By Melanie Wallace
(MacAdam Cage, Hardcover, 9781596921405, 250pp.)
Publication Date: April 3, 2006
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A chilling, literary novel about a nomadic young woman who becomes tangled in the stories of her past and the search for a wild boy.
Teenage runaway Jamie Hall – entrapped by circumstance and poverty – seems incapable of escaping the mountain-and-valley watershed that was the birthplace of her maternal grandparents. Working as a housekeeper for Margaret, a retired photographer who leaves behind a pictorial chronicle of the valley’s history, Jamie finds herself trapped in a town–and amongst a group of locals–unable to shake the relentless grip of the past.
There’s an ancient postmaster who lives through his memories of Jamie’s grandmother, the woman he loved but who was never his. There’s Galen, an ex-con who falls in love with Jamie, and who finds himself threatened by Harlan, a childhood friend who has become a murderous poacher. And then there’s the wild boy tied to a tree. When Jamie sets him free, she unintentionally involves both Galen and Harlan in a fatal chase and unleashes a force of evil that will haunt her for the rest of her life.
With an unforgettable cast of characters and gorgeous, piercing prose, The Housekeeper is at once a poetic meditation on landscape and a page-turning thriller.
Melanie Wallace is the author of Blue Horse Dreaming. She and her husband live in Myloi, an agrarian village below the Ohi mountain range in Greece, and in Paris.
“…beautifully written…Wallace’s prose is lush and spare, and she handles both the grotesque and the gorgeous with equal skill. A tender, tragic love story.”
— Publishers Weekly
“…a rare combination of a page-turning thriller and literary narrative…A chilling tale of a young woman who becomes consumed with the stories of her past and her search for a feral child, The Housekeeper is a poetic and touching offering from an exceedingly talented author.”
"Melanie Wallace makes something beautiful out of the bleak and the battered. Her characters are worn, their voices weary, and their souls inconsolable, but Wallace’s style is so fresh and her language so carefully hewn that this grim tale is also a gorgeous one."
–Ed Sikov, author of Mr. Strangelove: A Biography of Peter Sellers