As lyrical as a sonata, Ayelet Waldman’s follow-up novel to Love and Other Impossible Pursuits explores the aftermath of a family tragedy. Set on the coast of Maine over the course of four summers, Red Hook Road tells the story of two families, the Tetherlys and the Copakens, and of the ways in which their lives are unraveled and stitched together by misfortune, by good intentions and failure, and by love and calamity.
A marriage collapses under the strain of a daughter’s death; two bereaved siblings find comfort in one another; and an adopted young girl breathes new life into her family with her prodigious talent for the violin. As she writes with obvious affection for these unforgettable characters, Ayelet Waldman skillfully interweaves life’s finer pleasures—music and literature—with the more mundane joys of living. Within these resonant pages, a vase filled with wildflowers or a cold beer on a hot summer day serve as constant reminders that it’s often the little things that make life so precious.
Praise for "Red Hook Road"
"There are love stories being told all over this book, and like all great love stories, these are volatile and enduring and bright with astonishment. These characters now take up residence in the city I’ve built out of the books I love. This book made me happy, and happy to be alive. It took me out of my home on the coast of South Carolina, placed me in the town along Red Hook Road, and changed me the way good books always do." —Pat Conroy, author of My Life in Books, The Boo, The Water is Wide, The Great Santini, The Lords of Discipline and The Prince of Tides
"A thoroughly gripping and elegantly written story about love, grief, friendship, and the unexpected ways in which disaster brings families together. The novel is chockfull of revelations and insights on how people both unravel and manage to find grace under strain." —Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns
"This beautiful novel shows us how families cope with the most painful kinds of loss and reminds us that even as grief fractures, it can pave the way for unexpected grace." —Ann Packer, author of The Dive from Clausen’s Pier
"Every day, families are shoved into new realities. Red Hook Road is a masterful imagining of the way a single tragic event impacts the psyches and behaviors and dynamics of two families. Waldman's writing is elegant and riveting." —Kelly Corrigan, author of The Middle Place
Reviews of "Red Hook Road"
"18 Books We Can't Wait to Read This Summer" —Tina Jordan, Entertainment Weekly, April 16, 2010
"In Red Hook Road, [Ayelet] has created a moving story about two very different families dealing in their own ways with the worst possible tragedy any family can experience. That people are capable of suffering through intolerable grief to reach a point where they can re-embrace their lives, without ever relinquishing their memories of what has been lost, is the message of this wise and beautifully written book." —Agnes Bushell, Downeast.com, July 2010 (Read the full review: "A Tale of Two Families")
"With the careful attention of a movie director, Ayelet Waldman renders a panoramic scene of a wedding in the preface to her newest novel, "Red Hook Road." As a photographer tries to assemble everyone for a family photo, we see everything that the camera could not capture: The flower girl tearfully looking for her basket, the groom's father behind the church smoking a cigarette and hung-over young guests. This is our introduction to the as-yet-unnamed cast of characters in Red Hook, a picturesque seacoast town in Maine." —Clara Silverstein, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, July 11, 2010 (Read the full review: "Coping: How tragedy forced two families to carry on")