Landslide by Susan Conley
Published by Knopf Publishing Group
Publication date: February 2, 2021
Genres: Book Clubs, Contemporary, Debut, Fiction, Literary
When you live in northern coast of Maine you accept your husband will very likely be a fisherman and your life will revolve around water. This is the case for Jill, with her family going so far as to live on a small island. For the most part they’ve made it work, even with Kit being gone for months on end and their having two teenage boys. But now a boat explosion has left him in a Canadian hospital with a broken femur. It’s two hours away and he’s facing a long, slow recovery. Jill is left in the delicate space between being a mother and being a wife in Landslide, a debut novel from Susan Conley.
Jill works as a documentary filmmaker, giving her schedule the flexibility needed when Kit is out of town. The balance has worked, but a tragedy in recent years has shifted Jill’s mothering from being equally divided between 17-year-old Charlie and 16-year-old Sam. Two years ago, Sam watched his best friend drown. Since then he has been withdrawn and tentative, tense. As a mother she wants to help, has empathy for what her son must have seen and the helplessness he felt, but he is often unreachable to her. Conley aptly conveys the emotional splintering Jill undergoes as her concerns about her marriage push against the primal pull to help her child.
I’m a fan of diverse reading, but that usually means fiction about people of different nationalities living far out of my realm of experience in places I’ll never go. The landscape of Landslide is recognizable from several perspectives, but because I’m not a parent the effect of the all-consuming nature of motherhood flowed around me without reaching me. Especially as this is so specific—mothering teenage boys as they approach manhood. I thought often of my own mother and my two little brothers (which I’m still allowed to call them despite their each being over 6’ tall and in their 50s) and have asked her to read the book. Landslide was not a novel that resonated with me, but I look forward to what Conley writes next.
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*I received a free copy of this book from Knopf Publishing in exchange for an honest review.*