The existential crises of the times—war, Watergate, the civil rights movement—take a back seat in Silver’s newest novel, behind the more immediate challenges of parenting and providing, caring for others versus caring for oneself ... Silver’s luminous exploration of foundational relationships catastrophically altered by a gut-wrenching accident reveals the poignancy and vulnerability that underlie so many human contracts. Whether writing in the precociously gleeful voices of two guileless children or the increasingly jaded tones of damaged adults, Silver achieves a powerful and gripping authenticity that captures the confusion and, yes, the mystery of both innocence and maturity.
Two seven-year-old girls see their friendship ripped apart on one horrifying summer day in Silver’s thoughtful latest ... Silver’s attention to the parents pays off in the second half of the book, after they are transformed by a car accident on their street involving a suspected drunk driver. Silver’s unsettling study of the painful effects of change channels the bitter nostalgia of Rick Moody.
An intense story about two young girls growing up in St. Louis during an unsettled time ... Author Silver is probing grief and guilt here as well as the mysteries of fate and character ... Sentence by sentence, Silver’s writing is graceful and observant. Yet the novel doesn’t add up to much. The author portrays the accident as a turning point. Yet the grown-ups were struggling before the catastrophe, which only seems to push them further along the road they were already traveling. Miggy and Ellen are by far the freshest, liveliest characters, but the author keeps shifting focus away from them. Some parts of the novel seem truncated—Jean and Julian’s courtship, for example—while others feel too expansive. Lovely writing but airless and unsatisfying in the end.