A bit of book blurb..
Upstate New York, 1980s
The farm stood at the foot of the hill. Around it, an aching emptiness of fields and wind. Within, a weight, a sense of being occupied, with more than its inhabitants. The Clares got it cheap.
George knew why, though he didn't let on- he didn't want to give Catherine any excuses. He'd given her an easy excuse to get married. He wasn't prepared to give away much anymore.
Catherine, at home, with their young daughter, has the feeling they're not alone. She is helped by the Hale boys, young Cole and his brothers, Though they never tell her what happened to their mother there.
All Things Cease to Appear is a beautifully written psychological thriller, which is both complex and complicated, spanning, as it does, over twenty years. The story which gradually unfolds is one of lies and deceit, of sadness and heartbreak, and of the unbearable agony of loss. The intricacy of its plot and story development makes it difficult to say anything about the story without giving too much away as this is one of those stories which should be read without any preconceptions.
Right from the start there's a creepy edginess to the story, which is quite unsettling, and that's what makes reading it so absorbing. Multiple points of view, from narrators who can only be described as unstable, invoke a story which is heartbreakingly sad in places , and yet, so disturbing, that in the light of so many different voices, it becomes progressively more difficult to determine who, if anyone, has an accurate viewpoint. And that’s not a criticism of the book, far from it, it’s merely an observation that you have to keep your wits about you as you read, and don’t be put off by the lack of quotation marks or of the exchange between narrators and timescales, as this, in a way, helps to maintain the book's overall stability. So, just relax and let the story wash over you, and all will be revealed.
There is a quiet confidence to the writing which I found rather refreshing. I liked the way that the characters, frustratingly, both forthright and enigmatic in equal measure, were allowed the space to tell their own version of the story. Some I liked more than others, it was difficult not to fall in love with Catherine and Franny, less easy to like George, or to understand what was going on in several marriages which were both fragile and brittle.
For me All Things Cease to Appear is about the power of the unknown, of people and the essence of what’s left behind when we are gone, it’s about the unexplainable and the suggestible, and it’s also about love and loss in all of its many guises. It was such a compelling read that I got through the first two hundred pages without ever looking up and, believe me ,that interest didn’t diminish until I had read the book to its conclusion in one sitting.
Best Read with …a batch of stained glass cookies and a glass of milk, fresh from the farm
ELIZABETH BRUNDAGE graduated from Hampshire College, attended the NYU film school, was a screenwriting fellow at the American Film Institute in Los Angeles, and received an MFA as well as a James Michener Award from the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop.She lives near Albany in upstate New York.
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My thanks to the publishers and Real Readers for the opportunity to read and review this book.