Rebecca Ascher-Walsh
August 02, 2002 AT 04:00 AM EDT

A Brief History of the Flood

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Jean Harfenist
publisher
Knopf
genre
Fiction

We gave it a B+

Writers never seem to tire of stories about manic-depressive mothers, drunken fathers, and the children caught in the chaos. But few authors do it with the grace and generosity of Harfenist, whose writing is almost dreamlike in its lyricism. Our young narrator, Lillian, lives with her family in a small resort town in Minnesota, aging from childhood into her 20s, accompanied by the usual confounding adventures of sex and family politics. But while her escapades aren’t particularly out of the ordinary, Harfenist’s voice is.

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