Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Back Bay Books; Reprint edition (April 12 2010)
Early one summer morning, Matthew Bishop kisses his still-sleeping wife Marissa, gets dressed and eases his truck through Milwaukee, bound for the highway. His wife, pregnant with their first child, has asked him to find the antique cradle taken years before by her mother Caroline when she abandoned Marissa, never to contact her daughter again. Soon to be a mother herself, Marissa now dreams of nothing else but bringing her baby home to the cradle she herself slept in. His wife does not know-does not want to know-where her mother lives, but Matt has an address for Caroline's sister near by and with any luck, he will be home in time for dinner.
Only as Matt tries to track down his wife's mother, he discovers that Caroline, upon leaving Marissa, has led a life increasingly plagued by impulse and irrationality, a mysterious life that grows more inexplicable with each new lead Matt gains, and door he enters. As hours turn into days and Caroline's trail takes Matt from Wisconsin to Minnesota, Illinois, and beyond in search of the cradle, Matt makes a discovery that will forever change Marissa's life, and faces a decision that will challenge everything he has ever known.
Elegant and astonishing, Patrick Somerville tells the story of one man's journey into the heart of marriage, parenthood, and what it means to be a family. Confirming the arrival of an exuberantly talented new writer, THE CRADLE is an uniquely imaginative debut novel that radiates with wisdom and wonder.
For more information, visit the author's website at www.patricksomerville.com
Matt and Marissa are expecting their first child, and Marissa begs Matt to locate the antique cradle that she had used as a baby herself. This begins a bizarre string of events in a cross country search to find the family heirloom.
There is a second story within a story, that of Renee and Bill, whose young son has just enlisted in the army and has shipped out to Iraq. Renee has some unresolved issues from her past, and at over fifty years of age, she is finally ready to face these issues and be honest with her family.
At first, it was hard to figure out how these totally unrelated stories could finally connect, but the author masterfully intertwines the lives of the characters, and sums it up with an unforgettable tale of forgiveness, second chances and new beginnings.
The importance and strength of family connections, in spite of our failures, is the message that rings loud and clear throughout this entire book. I highly recommend this book for anyone who likes to escape into a feel good story that includes lots of deep subjects ... and it is a perfect book for discussion in a reading group or book club.
Disclosure: I received this book from Hachette Books as a a blog giveaway win at Reading at the Beach. I was not required or compensated in any way to post my comments.