Book summary: Famous Questions


The latest from the gently profound Howe (The Deep North; The White Slave, etc.): a California dream of a novel, a classic love triangle, colorized with New Age hues. Roisin (pronounced Ro-sheen), a Korean-Irish-American woman and her longtime lover, Kosta, have recently moved from Boston to California, along with Kosta's mother and Roisin's son from her earlier marriage. One day on a street corner, Roisin and Kosta spot a barefoot young woman with a halo of reddish-gold hair and, on impulse, they invite her to their house--and, inevitably, into their lives. The woman, who calls herself Echo, claims to have the gift of healing--she works with herbs and massage--but it becomes readily apparent that she has a gift for wounding as well. Her relationship with Kosta quickly settles into something deeply emotional and strangely erotic--Echo is still a technical virgin--that disrupts the entire household. Meanwhile, there's a strong fantasy element here, abetted by the very premise of Roisin and Kosta's California life. ""We discovered one day that a piece of jewelry I was wearing was worth ten grand,"" Roisin tells Echo. So, after donating a portion of their new wealth to their church, they packed up and left Boston, moving to their rented California house, complete with swimming pool and view of the Pacific. All this for ten grand? Now, there's a fantasy. Still, the changes that this very 80's version of a family has to go through are real indeed--they're issues of life and death, love and loss. There are some good, raging storms of the soul in this book, but, all in all, too many rainbows.

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