By Heather Clay
(Knopf, Hardcover, 9780375415388, 272pp.)
Publication Date: March 23, 2010
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Raised on their parents’ Kentucky horse farm, Charlotte and Knox Bolling grow up steeped in the cycles of breeding, foaling, weaning, and preparation for sale that the Thoroughbreds around them undergo each year. As sisters, they are as tightly connected within that vast and beautiful landscape as their opposing natures—and the subtly shifting allegiances within their close family—allow.
When Charlotte leaves Four Corners Farm, marries Bruce, and moves to Manhattan’s West Village, the sisters’ feelings for each other remain as intense and contradictory as ever, despite the distance between them. But nothing will solder their lives more fatefully than Charlotte’s pregnancy and the day on which she delivers twin boys, then dies of complications following their birth.
Together, Knox and Bruce—sister- and brother-in-law in name, but strangers in every other respect—take up the work of caring for Charlotte’s two motherless boys. In their mourning, and in the joy and desolation that flood in as their love for the children deepens, Bruce and Knox confront the ways in which their bonds to Charlotte have shaped them and struggle to define the tentative bond they are forming with each other as they navigate their exhausting, emotional daily rounds. A gripping, powerfully affecting debut novel from a stunning new writer.
Heather Clay is a graduate of Middlebury College and Columbia University’s School of the Arts. She has published short fiction in The New Yorker and written for Parenting. She lives in New York City with her husband and their two daughters. This is her first novel.