THE SOLACE OF LEAVING EARLY by Haven Kimmel

THE SOLACE OF LEAVING EARLY

KIRKUS REVIEW

Several quests for religious certainty and personal fulfillment intersect melodramatically in this overwrought debut novel from the Indiana author of the memoir A Girl Named Zippy (2001). It focuses on almost-30 Langston Braverman’s abandonment of graduate school and return to her hometown, the murder of Langston’s childhood friend and its “miraculous” aftereffect on the latter’s two small daughters, and the recurring crises of faith and nerve that afflict pastor Amos Townsend, who despairs of ever properly serving his parishioners or understanding his own and other people’s divided and hungering natures. Some of the particulars are compelling, but explanations for characters’ behavior are buried in secrets too long kept from the reader, and the centrality of Langston—a humorless intellectual snob further burdened by wooden dialogue never spoken on earth or in heaven—makes it just about impossible to believe in Kimmel’s agitated souls, or much care what happens to them.

Pub Date: June 18th, 2002
ISBN: 0-385-49983-3
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Doubleday
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2002




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