Friday, March 20, 2009

Night Navigation

This is a first novel by Ginnah Howard. I reviewed it for the publisher. It will be published April 14, 2009 by Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt. It is described by the editor as "A fugue in two voices, Del, a 62 year old mother, and Mark, her 37 year old son."

Night Navigation is a powerful novel from an accomplished first novelist. Writing in the alternating voices of the mother, Del, and her 32 year old son Mark, Howard adds to reader involvement. I was pulled into the skillfully drawn maternal co-dependency, which is part of most mother/child relationships. The author’s writing style of short, choppy sentences in the Mark sections echoes his manic mind state.
Though this at first seems a dark novel, there are instances of humor which lighten the drama and make the characters and situations real. Her use of imagery, the careful filling of the coffee pot, the struggle with the bats, Mark’s paranoia about crows, all rise to symbolic significance and add depth to the novel.
I thoroughly enjoyed Night Navigation, and am looking forward to the author’s second novel.

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