Wednesday, January 27, 2010
It is obvious that novelist Laura Kasischke is also a poet. The writing in her new novel, In a Perfect World, is simply luminous. Here's the story: Jiselle, a beautiful, 30something flight attendant who has never married, is courted by handsome pilot Mark Dorn. After a brief and magical romance, with travel to numerous exotic locales, they wed. Jiselle leaves her career to stay home with Mark's three children. This is a sticky situation to be in under normal circumstances--teenage girls and a young boy still mourning their mother and resentful of the newcomer in their lives. But to make matters even more difficult, a flu pandemic spreads across the world, isolating Jiselle and the children in their community, while Mark is held in quarantine across the ocean. This story is a wonderful blending of an apocalyptic sort of plot, and a good character novel that really looks at how these people deal with each other and with the multiple crises affecting them. In the end, Jiselle and her stepchildren rise to the occasion and become a new and much stronger family, with a few surprises along the way.