The Fragile World
From the author of stunning debut The Mourning Hours comes a powerful new novel that explores every parent's worst nightmare…
The Kaufmans have always considered themselves a normal, happy family. Curtis is a physics teacher at a local high school. His wife, Kathleen, restores furniture for upscale boutiques. Daniel is away at college on a prestigious music scholarship, and twelve-year-old Olivia is a happy-go-lucky kid whose biggest concern is passing her next math test.
And then comes the middle-of-the-night phone call that changes everything. Daniel has been killed in what the police are calling a "freak" road accident, and the remaining Kaufmans are left to flounder in their grief.
The anguish of Daniel's death is isolating, and it's not long before this once-perfect family finds itself falling apart. As time passes and the wound refuses to heal, Curtis becomes obsessed with the idea of revenge, a growing mania that leads him to pack up his life and his anxious teenage daughter and set out on a collision course to right a wrong.
An emotionally charged novel, The Fragile World is a journey through America's heartland and a family's brightest and darkest moments, exploring the devastating pain of losing a child and the beauty of finding the way back to hope.
"Heart-stopping. A gripping read that delivers a beautiful reminder of the resilience of love." —Karen Brown, author of The Longings of Wayward Girls
DeBoard's second novel (after The Mourning Hours) explores revenge and redemption through the eyes of a grieving family. Daniel Kaufman musical prodigy, honor student, and all-around nice guy is killed in an apparent hit-and-run collision shortly after he begins his freshman year at Oberlin. Five years later, the Kaufman family has completely fallen apart. Daniel's father, Curtis, can't shake his obsession with the man responsible for Daniel's death; mother Kathleen has deserted the family and moved from Sacramento to Omaha; and anxious younger sister Olivia keeps meticulous track of every irrational fear that crosses her mind. Shortly after learning that Daniel's killer has been released from prison, Curtis has a breakdown, and he and Olivia pack up the car and hit the road for what she thinks is an impromptu father daughter road trip. But Curtis has an ulterior motive he thinks he's figured out what will finally set things right for the Kaufmans. Although the highway is dotted with stock characters and routine plot twists (naturally, the car's transmission breaks down in the middle of nowhere), DeBoard deftly navigates a complicated father-daughter relationship through alternating first-person narratives. Tension builds as Curtis inches ever closer to his perceived destiny; readers will be guessing until the last page.