Laura Kasischkes first novel, SUSPICIOUS RIVER, was hailed as "extremely powerful" (The Los Angeles Times) and "amazing...beautifully written" (The Boston Globe). Now Kasischke follows up her auspicious debut with mesmerizing story of youthful passion and loss of innocence.
When Katrina Connors mother walks out on her family, Kat is surprised but not shocked; the whole year she has been "becoming sixteen" - falling in love with the boy next door, shedding her babyfat, discovering sex - her mother has been slowly withdrawing. As Kat and her impassive father pick up the pieces of their daily lives, she finds herself curiously unaffected by her mothers absence. But in dreams that become too real to ignore, shes haunted by her mothers cries for help. Finally, she must act on her instinct that something violent and evil has occurred - a realization that brings Kat to a chilling discovery.
Like SUSPICIOUS RIVER, which The New Yorker described as "by turns terrifying and ravishingly lyrical," WHITE BIRD BLIZZARD evokes works of Kathryn Harrison and Joyce Carol Oates - and confirms Kasischkes arrival as a major literary talent.
"In January 1986 at the age of 16, Katrina Connors is very much involved with her own life in Garden Heights, Ohio, when her mother simply disappears. One day her mother is there, sarcastic and belittling as always to her husband and daughter, and the next day she is gone. Having a first boyfriend and discovering her own sexuality keeps Katrina well occupied in the wake of her mother's disappearance, and the absence of criticism and negativity is a welcome relief to both Katrina and her father. As the days turn to months and years, however, Katrina's memories and dreams, often nightmares, slowly reveal to her a picture of her parents' unhappy marriage, cold and miserable, one from which escape might seem the only viable pursuit. Prize-winning poet Kasischke's writing is so seductively rich in sensory imagery that reading is pure pleasure, while the increasing tension makes the book impossible to put down. The ending provides a haunting context for the already disturbing and very vivid descriptions of the preceding events. --Grace Fill"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review:
"Four crucial years in a troubled teenager's life are the focus of this eloquently written, suspenseful second novel by the author of the praised Suspicious River. Having grown up in an extraordinarily suffocating atmosphere, 16-year-old Kat Connors greets her mother's disappearance one winter day with stoic calm. Kat is overweight, lives in a cookie-cutter suburb, feels her heavy figure makes her a social outcastand yet has a pivotal adolescent sexual experience. Readers who find similarities between Kat and Delores Price, the heroine of Wally Lamb's She's Come Undone, will also see eerie similarities in Kat's tense relationship with her mother (both mothers have birds as pets, in one case a parakeet, in the other a canary; the girls' fathers hate them; subsequently, both birds are found dead at the bottom of their cages). In both novels, mother and daughter end up sleeping with the same man without the daughter's knowledge. Like Delores, Kat sees a psychiatrist who becomes a father figure to her. Both heroines lose weight and triumph over their traumatic experiences, and each experiences the unexpected death of her mother. Despite these similarities, Kasischke's heroine is a fully rounded, distinctively portrayed charactera self-centered, typically hormone-crazed teenager who painstakingly develops into a self-aware young woman. Kasischke movingly charts her progress into a person, a young lady who learns to trust her instincts and her misgivings about the truth behind her mother's disappearance. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved