Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Kim McLarin

I just finished reading Kim McLarin's newest novel Jump at the Sun. There isn't a sentimental moment in it, though the topic is one prone to the worst excesses of squishy thinking, for Jump at the Sun is about mothers and daughters, motherhood, and what,if any, are the boundaries of familial duty.

This is a compelling, unflinching read. And now that I've said that, I'm sure you will never want to pick up the book. And that would be a pity, as it is a darn good read, a real page-turner. But the word "unflinching" I can hear you mutter, this scares me. Yup. Real discusions of what it means to be a mother, those are rare, and they are not all sweetness and light.

What I find so amazing and powerful is that McLarin asks the hardest questions about this subject. And there are no easy answers. That she does this, and comes up with a novel with characters who make me ache for them, that is the mystery of good writing.

The Philadelphia Tribune called Kim McLarin "one of the bravest novelists in recent time." I concur. I've also read her earlier novels: Meeting of the Waters, and Taming It Down and recommend both. She is writer-in-residence at Emerson College in Boston. Her students are lucky, lucky, lucky.

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