Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Sabbathday River, by Jean Hanff Korelitz (1999)

You want a compelling, riveting, thick book for a summer read? Go find this book at your library - it was excellent. I never would have found this had it not been for the Oprah summer reading list - they had another book by Korelitz listed, and my library didn't have that one, but they did have this one, and boy, am I glad.

The story is anchored by Naomi, a Jewish woman who moved from New York city to rural New Hampshire for idealistic reasons, and is struggling to make a place for herself in the conservative community. While out running one day, she discovers the body of a dead infant floating in the river. It is this discovery that will turn the town upside down, and ultimately change forever the lives of Naomi and the other main characters: Heather, the naive and strange young outcast in town, and Judith, Naomi's lawyer friend.

Twist and turns in the plot, thriller like suspense and courtroom drama - this novel has it all. But it also includes thoughtful passages pertaining to women's rights, small town cruelty, motherhood, feminism, religion and spirituality. I was sorry when it was over, and the twist at the end is actually tempting me to go back and read it again, to see if there were any clues that would have given the secret at the end away.