Wednesday, March 05, 2008
I first caught a glimpse of this arc at ALA in Philadelphia. I found the cover intriguing, so I tossed it into one of my bags. Then, while attending the last Random House preview, Madapple was on the list of books being discussed. After hearing the editors speak about it, I knew I had to move it to the top of my "To Read" pile. I read it a couple of weeks ago, and have been wondering how to go about blogging this title. There is so much going on here, and yet it all works!
Aslaug has been living with her mother in Hartswell Maine in virtual isolation. Their household consists of the two of them, and they spend their days gathering local plants, and studying ancient texts, languages and lore. Whenever Aslaug has asked about her father, she is told she has none. And her mother's temper has taught her not to ask about much of anything else.
When Aslaug's mother dies, Aslaug herself is accused. After all, her neighbour sees her dragging the body to the yard to bury it. But what else is Aslaug to do? She has no real sense of how the world outside of her home works.
Once her name is cleared, she travels into the next town to look for a building where her mother once brought her. They had simply sat in the car and looked at the place, but Aslaug knows that her mother would never do something without reason. She finds the building, and is soon talking to Susan, Sara and Rune. Her family.
Aslaug is soon intertwined in a family saga filled with twists, turns and untruths. She has survived so much already, can she survive this?
Christina Meldrum has written a devastating, gut-wrenching, compelling and thoughtful story. The amount of research that must have been put into the sections on herbology and botany alone confound me. There are deep discussions of religion and faith, along with language and science. The characters are all broken but fierce, and I found myself loving and hating them in equal measure. Readers need to buy into the story, but once there, will not be able to put this book down. I have not come across a book as astounding as Madapple in a very long time.