richard befriends members of the local militia, which has ties to the Oklahoma City bomber. Set against the backdrop of a divided America, Breaking and Entering by Eileen Pollack is a novel laced with compassion, humor and wisdom about the ambiguities of modern life. —Lynn Schnurnberger, More Magazine
Louise Shapiro is thoroughly beset in this thorny, lucid novel. Her bad luck begins in California, where her husband abandons his psychology practice and takes a job in a rural Michigan prison. Louise struggles to adjust to the heartland, which seems overpopulated with religious nuts and militia members. Her husband drifts away into a rebellious, gun-toting fugue, and the lover she takes becomes remote in his own way. ... Her increasingly nuanced view of the sociopolitical divide is reflected in Pollack’s sensitive portrayals of both liberal Louise and her ilk, and their conservative counterparts. Weaving the personal with the political, Pollack... creates an encompassing haze of dissatisfaction and misdirected passion. Despite the unrelenting misfortune, though, the tone is more solemn than dark; there’s a beautiful contemplativeness, and a believable sense of redemption in the end. —Publisher’s Weekly
An exploration of Tolstoy’s dictum about unhappy families....A rich and satisfying novel that explores in a significant way contemporary issues of family, religion and politics.—Kirkus Review