Rhonda Johnson
June 10, 1994 AT 04:00 AM EDT

A Map of the World

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Jane Hamilton
publisher
Doubleday
genre
Fiction

We gave it an A+

A Map of the World, the story of a Wisconsin farm family’s spiral into ruin, deserves to be the star of summer-reading lists, combining stunning prose and unforgettable characters with page-turning suspense. Trouble begins on a hot summer morning when Alice Goodwin is distracted by the discovery of a map of the world she had created as a child to cope with her mother’s early death; in those crucial moments, a neighbor’s toddler playing downstairs wanders outside and drowns in a pond. Guilt-racked Alice and her stoical husband Howard take turns narrating their family’s decline as their small community ostracizes them, while the charged atmosphere opens Alice up to accusations of sexual abuse at the school where she is a nurse. Jane Hamilton, author of The Book of Ruth, has written an enthralling tale of guilt, betrayal, and the terrifying ways our lives can spin out of control.A+

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