A dark, riveting, beautifully written book - by "a brilliant novelist", according to Richard Bausch - that combines noir and the gothic in a story about two families entwined in their own unhappiness, with, at its heart, a gruesome and unsolved murder.
Late one winter afternoon in upstate New York, George Clare comes home to find his wife killed and their three-year-old daughter alone - for how many hours? - in her room across the hall. He had recently begrudgingly taken a position at a nearby private college (far too expensive for local kids to attend) teaching art history and moved his family into a tight-knit, impoverished town that has lately been discovered by wealthy outsiders in search of a rural idyll.
George is, of course, 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. And three teenage brothers (orphaned by tragic circumstances) find themselves entangled in this mystery, not least because the Clares had moved into their childhood home, a once-thriving dairy farm. The pall of death is ongoing and relentless; behind one crime there are others, and more than 20 years will pass before a hard kind of justice is finally served.
A rich and complex portrait of a psychopath and a marriage, this is also an astute study of the various taints that can scar very different families and even an entire community. Elizabeth Brundage is an essential talent who has given us a true modern classic.
"Brundage's searing, intricate novel epitomizes the best of the literary thriller, marrying gripping drama with impeccably crafted prose, characterizations, and imagery.... Moving fluidly between viewpoints and time periods, Brundage's complex narrative requires and rewards close attention. Succeeding as murder mystery, ghost tale, family drama, and love story, her novel is both tragic and transcendent." (Publishers Weekly )
"All Things Cease to Appear is a riveting ghost story, psychological thriller, and literary page turner. It's also the story of four women: Ella, Catherine, Justine, and Willis. With masterful skill and brilliant empathy, Brundage brings each of them to vivid and remarkable life. At its heart, this is a story about women's grit and courage, will and intelligence. It's a powerful and beautiful novel." (Kate Christensen)
"At once high art and a spellbinding thriller, this is a book of many wonders, including a character as creepily sinister as any created by Patricia Highsmith." (Beverly Lowry)
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