Booklist Reviews 2008 May #1
*Starred Review* On a bewitched Sunday, Nico is looking forward to spending the summer with her college-bound sister, Margaret. The girls are lounging in their rowboat on Mirror Lake, once calm and transparent, now darkened by algae, a forerunner of loss. And what were their arty parents thinking? Nico, 13, is named after the doomed junkie German rock singer. Goldengrove, the name of their father's bookstore, was plucked from a Hopkins poem that includes the prophetic line, It is Margaret you mourn for. And mourn they do after she dives into the lake and drowns. As the family goes into shock, Nico's coming-of-age is accelerated like a plant forced to bloom. A remarkably versatile and discerning writer adept at addressing tragedy with lyricism and wit, Prose has crafted a whirlpool novel of sudden death and the long fever dream of grief that is emotionally authentic and veined with profoundly resonant allusions and metaphors. Marshaling magnetic characters, hidden history, suspense, and acute insight into the transmutation of anguish into compassion, Prose plunges through the scrim of melodrama to reach the realm of myth, in a ravishing novel of the mystery of death and life's assertion. Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.
LJ Reviews 2008 May #2
Prose reportedly drops her satiric edge in this novel of a 13-year-old who forms a dangerous liaison with her drowned sister's boyfriend. With a national tour. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
LJ Reviews 2008 July #1
Reading groups should gravitate to prolific writer Prose, who's never been one to eschew controversial subjects: a born-again neo-Nazi in A Changed Man , the sexually charged student/teacher relationship in National Book Award nominee Blue Angel , or the aftermath of a school shooting in the young adult novel After . Narrated by precocious 12-year-old Nico, this poignant novel explores one family's trajectory from life in a New England pastoral to lives of quiet desperation following the drowning death of Nico's older sister Margaret. Emotionally abandoned by a mother seeking solace in tranquilizers and a Walter Mitty-type father intent upon writing his tome on eschatology, Nico finds herself drawn to Margaret's artistic boyfriend, Aaron, whose grief and guilt mirrors her own. As the young couple spends unlimited, unsupervised time together, their relationship takes on a perverse quality, setting a mood of foreboding that is typical of Prose. Though wrapped up a tad too abruptly, this highly accessible novel, lightened with wry humor, is an insightful examination of the various ways people use imagination and memory to cope with devastating loss. Recommended for all public libraries, this book would also appeal to a YA audience. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 5/15/08.]—Sally Bissell, Lee Cty. Lib. Syst., Fort Myers, FL[Page 66]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
PW Reviews 2008 May #2
In Prose's deeply touching and absorbing 15th novel, narrator Nico, 13, comes upon Gerard Manley Hopkins's "Spring and Fall" (which opens "Margaret, are you grieving/ Over Goldengrove unleaving?") in her father's upstate New York bookstore, also named Goldengrove. It's the summer after her adored older sister, Margaret—possessed of beauty, a lovely singing voice and a poetic nature—casually dove from a rowboat in a nearby lake and drowned. In emotive detail, Nico relates the subsequent events of that summer. Nico was a willing confidant and decoy in Margaret's clandestine romance with a high school classmate, Aaron, and Nico now finds that she and Aaron are drawn to each other in their mutual bereavement. Unhinged by grief, Nico's parents are distracted and careless in their oversight of Nico, and Nico is deep in perilous waters before she realizes that she is out of her depth. Prose eschews her familiar satiric mode. She fluidly maintains Nico's tender insights into the human condition as Nico comes to discover her own way of growing up and moving on. (Sept.)[Page 31]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.