Tucker's complexly structured novel could be a tight wire act for a reader because the story has multiple narrators and follows two compelling story lines separated by almost two decades. Fortunately, Bean is a dexterous performer who is more than up to the challenge. She does an admirable job, not only reading chapters in alternating character voices but also enlivening dialogue within those chapters with subtle, compelling and entertaining voices for each character. She adapts a higher, airy lightness to portray Dorothea, who is thrust out into the modern world to discover family secrets after having been sheltered from the outside world for decades by her overprotective father. Bean portrays Dorothea's emotionally damaged brother, Jimmy, with a scratchy, raw rasp and her cab-driving protector, Stephen, with the laid-back ease of a lower register. (The only voice that seems off is Dorothea's father, who sounds like a robotic Hannibal Lechter.) Tucker's tale is a twisty one filled with surprising revelations and multiple emotional payoffs, and Bean maneuvers the terrain with ease. Simultaneous release with the Atria hardcover (Reviews, Nov. 28). (Apr.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
A sheltered, innocent young woman, a kind cab driver, and a former film star are the narrators of Tucker's (The Song Reader) ambitious third novel. The plot involves one Charles O'Brien, a single parent who has raised his children in the "Sanctuary," a desolate New Mexico location devoid of television, computer, radio, or newspapers. When Charles becomes seriously ill, his 23-year-old daughter, Dorothea, must travel to St. Louis to locate her missing older brother and, she hopes, convince him to return home. Her brother, meanwhile, plagued by lifelong violent nightmares, feels compelled to locate their mother's family. Dorothea's odyssey is at the heart of this challenging, compelling, and poignant novel, which is grounded by popular culture details from the Seventies and present day. Readers will find this captivating, fish-out-of-water fairy tale and mystery-suspense-romance difficult to put down. Intriguing themes, including fate and coincidence, love and loss, and tragedy and forgiveness, combine with an unusual, compassionate cast of characters to make this is a good choice for public libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 1/06.]-Andrea Tarr, Corona P.L., CA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
"A lyrically poignant reminder of the necessity of hope."
-- Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Tucker's graceful prose and well-crafted characters create a compelling odyssey of transfiguration."
-- People (Critic's Choice)
"Tucker's most ambitious novel yet. It's a tragedy, a mystery, a romance, a twisted family story about loss, violence, obsession, and forgiveness."
-- The Boston Globe
"Tucker's new fable is self-consciously the stuff of fairy tales.... The book is charged with the sense that life is charmed, that chance encounters can change fates and remake them for the better."
-- San Francisco Chronicle
"Deftly written and emotionally convincing."
-- Marie Claire