An old man Henry looks back at his life,his childhood at the small town of Chatham.It was year 1926 and a beautiful woman Channing joins his school as art teacher.This novel beautifully captures the life of this small town of Chatham,the teacher,her colleagues,Henry's father who happened to be the headmaster of the school in poetic prose as well as maintaining the suspense quotient intact.
This is not an easy novel to read.It do not have the pulse pounding action associated with the thriller genre nor can claim the edge of the seat suspense factor also.But it is compensated by the measured pace studded with lyrical prose,flushing out the characters,putting the readers in emotional turmoil by the tragic event which unfold and then ending with a surprising conclusion which neatly explains the emotional rollercoaster through which various characters in this novel pass through.
This is my first Thomas H Cook and I have to say that I have become a big fan so much that definitely I will look forward to more Cook novels.The powerful impact this novel still had on me is such that the principal tragic character of Elizabeth Channing is still fresh in my mind and refuses to go away. The way Cook has handled various human relationships,the vagaries of love,the rebelous,stubborn teenage mind,conservative and liberal thinking on the part of characters,all these have to be commended.
My Rating: EXCELLENT