From The Washington Post:
Headlines give us the general outline of the complicated choices women face today and of a range of abuses that have become increasingly routine. But a new batch of summer novels adds texture and context to these reports of troubled lives. These aren’t made-for-TV movies in print. They’re chilling explorations of psychic distress with a clear message: Times are not easy. A new range of pressures puts women and girls at risk. Reading these literary dispatches is no picnic. But there are substantial pleasures in the artful ways these authors tell it like it is for too many young women.
HOW FAR IS THE OCEAN FROM HEREBy Amy Shearn Shaye Areheart. 305 pp. $23
Amy Shearn’s idiosyncratic narrator and the damaged children she befriends anchor this tantalizing novel about a surrogate mother who has second thoughts just weeks before her due date. At eight months pregnant, Susannah Prue takes off from Chicago heading for the Pacific Ocean. After four days, her car breaks down, forcing her to pull into the seedy Thunder Lodge motel. The child’s expectant parents panic when she doesn’t return calls, but she’s off the radar.