By Roxana Robinson
(Picador, Paperback, 9780312428464, 448pp.)
Publication Date: May 26, 2009
Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover
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Julia Lambert, an artist, is spending the summer in her old Maine farmhouse. During a visit from her elderly parents, she hopes to mend complicated relationships with her domineering father, a retired neurosurgeon, and her gentle mother, who is descending into the fog of Alzheimer's. But a shattering revelation intrudes: Julia's son, Jack, has spiraled into heroin addiction. In her attempts to save him, Julia marshals help from her loosely knit clan, but Jack's addiction courses through the family with a devastating energy, sweeping them all into a world of confusion, fear, and obsession. In Cost, Roxana Robinson applies her "trademark gifts as an intelligent, sensitive analyst of family life" and creates a "warmly human and deeply satisfying book, marking a new level of ambition and achievement for this talented author" (Chicago Tribune).
ROXANA ROBINSON is the author of three earlier novels, three collections of short stories, and the biography Georgia O'Keeffe: A Life. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's Magazine, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, More, and Vogue, among other publications.
- Discuss the novel's title. What are the many costs—emotional and material— associated with Jack's addiction? What other circumstances lead the characters to consider their self-worth, or the "worth" of others?
A NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW EDITORS' CHOICE
A WASHINGTON POST TOP FIVE BOOK OF THE YEAR
A SEATTLE TIMES BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
A WALL STREET JOURNAL BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
"Artfully portrays a family transformed by the far-reaching consequences of a son's heroin addiction."--Vanity Fair
"Cost applies Roxana Robinson's trademark gifts as an intelligent, sensitive analyst of family life. . . . A warmly human and deeply satisfying book, marking a new level of ambition and achievement for this talented author."--Chicago Tribune
"Scarily good . . . with such fierce moments of anxiety and grief, this is, frankly, a challenging novel to read, but Robinson's insight makes it impossible to break away."--The Washington Post
"Pitch-perfect . . . Cost is unusual for being as plot-driven as it is character-driven, and the assured manner in which Robinson builds toward the inevitable train wreck is matched by her acuity in bringing us inside the characters’ minds."--The New York Times Book Review
"Cost is unsparing but not bleak. It is both lyrical and unsentimental, richly honest and humane--summer reading of uncommon stature."--The Wall Street Journal
"Gripping . . . Robinson paints a chilling portrait of addiction."--People
"An emotionally incisive story about change--the permeable bonds between family members and an individual's fluctuating sense of self."--Time Out (New York)
"[A] piercing novel . . . Robinson has always been a sensitive and revelatory writer, but she attains new degrees of intensity here. . . . Her illuminations of the churning inner lives of her smart and deep-feeling characters depict good people facing brutal forces beyond the reach of reason and love."--Booklist