Margot is the child of renowned musicians and the product of a particularly punky upbringing. Burnt-out from the burden of expectation and the bad end of the worst relationship yet, she leaves New York and heads to Montana. She's seeking to escape both the eyes of the world and the echoing voice of that last bad man. But a chance encounter with a dubious doctor in a graveyard, and the discovery of a dozen old film reels, opens the door to a study of both the peculiarities of her body and the absurdities of her famous family.
Poignant, filler-less ... The analgesia theme is treated subtly; it doesn’t flatten the characters or overtake the realism. In fact, my favorite aspect of the book was the careful, realistic telling of familial and romantic relationships. The calmly wrought dialogue and lifelike interactions were unexpected and ambiguous to the point of seeming documentarian. I believed it all really happened ... LaCava’s taut, sheared prose often seems like lines of poetry collapsed into paragraphs. This quality is enhanced by recurring words, images and ideas ... Meticulously constructed, with each part supporting and supported by the others. Controlled self-awareness like this in novels makes me pay close attention, enriching my experience ... The only thing that broke the spell for me was the last three sentences. I didn’t understand what they meant until three-quarters of the way into my second read of the novel, which seems OK, even ideal, since LaCava’s novel is substantial, heartfelt and concise enough to be worth reading more than once.
It’s a familiar story, but...Stephanie LaCava exploits the trope as a shortcut to intimacy between reader and character ... Examines issues of power, how it is or is not inherited, what the consequences of being defined by others are, and the ways pain shapes us.
A cool, cutthroat razor of a novel ... In places, an acerbic comedy so pitch-black barely any light escapes ... We are left with something more ambiguous, an act of violation and then a concluding line that I interpreted entirely differently each time I read the novel, neither option feeling like a happy ending ... In a curious way, the book, in spite of its absence of pain, is a paean to sensation, its usefulness and its vividness.