Author: Tess Callahan
This poignant novel of losses startles with lovely prose and hard truths. April and Oliver are childhood friends, inseparable, soul mates. Oliver moves away to California and April stays in New York. When April’s beloved 18 year old brother, Buddy, dies in the car she has loaned him, Oliver moves back from California where he has found law school and a fiance. A promising concert pianist in his youth, Oliver remains the good son, pursuing what he thinks his family desires – the good, secure life. In exchange, his ability to compose and play his beloved piano is gone. In direct contrast, but on the same collision course, April seeks out men who abuse her, ending up with T.J., an alleged murderer and stalker. As these two protagonists dance to a sibilant drama, they ebb and tide around each other like ocean and shore. There are more complications. Oliver finds out just before his wedding to Bernadette, his perfect fiance, lovely and refined, that his adored mother had an affair with Quincy, April’s father’s partner in the bar business. Quincy is the man who sexually abused April from 14 to 17 when she worked in her father’s bar.
Not a light read as the subject matter is sometimes difficult, but splendid if you press your way through, Callahan reminds me of Sue Miller, Alice Hoffman, Jane Smiley and Marguerite Duras, yet her voice is solidly her own.
Rating is based on a 5 star scale
Overall: Ms. Callahan is a writer’s writer.
“April & Oliver: a novel” can be purchased at Amazon.com for $16.31.
Review by Broad “A” – Ava
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