Sunday, 6 September 2015

The Qualities of Wood

Finished August 20
The Qualities of Wood by Mary Vensel White

This novel is set near an unnamed town in the Midwest. The farmhouse where most of the story takes place was the home of Betty Gardiner. After her death, the house was passed down to her children, and her grandson Nowell has just moved into the house with his wife Vivian. Sherman, Nowell's father passed away years before, and his mother Beverley is managing the portion of the house that would have come to him. Nowell is working on his second novel and the couple has agreed to move into the house for a year while he writes and they fix up the house for sale.
Vivian works her way through the accumulated contents, sorting things into piles to keep, sell, donate and throw away. She had stayed on in the city for a while to earn more money to see them through the year and as she arrives the police have found a young woman's body in the woods behind the farm. Nowell's brother Lennie arrives a few days later with his new wife Dot, and the tension between the two brothers grows.
Vivian feels pushed away by Nowell as well as he retreats into his writing, and although she gets along with Dot and has made a friend in a local woman Katherine Wilton, she feels ill at ease. The two neighbours through the woods, bachelor Mr. Stokes and single mom, Kitty Brodie, now grieving her daughter, both have her wary.
With memories of her own lost in the woods experience, Vivian tries to make sense of what is happening, in the woods, in her new home, and in the small town dominated by descendents of the founder William Clement.

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