Pub Date 01 Apr 2013
The Absent Woman is the story of Virginia Johnstone, who, in search of herself, has left her husband, her two young children, and her safe, comfortable, boringly conventional life, and has driven from her Seattle home to a small coastal town where she moves into an old, ramshackle hotel.
The theme of the discontented runaway wife has been put to novelistic use again and again, but The Absent Woman is fresh, original, compelling—a book wonderfully written, clear, deft, specific, while at the same time beautifully poetic, not only in its descriptions of nature, but of small, often overlooked things.
Virginia has an observant eye. The people she meets, some of whom become of great importance to her, are brought to keenest life, as are her thoughts, her fears and hopes in this new milieu. It is a book often painful in her unflinchingly honest self-searchings. It is also very moving, never sentimental, in the deepness and compassion of her feelings. And it is funny as well, given her observant eye and unique dry humor.
It is a novel for all seasons, a novel about life in all its loveliness and anguish, a novel to be remembered.
Ella Leffland, author of Rumours of Peace, Knight, Death, and The Devil, Mrs. Munck, etc.
In Marlene Lee's
psychologically astute debut, THE ABSENT WOMAN, Virginia Johnstone finds
herself straining against the limitations of her existence as a comfortable
suburban wife and mother. She leaves her husband and her boys to embark on a
sometimes exhilarating, sometimes excruciating, and always compelling journey
of self-examination. In lucid prose, Lee tells a marvelous story with
echoes of Kate Chopin's THE AWAKENING.