Sunday, November 22, 2009
Goldengrove - Francine Prose
Goldengrove opens with the death of 13-year old Nico's older sister. Nearby when the death occurred, Nico carries with her a tremendous amount of guilt, and the feeling that it should have been her - the less talented and loved daughter. While her father seeks refuge in his quiet little bookstore, and her mother turns to a friend dispensing questionable advice, Nico wonders what will keep her family together after such a significant tragedy. In the hopes of finding answers, Nico befriends her sister's boyfriend, Aaron - the only person who seems to understand the tremendous weight of what has happened. As a young woman coming into her own, Nico is confused by her feelings of loss, and her strong attachment to Aaron. There is a sense of danger and impropriety from the first pages of this novel, and Prose carries the tension through to the end. I did not find anything particularly different or enlightening in Prose's telling of family tragedy, but focusing the narrative on Nico's coming of age, was compelling.