“A haunting work of ambition and dimension.”—Meg Wolitzer, author of The Female Persuasion
When a deep-seated memory suddenly surfaces, Elizabeth Burns becomes obsessed with the long-ago disappearance of her childhood friend April Cassidy. Driven to investigate, Elizabeth discovers a thirty-five-year-old newspaper article revealing the details that had been hidden from her as a child—shocking revelations about April's mother, Adele.
Elizabeth, now herself a mother, seeks out anyone who might help piece together the final months, days, and hours of this troubled woman's life, but the answers yield only more questions. And those questions lead back to Elizabeth's own life: her own compromised marriage, her increasing self-doubt and dissatisfaction, and finally, a fearsome reckoning with what it means to be a wife and mother.
How could a mother kill her children? This breathtaking first novel from photojournalist Kogan (Shutterbabe) attempts a heart-wrenching answer. Elizabeth "Lizzie" Burns Steiger, a 41-year-old TV producer/journalist, has a hallucination while watching a performance of Medea at a Manhattan theater; she sees her best friend in first grade, April Cassidy, who was killed by April's depressed mother, Adele, in 1972 in Potomac, Md., along with April's sister. In addition to exploring her memories in therapy, Lizzie interviews the Cassidys' former neighbor and others who knew the family for a proposed cable network documentary, but a priceless Pandora's box tapes of Adele with her psychiatrist provides the most startling revelations. Kogan skillfully interweaves Lizzie's struggles with her troubled marriage, parenting and a personal trauma shared in the Balkans with a former lover in this unflinching portrait of filicide, which still manages to find light in the darkness of a very disturbing subject.