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Dwelling Places

In this affecting, if overlong, novel, Mack and Jodie Barnes, descended from generations of Iowa farmers, become rudderless when Mack is hospitalized for depression. Their 17-year-old son has gone Goth, while their 14-year-old daughter embraces Christian fundamentalism. Loss is an unseen resident — Mack’s father died in a tractor accident and his brother drank himself to death. The novel poses one of humanity’s thorniest questions: Where is God in all this suffering? Although Dwelling Places is diluted by too many domestic details, Vinita Hampton Wright’s take on contemporary faith is both provocative and sage.

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