Black Lawrence Press: 12/1/15
eBook review copy; 400 pages
trade paperback ISBN-13: 9781625579379
Twister by Genanne Walsh is a highly recommended story of turbulence in a small town. There is an actual tornado in the story, but the real storm is in the interpersonal relationships.
It feels like a storm is coming to a small Midwestern town that has fallen on hard times economically. All the residents can feel the change in the air and comment on it, even as the weather announcer on the radio forecasts the warnings. Walsh slowly introduces the residents of this town, revealing their inner thoughts, secrets, and longings. The town is a cyclone of unresolved issues and ongoing grievances.
A mother, Rose, is beside herself with grief as she mourns the death of her soldier son, Lance. Stella is Rose's estranged stepsister. What caused the rife between the two when they once were so close is not revealed until later in the novel. Walsh continues to introduce us to Rose's neighbors (the old man, Perry, Nina, Sill), Ward (Stella's husband), Louise (a local bank teller), and Scottie (the current owner of the shoe store), all while allowing the foreboding tension to slowly rise and build. You know things have happened in the past. You know something is going to happen - between individuals and with the approaching the storm.
Walsh does an excellent job capturing the complex emotions and interpersonal connections between the residents while allowing the reader insight into their thoughts. The beauty of allowing us to get an insider's view into each character makes them more human and complex individuals. My one qualm was with the pacing. It seemed to move too slowly and the big insights into the characters really don't come until later in the novel. Additionally, once the twister hit, we heard nothing more about it for pages while Walsh shares additional backstory. At times this slow, steady pace seemed detrimental to the plot. On the other hand it, did evoke the slower, measured routine of life in a small town, where daily routines and secrets are known about almost everyone.
Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of Black Lawrence Press for review purposes.