A Map of the World

A Map of the World

Book - 1994
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Baker & Taylor
While under the care of Alice Goodwin, a neighbor's child drowns in the Goodwins' pond, a devastating accident that has profound repercussions for the entire Goodwin family, in a story set in a small Midwestern farm town

Blackwell North Amer
In the tradition of The Good Mother by Sue Miller and Before and After by Rosellen Brown, A Map of the World is the riveting story of how a single mistake can forever change the lives of everyone involved - in ways that are beyond imagination.
One unremarkable June morning, Alice Goodwin is, as usual, trying to keep in check both her temper and her tendency to blame herself for her family's shortcomings. Six years ago, when the Goodwins took over the last dairy farm in the small Midwestern town of Prairie Center, they envisioned their home as a self-made paradise. But these days, as Alice is all too aware, her elder daughter Emma is prone to inexplicable fits of rage, her husband Howard distrusts her maternal competence, and Prairie Center's tight-knit suburban community shows no signs of warming to "those hippies who think they can run a farm." A loner by nature, Alice is torn between a yearning for solitude coupled with a deep need to be at the center of a perfect family.
On this particular day, Emma has started the morning with a violent tantrum, her little sister Claire is eating pennies, and it is Alice's turn to watch her neighbor's two small girls as well as her own children. She absentmindedly steals a minute alone that turns into ten: time enough for a devastating accident to occur. Her neighbor's daughter Lizzie drowns in the farm's pond, and Alice - whose volatility and unmasked directness keep her on the outskirts of acceptance - becomes the perfect scapegoat. At the same time, a seemingly trivial incident from Alice's past resurfaces and takes on gigantic proportions, leading the Goodwins far from Lizzie's death into a maze of guilt and doubt culminating in a harrowing court trial and the family's shattering downfall.

Baker
& Taylor

While under the care of Alice Goodwin, a neighbor's child drowns in the Goodwins' pond, a devastating accident that has profound repercussions for the entire Goodwin family, in a story set in a small Midwestern farm town. 25,000 first printing. $25,000 ad/promo. Tour.

Publisher: New York ; Toronto : Doubleday, c1994
ISBN: 9780385473101
0385473109
Branch Call Number: FIC Hamil
Characteristics: 389 p. : ill

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WVMLStaffPicks Dec 30, 2014

This is a serious novel that tackles issues such as the death of a child, motherhood, relationships and forgiveness. Jane Hamilton's calm and lucid writing, and her sympathetic characters, make what might have been a disturbing book highly readable. I was reminded of Jane Smiley's A Thousand Acres.

c
carol554
Apr 29, 2011

A totally satisfying read

n
novelhistorian
Jan 20, 2011

Beautifully written, marvelously observed gripping story, but horribly off nevertheless. The protagonist runs away from even the whiff of confrontation or difficulty and can't manage to concentrate on or listen to the simplest, most direct pleas for help. Why is this sympathetic rather than merely trying? How has her husband, who, admittedly, can't talk to her, betrayed her by "judging her with his silences"? All right, he doesn't know how to reach her, which feels cruel. But it seems to me that her incompetence, manic style, and utter forgetfulness of others' needs are a greater betrayal, especially since they lead to a child's death. And when this woman is unjustly tried for child abuse and viciously ostracized, the pair of them actually detest her lawyer for defending her too vigorously. He, the lawyer, is made out to be the villain, when he's the one who saves her from jail and the possibility that her children might grow up without her. This author writes brilliantly, but where is her moral compass in this tale of modern morals?

j
jb7906
Sep 08, 2009

Not cheerful, but engrossing & couldn't put it down! Memorable.

SynergySeeker Nov 05, 2007

This book is about a family and how they cope with the tragic drowning of a friend's daughter in their pond. Definitely not a cheerful light read.

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SynergySeeker Oct 02, 2007

SynergySeeker thinks this title is suitable for 25 years and over

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