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Featherstoneby Kirsty Gunn
Synopses & Reviews
Kirsty Gunns first novel, Rain, was praised by the New York Times as exquisitely written . . . every page expresses familiar feelings in ways that are unsentimental and entirely original”; spellbinding,” raved the Boston Globe. That same resonant magnetism and emotional depth infuse her new novel. Featherstone is the story of the mysterious disappearance from an isolated town in Scotland of a young woman whose absence still reverberates in the lives of everyone whose life she touched.
When Sonny Johanssen looks up from his flower bed, he is sure that he has just seen the impossible. And yet he feels her: his niece, Francie, has come home. Hes not the only one who senses her presence. Across town, Ray Weldon, Francies long-suffering high school sweetheart, is anxiously scouring their old haunts, convinced that she has finally returned. But has she really come home, or is her presence some kind of resurrection in the minds of those who love her?
It soon becomes clear that Featherstone is not a traditional tale of small-town life, but that the enigmatic Francie is a catalyst for a different, deeper story. Her homecoming disturbs the inhabitants of this community, unraveling a sense of security and stability and turning inward peoples hopes and dreams — with dangerous but ultimately regenerative consequences.
"Gunn's novel is a sensitive, enigmatic read that on occasion rumbles the bones." San Francisco Chronicle
"[A]morphous and depressing...told in an oblique style that generates much heat but little light....Featherstone is a good place to keep away from. A mangled plot and leaden prose sink a tale that begins well in a quasi-Gothic mode but then becomes pretentious and unintelligible." Kirkus Reviews
"[M]ysterious and elegant....This is more than a story about the confines of small-town life. With virtuosic prose, Gunn draws a complex study of grief, longing and the compassion that both grounds people to their birthplace and allows them to stray." Susan Tekulve, Book Magazine
"[G]loomy and amorphous....Gunn expends more energy on her drifting, oblique, fitfully lyrical prose than on her characters, who seem to be pushing their way through a narrative fog....[T]he stagnation of the plot, the portentous subject matter and the overstylized language swallow up the story's small felicities." Publishers Weekly
Kirsty Gunn's spellbinding third novel is a portrait of the small town of Featherstone and the interior lives of its inhabitants. Over the course of one weekend, years after the beautiful and spirited Francie Johanssen fled town, rumors of her return stir memories that threaten to disrupt the community.
Gunn reveals how Francie's absence continues to shape the subconscious longings, hopes, and dreams of those she left behind, including Margaret, the local hotel's promiscuous bartender; Mary Susan, a troubled and rebellious teenager who wants to get out of town as soon as she can; Francie's elderly uncle Sonny; Harland, the faithless minister; and Kate, his despondent wife. Affected most of all, perhaps, is Ray, Francie's old high school boyfriend who has never been able to let go of her. As tension mounts in Featherstone, Gunn elegantly crafts a story that is "richly layered and rewarding" (Scotland on Sunday).
Gunn's first novel, "Rain, " was praised by the "New York Times" as "exquisitely written, unsentimental and entirely original." That same magnetism and emotional depth infuse her new novel, the story of a young woman's disappearance from a town in Scotland whose absence still reverberates in the lives of everyone whose life she touched.
About the Author
Kirsty Gunn was born in New Zealand and is the author of the critically acclaimed novels Rain, recently made into a feature film, and The Keepsake, as well as the story collection The Place You Return to Is Home. Her books have been published in nine languages. She lives in Scotland with her husband and two daughters.
Table of Contents
Contents Friday, early evening 1 Later, that same night 63 Saturday 111 Sunday, very early morning 243
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