Arthur Parkinson is fourteen during the dreary winter of 1974, experiencing the confusing pangs of adolescence and the pain of his parents’ divorce. His world is shattered further by the sudden and violent death of Annie Marchand, his beloved former babysitter. Narrated by the adult Arthur, who continues to be haunted by memories, the story of a young man’s unraveling family and the circumstances leading up to Annie’s death form the backdrop for an intimate tale of the price of love and belonging, told in a spare, translucent, and unexpectedly tender voice.
Audio Book Reviews
“O'Nan is a skilled writer who views the lives of his working-class characters with unsentimental compassion; he understands how they are entrapped by social background and stark economics as well as their own personal inadequacies-in Annie's case, her impetuous reactions and fierce temper. The novel's elegiac tone is perfectly controlled, and angst and the lingo of male adolescence are rendered with wry fidelity. But O'Nan's triumph is Annie; in spite of her faults, readers will empathize as she makes the mistakes that will bring her heartbreaking life to an end.”—Publishers Weekly
“Beautiful and harrowing…An exquisite double helix, each of its two strands the tale of an unraveling family, curving in tenuous but essential relation to the other.”—Elle
“Stewart O'Nan's heartbreaking and poetic story…is beautifully read by narrator Malcolm Hillgartner in a rich performance that resonates with melancholy and loss. Hillgartner's deep tone is so engaging and earnest it makes the story leap to life inside the listeners' collective imaginations.”—AudioFile
“Hillgartner does a fine reading of this emotionally charges tale…his interpretation of the tension within the various relationships is well expressed.”—KLIATT
“O'Nan weaves together…seemingly disparate small-town tragedies – one narrated in the first person, the other in the third – with consummate skill, seamlessly shifting the focus among characters he wishes to make the reader care about. This winner of the 1993 Pirates Alley William Faulkner Prize for the Novel is recommended for fiction collections.”—Library Journal
About the Author - Stewart O'Nan
Stewart O'Nan's award-winning fiction includes Snow Angels, The Names of the Dead, The Speed Queen, A World Away, A Prayer for the Dying, Everyday People, and the story collection In the Walled City. In 1996, Granta named him one of America's Best Young Novelists. O'Nan lives with his family in Avon, Connecticut.
About the Narrator - Malcolm Hillgartner
Malcolm Hillgartner is an actor, author, songwriter, and playwright. Over the past 30 years, he’s performed in theatres across the U.S. and Europe and, with his wife Jahnna, written more than 100 books for teens and young readers, including the bestselling series, The Jewel Kingdom.