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.