Morrow uses a woman's search to find her father as a vehicle to explore the dual legacies of Los Alamos and Vietnam in his latest, a powerful, multilayered novel in which he revisits a character from Trinity Fields, Kip Calder, who becomes the holy grail of a quest by his daughter, Ariel Rankin. As the novel opens, Rankin is leading a comfortable life as an assistant editor for a Manhattan publisher, but things gets turned upside down in a hurry by a surprise pregnancy, along with the revelation that Brice McCarthy (who also appeared in Trinity Fields) is not her real father. Most of the novel involves Rankin's search for Calder, who survives a bout with illness and a down-and-out stretch when he is taken in by the Montoya family in the remote desert of New Mexico. Rankin's search is complicated by Calder's erratic wanderings, which culminate in an effort to help Delfino Montoya, who worked on the Manhattan Project, recover the ranch that was seized by the government during the military effort. The first half of the novel is near-brilliant, as Morrow sets up a tightly woven network of strong, intriguing characters while crafting evocative chapters about the tumultuous effect of political events on the lives of his protagonists. The novel fades down the stretch, mostly due to overcomplicated subplots, including one involving Rankin and her love interest, Marcos Montoya, while a final confrontation with the government on the ranch is drawn out and labored. These problems aside, this is yet another outstanding, thought-provoking novel from one of America's major literary voices as he continues to explore the issues that made Trinity Fields so compelling and memorable. (May) Forecast: The sequel elements of this novel may help boost sales. Morrow's track record ensures a solid base audience. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Though Morrow begins his novel with a historically and geographically significant conceit that of the ghost of Do$a Francisca de Pe$a, whose story offers us a violent, almost biblical introduction to the land around Chimayo , NM he soon runs headlong into the present and a group of bumbling characters who are considerably less convincing. The intricate plot and subplots coalesce around protagonist Ariel's long search for her father, Kip, who went to fight in Vietnam and disappeared in Laos before her birth. The action starts when, out of the blue, a minor character tells Ariel that she knows "a man who'd be very happy to meet" her. Ariel heads to Chimayo , missing her father only by chance because he has decided, not very convincingly, to martyr himself to a hopeless cause. Unfortunately, Morrow does not capitalize on these ironies or the potential for poignancy here. Instead, the shallow characters and silly plots are submerged by melodrama not unlike that of the daytime soap operas a real surprise from Morrow, founding editor of Conjunctions and author of four previous novels, including The Almanac Branch. Lyle D. Rosdahl, San Antonio P.L., TX Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
"A panoramic view of postwar American obsessions, paranoias, and
"Morrow's writing sparkles. . . . [A] masterful, poignant novel."
"Near brilliant. . . . Another outstanding, thought-provoking novel from one of America's major literary voices as he continues to explore the issues that made Trinity Fields so compelling and memorable."
"A panoramic view of postwar American obsessions, paranoias, and moral problems." ("The New York Times Book Review") Morrow's writing sparkles.... [A] masterful, poignant novel. ("Boston Herald")