Thursday, February 15, 2024

Pg. 69: Suzanne Berne's "The Blue Window"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: The Blue Window: A Novel by Suzanne Berne.

About the book, from the publisher:
From the Orange Prize–winning author of A Crime in the Neighborhood comes a “sharply witty” and “impeccably written” (Star Tribune, Minneapolis) novel featuring a therapist attempting to unlock the most difficult cases of her life—those of her son and of her mother.

Anyone who’s ever had trouble persuading a teenager or an elderly parent to “open up” will recognize Lorna’s dilemma during the three days she finds herself alone in a remote lakeside cottage with her mutely miserable son and her impenetrable mother. Despite her training as a clinical social worker, and her arsenal of therapeutic techniques, she’s resisted at every turn as she tries to understand what’s made the two people most important to her go silent.

Though silence has always marked Lorna’s family. Her father was deaf. Her mother, Marika, abandoned Lorna and her brother when they were children. No explanation was ever offered. Nor why Marika resurfaced eighteen years ago to invite Lorna and her infant son, Adam, to Vermont for a strained reunion. A relationship, of sorts, has followed—an annual Thanksgiving visit, during which Marika sits taciturnly among the guests at Lorna’s table, agreeing only to “be seen to exist.”

But now it’s Adam who won’t talk. Home from college and suffering over something he won’t disclose, he’s so depressed that he refers to himself as “A” for “Anti-Matter.” So, when she’s summoned to Vermont because Marika has had a fall, Lorna sees an opportunity to get Adam out of the house and maybe also a chance to finally connect with her mother. What she never anticipated was that grandson and grandmother would form a bond, and leave her out of it.

How do you care for people you can’t understand, and who don’t want to be understood?

Suspenseful, poignantly funny, and beautifully incisive, The Blue Window explores the ways people misperceive each other, and how secrets and silence, wielded and guarded, exert their power over families—and what luminous, frightening, and tender possibilities might come forth, once those secrets are challenged.
Visit Suzanne Berne's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Blue Window.

--Marshal Zeringue