Friday, July 14, 2017

The crossing, by Andrew Miller

In the beginning, Tim is infatuated by the enigmatic Maud, a classmate and fellow member of the university sailing club.  Seeing her fall from the deck of the dry docked boat they are working on seals his fate.  Caring for the injured young woman leads to their moving in together and then becoming the parents of Zoe.  Tim is from a moneyed family, musical, and somewhat unambitious, so he stays home with their daughter, while Maud, now a research scientist, works long engrossing hours.  Some see her as a brilliant introvert, others as odd and cold – the latter opinion is held by Tim’s parents, and ultimately Tim.  In the first half of this short novel, we see things primarily from Tim’s viewpoint.  Then when Zoe enters school, tragedy strikes.  Both parents are stunned.  Tim casts his fate with the neighbor, Bella, with whom he has had an ongoing affair for some time.  Maud heads to the Lodestar, the sailing boat they have jointly bought and restored, and then off to sea from England and across the Atlantic.  The second half of the book is her voyage and its aftermath – or perhaps a new beginning for Maud.  The writing is excellent and the character of Maud will haunt you, but I’ve not been quite as surprised, in an annoyed way, by the ending of a plotline since Geraldine Brooks A Year of Wonder, a terrific book about the Black Death in England, which in the final chapter transports the main character into a Turkish harem and dumps her there.  Still trying to figure this book out – what became of Maud and what actually happened in the tragedy that sets the second half in motion.  It’s compelling reading and unique. [another annoyance is the number of spellcheck type wrong words -- are there no editors anymore?] 316 pp.

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