Antonia King has a complicated relationship with the past. She and her brother were found amid the rubble of a bombed-out apartment in Sarajevo and taken in by a family of contractors in Thebes, Minnesota. Eager to escape the constraints of her adopted town, Antonia embarks on a high-powered legal career. But it isn't long before her brother's mysterious disappearance pulls her back home.
The novel is slow in buildup, with many flashbacks, and the denouement is deflating. A few issues raised along the way are left unresolved ... [Burt's] humdrum mystery never builds up enough steam to keep readers involved.
Occasionally, Burt’s allusions to Sophocles are more clunky than clever... but the work’s strength lies in the ways Burt complicates her archetypal characters, such as in her portrayal of Antonia’s loyalty to Paul. It adds up to an engaging family tragedy.
Burt layers all of this on in a rapid-fire style and places Antonia in too many scenes with minor characters. The writing shines in the few moments of intimacy between people before Burt delivers a big reveal. But Antonia as a character fails to come to life even as she learns a real lesson about cutting the ties that bind. An original yet ultimately flat family drama.