On her way to a desperate assignation, an unhappy wife and mother is stopped in her tracks by a miracle: a mountain ablaze with color and motion, a fire without heat or sound. “Unearthly beauty had appeared to her, a vision of glory to stop her in the road.” Dellarobia thinks that “the burning trees were put here to save her.”
To help us understand ourselves, every age needs its Huckleberry Finn, a naive boy on the lam, harmed or abandoned by his parents and left to confront evil and to figure out life for himself. Though it may be impossible to equal Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Richard Ford’s novel is another masterpiece of the genre.
These days it’s a rare novel that addresses disturbing social issues without flinching and treats religious faith as a force for good, without denying the complexity of either. That combination makes Rachel Simon’s book, newly available in paperback, a pleasure to read and a fine choice for book clubs.