Cressida Hartley is suffering from a serious case of ennui. At 28, she is stagnating in ABD status, trying to finish her dissertation in economics, wholly disliking her field of expertise. It’s the eighties, and Reaganomics doesn’t suit her. But she found a way to integrate her affinity with art with her thesis–she’s writing about the value of art in the marketplace. So she moves to her parents vacation A-frame in the Sierras, intending to wrap herself in the mountain air, solitude, and writing.
Michelle Hunevenâ€™s new novel, BLAME, has one of the best prologues to come along in a long time. Here, we are introduced to Joey Hawthorne, a preteen struggling with the impending death of her mother to breast cancer. One day tall, handsome uncle Brice shows up to pick her up from summer typing lessons and she immediately suspects something is wrongâ€”her mother will die shortly thereafter. Through Brice, Joey is introduced to his temperamental girlfriend, Patsy MacLemoore.