Fragile by Lisa Unger
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
It’s synchronistic that I read “Fragile” just days after I read Michael Koryta’s newest novel, “The Prophet,” because both novels so intricately intertwine family and town. Ms. Unger’s series (the second entry has recently been published, “Darkness, My Old Friend”) is set in a suburb about 100 miles out from New York City, The Hollows, seemingly a quiet, safe, family-friendly community. Like every community, though, this one houses ugliness-domestic violence, childhood abuse, rape, occasional murder, alcoholism, substance abuse, greed and cupidity. Some in The Hollows have worse secrets, including concealment of major crimes, conspiracy, and flagrant violation of positions of authority. No, The Hollows is not Peyton Place, but by the time all the secrets have come to light, the reader is reeling.
At some points in the novel, I simply wanted to take a few of the characters and knock their heads together. Others I wanted to see in prison. Some just seemed to deserve being shouted at: “Tell! Run! Get out!” At no point was I bored or ready to put down the book; instead I was sorry I didn’t finish it in one sitting.
Ms. Unger does quite a special job of revealing slowly, carefully. There’s no blazing denouement, just a progression of truths coming to the foreground, out of the dark and into the light. I can’t wait to start the second in this series.
Read as a Library copy.
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