Milchman makes a fine debut
A young widow's grief and naiveté evolve into paranoia and a sense that she has no idea what is really going on in the quiet town where she lives in Jenny Milchman's stunning debut.
Milchman tackles small-town angst where evil can simmer under the surface with a breathless energy and a feel for realistic characters.
Nora Hamilton has been launching her career as a house restorer in the lovely town of Wedeskyull, N.Y., located in the Adirondacks, where her husband, Brendan, is a policeman. But her life is shattered when she discovers the body of her husband, who has apparently committed suicide in their home.
Now, Nora not only has to deal with her inconsolable grief, but also the peaceful town seems to have changed overnight. Her mother-in-law, with whom she was never close, becomes increasingly antagonistic toward her. She can't seem to go anywhere without being followed by one of Brendan's fellow cops or the police chief; their excuse is that they are worried about her mental health. Then little things, especially Brendan's mementos, are disappearing from her house. As she looks into Brendan's background, she finds out that she may not have known her husband as well as she thought she did.
In “Cover of Snow,” Milchman expertly shows how Nora, stymied by grief, becomes obsessed with knowing why Brendan killed himself. Had she really not seen that he had been changing in the weeks before his death? Was her marriage not as strong as she thought? Before her husband's death, Nora had felt safe and secure in the town. The frigid air that blows through the town is the perfect metaphor for Nora's feelings of isolation.
Milchman's original approach serves her story well, including the unpredictable resolution.
Oline H. Cogdill is a staff writer for the Sun Sentinel (South Florida).
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments â either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.