In Susan Conley’s latest novel, Landslide, we meet Jill, wife of a fisherman and mother of two teenage boys (or wolves, as Jill refers to them). After a fishing accident leaves her husband injured and hospitalized in Canada, Jill must go it alone with her sons in their small fishing village in Maine. It’s no easy task—seventeen-year-old Charlie is preoccupied with a new girlfriend, and Sam, sixteen, is still reeling from a personal loss, acting out and becoming someone Jill struggles to understand. She tries to mother her boys and support her husband, all while battling doubts about her marriage and the stark realities of what it means to live in an isolated town whose existence is tied to a vanishing way of life.
Told in spare, poignant, often humorous prose, Landslide is an exploration of motherhood, family, marriage, and the detrimental pressures we put on boys and men to suffer their griefs alone in silence. This novel looks at how the place we are raised—or the place we end up—shapes us into the people we become, for better or worse. Conley also brings awareness to Maine’s dying fishing industry, a theme readers in our community will no doubt recognize and find all too familiar.
Review by Shannon Bowring, Technical Services Coordinator.
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