THIS WILD SILENCE by Lucy Jane Bledsoe


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Disappointingly tame fare from the talented Bledsoe (Cougar Canyon, 2002, etc.).

Christine never seems to have gotten over the unexplained loss, 30 years ago, of her baby brother Timothy, who vanished without a trace as a five-year-old. The fact that Christine (then age ten) and her sister Liz were responsible for keeping an eye on Timothy as he swam in a campground lake gave an added guilt to the tragedy, which seemed to disfigure Christine both emotionally and psychologically. A lesbian malcontent, Christine practices medicine in a rough neighborhood of San Francisco and appears to be as dissatisfied with her career as she is with her perpetually unsettled love life. In apparent contrast, her sister Liz is happily married to her high-school sweetheart Mark, the two living in utopian domesticity on a small farm not far from the Bay Area. But Liz has her quirks, too: her penchant for taking troubled children into her home bespeaks a similar, more deeply buried, guilt. When Liz and Mark invite Christine on a camping trip (along with Lenny, their latest juvenile delinquent, and Mark’s secretary Melody), however, the stresses eventually crack. Unspoken resentments flare up between the sisters, only to be fanned into open flames when Christine discovers that Melody is having an affair with Mark (whom Christine herself secretly bedded many years ago). If this sounds like typical family angst, it isn’t—not with the ghost of a vanished child hovering over everyone. Can there be any relief from the anxieties of Timothy’s loss? Only if the truth can be found.

Some marvelously rendered sketches of domestic torment and grief are lost in a rambling and largely unfocussed narrative—and the denouement comes so much out of nowhere that it falls flat.

Pub Date: May 1st, 2003
ISBN: 1-55583-773-5
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Alyson
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2003


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