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Precious : a novel
Novack, Sandra.
Adult Fiction NOVACK

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Novack's lyrical and finely crafted first novel is set in a small, idyllic Pennsylvania town circa 1978 and charts the crumbling of two families. At the center of the novel is the Kisch family, sisters Sissy and Eva and parents Frank and Natalia. Nine-year-old Sissy is introverted and impressionable, while older Eva is having an affair with Peter, her high school English teacher. Her parents' marriage, too, is rapidly deteriorating, and soon Natalia takes off for Italy with her lover, leaving Frank to try to deal with the remnants of their family. A few houses away, 10-year-old Vicki Anderson (whose relationship to Sissy is troubled), has gone missing, leaving her mother, Ginny, panicked and grief-stricken. Unhappiness, it seems, dwells everywhere, though there may be a dash of hard-won hope as Natalia returns home and the Kisches recalibrate. Ginny, meanwhile, fails to receive any good news about her missing daughter. The graceful prose and bleak atmosphere underscore the loneliness of each character. Novack takes the massive distance between friends, husbands and wives, and makes it her home. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Known for her incisive short stories, published in literary journals like the Iowa Review, Novack has written a haunting first novel in which a girl's disappearance from a small town in 1970s Pennsylvania forms the backdrop for a family's coping with loss and remorse. When Sissy Kisch learns that her former best friend, ten-year-old Vickie Anderson, never returned home one summer evening from the local park, she feels guilty about having been mad at her. Compounding Sissy's regret is that her own restless mother is absent from the family home. With her mother gone, Sissy is under the care of her teenage sister, Eva, who tries to provide some comfort but is herself directionless and angry. Together, the two girls struggle with their father's constant irritability and often uncommunicative manner. When Sissy's mother suddenly returns, feelings among this family are not easily mended, just as an explanation for Vickie's disappearance remains elusive. Told with emotional honesty and a unique grasp of the sometimes searing complexity of human relationships, this novel manages also to convey some depth about the very randomness of life and fate. Recommended for all public library fiction collections.-M. Neville, Trenton P.L., NJ (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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