It's an interesting coincidence, then, though presumably not in any sense autobiographical, that Concrete Angel proves to be a mother daughter tale to the nth enmeshed degree. Although there are crimes galore in this book, the most significant one happens in the opening pages, when Eve Moran shoots a man in her apartment whom she has only known for a few hours while her daughter lies sleeping in a room next door. Guess who winds up taking the fall for it?
Although certainly qualifying as crime fiction, this novel is really a sustained study of the larger than life personality of Eve, born Evelyn, by a witness with unrelenting focus--her daughter Christine. In this it reminded me of the short story collection by Natalie Serber, Shout Her Lovely Name, which describes a similar (though not criminal) mother daughter relationship in a series of linked tales. As in that book, there is an episodic, picaresque quality to this tale, as many other characters float through their lives--mostly men. But Eve and Christine are the earth and moon of this story, although Christine's father and grandmother exert their own gravitational influences. Mostly, though, they just manage to keep the pair afloat. This is a dyad that needs a lot of buoying up--cash infusions, temporary and not so temporary lodging, babysitting arrangements.
One of the narrative techniques I was impressed by in this story was Abbott's ability to switch point of view seamlessly when she needs to tell a part of the story Christine would not have been present for. Although I may be wrong, it seems to me that the way she achieves this is to have Christine switch in these sections from the first person to a third person perspective, which signals that she is telling the story from things she's put together later. It's quite effective, because it allows Abbott to tell the story from a child's point of view as well as an adult's.
An interesting interview as well as more about the book can be found in J. Kingston Pierce's piece for the Kirkus Review.
That is one fantastically on the nose review. Thanks for taking much time and care withi!!ReplyDelete
I'm NY but will post on Sat. A million thanks!
I'm very happy to know that I read it as you conceived of it. Good luck with getting the word out!ReplyDelete