Karen Valby
July 30, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Broken As Things Are

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Martha Witt
genre
Fiction

We gave it a B

Fifty pages into Broken As Things Are, a reader may feel a little stranded in a dense forest of steamy prose and dark Southern gothic themes. Stay a while. Martha Witt’s debut, about a 14-year-old North Carolina girl and her symbiotic relationship with her disturbed older brother, soon takes a seductive hold, despite its wobbly start. Morgan-Lee and Ginx communicate in made-up words, a private language that isolates them from the rest of their confused family and their sleepy hometown of eccentrics. When Morgan-Lee bends toward a neighborhood boy, Ginx explodes, desperate not to share his one tether to the world. The reward of this intense read is a sister’s thoughtful struggle for a way to love her sibling without losing herself.

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