Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Catching Genius, by Kristy Kiernan

Though I found the early chapters somehow off-putting, I ended up sticking with this book the other morning and completed it by nightfall.

I can't quite relate to any of the characters, yet I found them engaging and realistic. The awkward, distant, and floundering relationships between the estranged sisters (and among stoic parents and children) are compellingly, if not openly, honest. The characters' maternal motivations are also rendered with accuracy and compassion.

Kiernan has the ability to tell a pleasantly ambling story with a palette of emotional contexts and a beguiling sense of place and objects. She's neither cautious nor vicious with her characters' lives, doling out deliberately real confrontations, convictions, and connections at an exacting pace.

The jacket tells little of Kiernan's life experience, but I came away with the impression that she was not often writing what she knew, and was successful nonetheless.

The book at times struck me as an opposite to The Last Summer (of You and Me), by Anne Brashares.

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