New Finds

Nightime, the Right Time?

The story of a shattered family's harrowing world is made readable by a fine writer.

Book Cover Ginnah Howard (Rope & Bone) manages to make the harrowing and bitter world of a shattered family (suicide of the father and one brother and the perennial cycle of substance abuse and various rehabilitations of the remaining brother) convincingly interesting. Set in upstate New York, the story alternates between Mark--the remaining brother, a heroin junkie and bearer of a number of psychiatric pathologies--and his mother Del, who wavers but never gives up hope in the recovery of her son.

Though ably standing alone, Night Navigation is the second volume in Howard's projected trilogy--continuing the stories in Rope & Bone 10 of which you can read here)--described as a "novel-in-progress," composed of 34 chapters, and covering a 40-year timespan (1955 to 1993). Howard is completing this family saga with Common Descent, which centers on the Morlettis: Carla and her daughter and son, who figure in Del and Mark's tale of misery and calamities.

Why read such a bruising story? I also asked myself that about the middle section of Roberto BolaƱo's 2666, 250 pages of murder and mayhem recounting in excruciating detail the unsolved assaults and disappearances of hundreds of women in a town much like true-life Ciudad Juarez Simple methinks, fine writing and a voice that also compels you to want to stay with the novel.
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