The World Without You by Joshua Henkin
Henkin, as in Matrimony his first book, is a wonderful writer. Unfortunately, I don’t know ANY of his characters. But more importantly, I don’t WANT to know them. The father is distant, the mother is self-absorbed. Clarissa, who has turned her back on a career as a cellist, is unhappy with her current life and sure a child – HER child, and only HER child - will complete her world. Lily is angry at everyone for unknown and unknowable reasons. Noelle, a wild child to the extreme, has become an orthodox Jew, sure that only blindly following every jot and title of every law will fulfill her. Thisbe, the widow of the only son of the family, valiantly tries to remain normal. Who are these unhappy people? Surely there must be someone Henkin can write about that is at least marginally happy. If there was a happy ending to this book, I could not find it. I was not looking for a saccharine sweet book, I was just hoping for something other than unrelieved unhappiness. I’ll look for another author for my next book.