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Kim Edwards is the author of the short-story collection The Secrets of the Fire King, which was an alternate for the 1998 PEN/Hemingway Award, and has won the Whiting Award and the Nelson Algren Award. She is an assistant professor of English at the University of Kentucky.
During a blizzard in 1964, Norah Henry gives birth to twins. Owing to the storm, her husband, Dr. David Henry, delivers the babies-one a boy, the other a girl who clearly has Down syndrome. David decides to send the daughter, Phoebe, to an institution, telling his wife the infant died. There is a catch, however: the nurse entrusted with the errand cannot bear to give Phoebe away. Norah pours her soul into raising her son but forever mourns the loss of her daughter; Phoebe, meanwhile, thrives under the loving care of her accidental mother, and the secret of her existence creates an impenetrable wall between David and Norah Henry. First-time novelist Edwards-author of the short story collection The Secrets of a Fire King-has written a heart-wrenching book, by turns light and dark, literary and suspenseful. A natural for book discussion groups; recommended.-Keddy Ann Outlaw, Harris Cty. P.L., Houston Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Crafted with language so lovely you have to reread the passages just to be captivated all over again ... this is simply a beautiful book Jodi Picoult I loved this riveting story with its intricate characters and beautiful language -- Sue Monk Kidd, author of the best-selling The Secret Life of Bees
Edwards's assured but schematic debut novel (after her collection, The Secrets of a Fire King) hinges on the birth of fraternal twins, a healthy boy and a girl with Down syndrome, resulting in the father's disavowal of his newborn daughter. A snowstorm immobilizes Lexington, Ky., in 1964, and when young Norah Henry goes into labor, her husband, orthopedic surgeon Dr. David Henry, must deliver their babies himself, aided only by a nurse. Seeing his daughter's handicap, he instructs the nurse, Caroline Gill, to take her to a home and later tells Norah, who was drugged during labor, that their son Paul's twin died at birth. Instead of institutionalizing Phoebe, Caroline absconds with her to Pittsburgh. David's deception becomes the defining moment of the main characters' lives, and Phoebe's absence corrodes her birth family's core over the course of the next 25 years. David's undetected lie warps his marriage; he grapples with guilt; Norah mourns her lost child; and Paul not only deals with his parents' icy relationship but with his own yearnings for his sister as well. Though the impact of Phoebe's loss makes sense, Edwards's redundant handling of the trope robs it of credibility. This neatly structured story is a little too moist with compassion. Agent, Geri Thoma. (July) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.