REMEMBER ME by Laura Hendrie


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An alternately witty and angry dissection of small-town life on the high desert country of New Mexico, and a celebration of the conflicting drives toward independence and belonging. Hendrie (Stygo, stories, not reviewed) sets her first novel in struggling Queduro, New Mexico, a village clinging to existence by a thread. The residents, destitute since a nearby mine closed, now live by selling their wonderfully complex embroidery to growing numbers of tourists. Even though the West has a reputation for being the last refuge of the individual, Hendrie reminds us that, in fact, communities there have almost always been as tightly webbed together by gossip, obligations, and shared history as anywhere else. The stubbornly individualistic tend to be viewed with mingled suspicion and alarm. That’s certainly the emotion Rose Devonic arouses. Now 29, and a native of Queduro, Rose lost most of her family years ago in an automobile accident. Unmarried, possessed of a sharp wit, quick temper, and deep streak of independence, Rose has resisted the town’s attempts first to tame her, and then to drive her out. Despite her scorn for its prissy disapproval, Queduro is her true home. She lives out of her car in the summer and spends the winters in a cabin at the town’s only motel, watching over the old, anxious, alcoholic who runs it. Or has, until now. The owner has decided to sell, and Rose may be forced to leave for good. A death, a flight, and a variety of machinations by the town fathers push her to the edge. How she manages to come to grips with her past, and both to defy and subtly change the town, are traced with considerable vigor. Hendrie’s portrait of Queduro’s inhabitants is unsparing but never cruel, and Rose—a haunted but resilient figure—is one of the most original (and believable) heroines in recent fiction. The narrative may be loose in places, but Queduro and Rose are rendered with such depth that one doesn’t mind lingering. A bracingly tough-minded and authentically moving work. (Author tour)

Pub Date: Sept. 8th, 1999
ISBN: 0-8050-6218-1
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Henry Holt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1999


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