Synopses & Reviews
Vibrant, sexy, and quite possibly crazy, Bernice is determined to reclaim the child she gave up for adoption five years ago. She convinces her boyfriend, Landis, to help carry out her plan, but once the abduction is accomplished, Bernice--whose own mother was given to manic episodes and strange behavior--is plagued with doubts. Will Landis stay with her, given her volatile personality and his own drifter past? Will she and Landis both end up in jail for this crime? And, perhaps most importantly, will she fail at being a mother? Dovetailed with this is the story of the conservative Christian adoptive parents, Tessa and David, and the effect the kidnapping has on their troubled marriage. As Bernice and Landis journey across America, from Colorado Springs to Tucson to Baltimore, Bernice must confront her past and the secrets she has kept.
"In his incisive latest, Becker (2008 Flannery O'Conner Prize winner for Black Elvis) recounts the misadventures of Bernice Click, a volatile young woman determined to raise the biological daughter she gave up for adoption. With the help of her boyfriend, Bernice kidnaps five-year-old Emily from her adoptive parents in Colorado and ends up in Baltimore, where she attempts to make a new life for herself and the girl. Meanwhile, Tessa Harding, Emily's adoptive mother, tries to recover Emily without involving authorities. Struggling with the revelation of her husband's indifference to the child, not to mention his adultery and increasingly sadistic behavior, Tessa embarks on a riveting adventure. The novel relies on a far-fetched coincidence to launch Tessa's mission, but resulting scenes are sufficiently tense and thought provoking to justify the stretch, while Becker's portrayal of Tessa's faith is moving and psychologically complex. As desperation mounts on all sides, Becker piles on devastating events, creating a remarkably taut narrative and a rousing testament to humanity's capacity for resilience. Nobody gets off the hook, though they do find uneasy deliverance in unexpected places." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Compelling and darkly comic, Hot Springs is the road-trip love story about a young woman who gave up her child for adoption and her quest, five years later, to steal the child back.
About the Author
Geoffrey Becker's book of stories Black Elvis won the 2008 Flannery O'ConnorPrize for Fiction and will be published by the University of Georgia Press in the fall of 2009. He is the author of two previous books, Dangerous Men, a short story collection that won the Drue Heinz Prize, and Bluestown, a novel. His other awards and honors include an NEA fellowship, selection for the Best American Short Stories anthology, the Nelson Algren Award from the Chicago Tribune, and the Parthenon Prize. He teaches writing at Towson University in Maryland, where he also directs the graduate program in professional writing.