28 June 2012

A well told story with many layers

I recently finished reading Luanne Rice's newest offering, Little Night: A Novel. This books takes a compelling look at the effects of spousal abuse on family dynamics. An author can go several ways with this type of a story, and I thought this one did a good job of telling a harrowing tale without making the book overly dark. Anne and Clare grew up with an overbearing father and as that often does, it brought them close together. Until Anne made the mistake that many women growing up in those circumstances do. She married a controlling and abusive man. Unlike many books on this subject, this book does not tell the tale from the perspective of the abused wife, but rather from the perspective of other affected family members and friends. It focuses its energy on the feelings and effects that the abuse has on Anne's daughter, Grit, and Anne's sister, Clare. It is through their eyes that we catch a glimpse of the widening circle of affect that such abuse has. I felt that the characters in this book were well developed and true to the roles that they portrayed. In addition, the layers created by the author's inclusion of other stories, like Clare's search for the elusive laughing owl, or Grits need to wear her story on her body, as well as the inclusion of some Norse mythology made this an altogether enjoyable read with both depth and feeling.