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The things that keep us here
Carla Buckley
Adult Fiction BUCKLEY

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From Publishers' Weekly:

A timely premise can't quite compensate for structural deficiencies in Buckley's lackluster debut novel. Ann Brooks and her family have anticipated the possibility of pandemic avian flu for months; Ann's estranged husband, Peter, after all, has been researching the mysterious illness at his university research job. When the flu-with a near-50% fatality rate-closes in on the Columbus, Ohio, home where Ann and her two daughters live, Peter and his exotically beautiful Ph.D. student, Shazia, move in to pool resources, but desperation grows as heat, food and water dwindle, and the threat of death looms (sometimes literally) on their doorstep. Although pseudoscientific reports and news bulletins add to the novel's "ripped from the headlines" feel, emotional revelations are handled less skillfully. A tragedy in Ann and Peter's past, after numerous veiled allusions, is finally revealed in an unsatisfying throwaway in the epilogue. The third-person narration squanders the tensions among Ann, Peter and Shazia, resulting in flat and unsurprising epiphanies. Although Buckley raises important questions about trust, loyalty and forgiveness, the narrative flaws detract from the overall effect. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Medical thriller meets domestic drama in this timely debut. Peter and Ann Brooks are a divorcing couple struggling to maintain civility for the sake of their young daughters when the unthinkable happens: a virulent outbreak of avian flu quickly burgeons into a pandemic. As their Ohio town goes into lockdown, Peter returns to his family with his beautiful graduate assistant in tow. Sequestered in their suburban home, this group must band together to face a world gone suddenly chaotic, where food is scarce, utilities fail, and neighbors attack one another for a tankful of gas. With crisp writing and taut pacing, Buckley spins a convincing apocalyptic vision that's both frightening and claustrophobic, although she handles the human drama less adroitly. The emotional baggage in the Brookses' troubled marriage feels contrived, and the ending falls flat, but it's a great ride up to that point. Verdict Despite structural flaws, this vivid depiction of suburban America gone bad is riveting. It has the potential for broad appeal and could attract fans of authors as diverse as Jodi Picoult, Robin Cook, and P.D. James. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 10/1/09.]-Jeanne Bogino, New Lebanon Lib., NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Ann Brooks
Female
Married
Her neighborhood gets hit with Avian flu and goes into lockdown; determined to protect her family as food grows scarce; town is also hit by a winter storm.

Peter Brooks
Male
Married
Has discovered a virulent pandemic has come to the United States; forced to return home.
Researcher

Shazia
Female
Peter's assistant; takes refuge with Peter's family.
Research assistant



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