From the acclaimed author of Waiting to Surface comes a “searing” (Publishers Weekly) and emotionally powerful novel about a family and a community torn apart after an unthinkable tragedy.
In a suburb near Albany, New York, Ted and Ann Waring are waiting for divorce papers. Ted is hoping for reconciliation, but when he returns from a hunting trip with the couple’s two adolescent daughters, he loses his temper one last time, shooting and killing Ann in their living room. He claims it was an accident, but his thirteen-year-old daughter, Julia—the only witness—is sure it was murder. The younger girl, Ali, doesn’t know which way to turn. And when Julia testifies against her father, she sets into motion a struggle that pits family, friends, and townspeople against one another.
As the many layers of truth unfold in this “chilling meditation on the so-called acts of love” (The New York Times) Emily Listfield’s lean and subtle prose reveals the ways in which the emotions and evasions of the past reverberate uncontrollably into the present.
In Listfield's ( It Was Gonna Be Like Paris ) searing fourth novel, the author leaves her familiar urban settings for rural upstate New York, where a family's troubles explode in murder. Ted Waring shoots his wife, Ann, in the midst of a bitter argument witnessed by their daughters Julia, 13, and Ali, 11. Ted claims the death was accidental, but Julia insists she saw her father aim the gun. In search of the truth, the narrative follows Ted's ensuing murder trial while examining the couple's marriage through nicely integrated flashbacks. Although Ann emerges as the most sympathetic member of a cast of damaged, floundering characters, it is Ted, who exhibits several hateful characteristics as he fights for his freedom and his family, who occupies the center of the book. A sordid twist involving Ann's younger sister decides Ted's fate, but the question of his innocence disappears in a tangle of complicated, often ugly relationships. Listfield's prose is clear and fluid as she tells this grim, edgy tale in which homicide is not always the worst crime committed in the name of love.