by Julie HaleJuly 2006
No Direction Home
This beautifully constructed debut novel is a narrative about families fighting to endure in the face of incredible hardship. When Caroline's husband falls prey to depression and deserts her, she struggles single-handedly to care for her twin sons, 10-year-olds Ethan and Will. Leaving their home in Missouri for California, where her parents live, Caroline and the twins embark on a new life. But they arrive only to find that Caroline's mother is experiencing a mental decline, and that her father has engaged Amador, a Mexican immigrant, to look after her. Adding to the mix is Marlene, stepsister to Will and Ethan. Marlene, who is a bit wild, takes off on a trip with Amador's son, Rogelio. The two are searching for their fathers, and the journey takes Rogelio at great risk into Mexico. Facing dangerous gangs and pressure from the police, braving underground tunnels at the Mexican border, Rogelio struggles to reach his father despite amazing odds. Silver writes with insight about these resilient characters and their attempts to find permanence and security in an uncertain world. Her convincing portrayals of the modern family in all its varied configurations are part of what make this rich, original novel so appealing. The film rights to the book have been optioned by Fox Searchlight. A reading group guide is included in the book.