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A Map of the Worldby Jane Hamilton
Synopses & Reviews
From the author of the widely acclaimed The Book of Ruth comes a harrowing, heartbreaking drama about a rural American family and a disastrous event that forever changes their lives.
The Goodwins, Howard, Alice, and their little girls, Emma and Claire, live on a dairy farm in Wisconsin. Although suspiciously regarded by their neighbors as "that hippie couple" because of their well-educated, urban background, Howard and Alice believe they have found a source of emotional strength in the farm, he tending the barn while Alice works as a nurse in the local elementary school.
But their peaceful life is shattered one day when a neighbor's two-year-old daughter drowns in the Goodwins' pond while under Alice's care. Tormented by the accident, Alice descends even further into darkness when she is accused of sexually abusing of a student at the elementary school. Soon, Alice is arrested, incarcerated, and as good as convicted in the eyes of a suspicious community. As a child, Alice designed her own map of the world to find her bearings. Now, as an adult, she must find her way again, through a maze of lies, doubt and ill will.
A vivid human drama of guilt and betrayal, A Map of the World chronicles the intricate geographies of the human heart and all its mysterious, uncharted terrain. The result is a piercing drama about family bonds and a disappearing rural American life.
"Hamilton's chillingly accurate prose keeps her fine novel buoyant. She is superb in her observation of the natural world and in her examination of psychological nuance." Washington Post
"Jane Hamilton has removed all doubts that she belongs among the major writers of our time." San Francisco Chronicle
"Stunning prose and unforgettable characters...an enthralling tale of guilt, betrayal, and the terrifying ways our lives can spin out of control." Entertainment Weekly
"It takes a writer of rare power and discipline to carry off an achievement like A Map of the World. Hamilton proves here that she is one of the best." Newsweek
"Ms. Hamilton has done a nimble job of showing us how precarious the illusion of safety and security really is." The New York Times
About the Author
Jane Hamilton lives, works, and writes in an orchard farmhouse in Wisconsin. Her short stories have appeared in Harper's Magazine, and her first book, The Book of Ruth, was awarded the 1989 PENHemingway Foundation Award for best first novel. Seven years after its publication, The Book of Ruth was chosen for the Oprah Book Club, giving it a second life. In 1994 Hamilton published A Map of the World which became an international best seller, and in 1998, The Short History of a Prince, which won the Heartland Prize for Fiction, and was shortlisted for Britain's Orange Prize.
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