After starting and abandoning several over the past week, I finally found a book I could stick with: Somebody Else's Daughter, by Elizabeth Brundage.
Brundage's myriad characters are so utterly flawed, so charged with secrets and regrets, yet so aware of their shortcomings that I care for and forgive (most of) them.
The plot of Somebody Else's Daughter may not be clear as you read, but at its conclusion you'll see that the story could not have happened any other way. At chapter 54, I thought the plot had run off the rails, but after consideration of the denoument, it makes perfect sense for all of the characters involved and was an essential culmination.
The large and fleshed-out cast of interwoven humanity this book offers, complete with unabashed wickedness, remorse, and self-destructive impulses, brings to mind East of Eden, by the incomparable John Steinbeck.
This novel is not for the faint of heart, nor those with persistently sunny-side-up personalities. It offers off-putting grit and remarkable poignancy, often in the same paragraph. Brundage's writing consumes me, leaves me brooding. And instead of mercy, I beg for more.
*Look here and scroll down for my review of this author's first book.