Monday, March 7, 2016
All Things Cease to Appear - A Whole New Level of Confusion!
AUTHOR: Elizabeth Brundage
PUBLISHING DATE: March, 8, 2016
FROM GOODREADS: Late one winter afternoon in upstate New York, George Clare comes home to find his wife murdered and their three-year-old daughter alone--for how many hours?--in her room down the hall. He had recently, begrudgingly, taken a position at the private college nearby teaching art history, and moved his family into this tight-knit, impoverished town. And he is the immediate suspect--the question of his guilt echoing in a story shot through with secrets both personal and professional. While his parents rescue him from suspicion, a persistent cop is stymied at every turn in proving Clare a heartless murderer. The pall of death is ongoing, and relentless; behind one crime are others, and more than twenty years will pass before a hard kind of justice is finally served. At once a classic "who-dun-it" that morphs into a "why-and-how-dun-it," this is also a rich and complex portrait of a psychopath and a marriage, and an astute study of the various taints that can scar very different families, and even an entire community.
I found myself struggling to complete this book which is never a good sign. Even now, I have extremely mixed feelings about it. George and Catherine Clare move to a small farming town in Upper State New York with their three year old daughter, Frannie. The reader knows something happened to prompt the move, but really doesn't find out until at least 300 pages in what exactly caused it. One evening, George returns home from work to find Catherine dead in bed with an ax in her head, and Frannie home alone, stating "Mommy is sick." The books then backtracks before finally moving forward and spans at least 25 years.
I really did enjoy the plot of "All Things Cease to Appear." I honestly wanted to know what happened to Catherine and that is probably the driving force that kept me reading. In addition, the reader is provided a lot of insight into this small town and early on learns that Catherine is not the first death in this rundown farm house. One could even say the farm house is its own character in the book and an important one to boot. I would further add that Catherine's murder isn't even the real tragedy in the book as several come to light the deeper the story goes.
The main thing that made this a difficult read is Brundage's writing style. I am not sure why she twisted the English language the way she did unless she is trying to send the message that the whole tale is one of mass confusion, because at times, that's what I felt reading it. She does not use quotation marks when indicating conversation and the chapters and parts in the books jump around so much that I had to really concentrate to figure out who I was reading about and who was telling that part of the story. In addition, there were quite a few unlikable characters and I found it hard to root for any of them other than the Hale boys and Frannie.
As I mentioned, there is a good plot hiding within the pages of "All Things Cease to Appear." I believe any mystery lover would be at least moderately entertained by the tale. And while deep down in my heart I always knew who killed Catherine, Brundage kept providing alternative possibilities throughout the first two thirds of the book. I won't say this is the next "Gone Girl" or "Girl on a Train" but I am sure there are many who will provide such comparisons. I think all novels should stand on their own. I don't think the book warrants 2 paws, but I do find it hard to actually go with 3 because the writing style bugged me that much.
I received this book from Penguin's First to Read program in exchange for an honest review.
RATING: 3 PAWS