Elizabeth Poliner's As Close to Us as Breathing
Well, this book was the perfect palate cleanser to the last book I read--maybe the beach setting helped wash all those horrible images away? The funny thing is, this book also deals with a tragedy--from the very first page, we know the narrator's little brother is going to die, hit by a car--but it's handled so much BETTER here. Part of that is the narrative voice--the protagonist, now an older woman, is looking back on the summer she was 12, in 1948, when her large and complicated family visits their beach house in the Jewish section of Connecticut--but partially it's just the way the story is crafted. (It's very well-crafted.) I really felt like I KNEW all of these people--and not just because they reminded me of my family, because only a few of them did--Poliner just breathes life into all of them, and all of their experiences, big tragedies and small ones, and little moments of grace. Just lovely. A.