A Map of the World

A Map of the World

Book - 1994
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From the author of the widely acclaimed The Book of Ruth comes a harrowing, heartbreaking drama about a rural American family and a disastrous event that forever changes their lives.

The Goodwins, Howard, Alice, and their little girls, Emma and Claire, live on a dairy farm in Wisconsin. Although suspiciously regarded by their neighbors as "that hippie couple" because of their well-educated, urban background, Howard and Alice believe they have found a source of emotional strength in the farm, he tending the barn while Alice works as a nurse in the local elementary school.

But their peaceful life is shattered one day when a neighbor's two-year-old daughter drowns in the Goodwins' pond while under Alice's care. Tormented by the accident, Alice descends even further into darkness when she is accused of sexually abusing of a student at the elementary school. Soon, Alice is arrested, incarcerated, and as good as convicted in the eyes of a suspicious community. As a child, Alice designed her own map of the world to find her bearings. Now, as an adult, she must find her way again, through a maze of lies, doubt and ill will.

A vivid human drama of guilt and betrayal, A Map of the World chronicles the intricate geographies of the human heart and all its mysterious, uncharted terrain.nbsp;nbsp;The result is a piercing drama about family bonds and a disappearing rural American life.
Publisher: New York : Anchor Books/Doubleday, c1994
ISBN: 9780385720106
0385720106
Branch Call Number: HAMILTO
Characteristics: 389 p. ; 22 cm

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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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