by Julie HaleAugust, 2006
The Grace That Keeps This World
Bailey follows Crow Man, his well-received short story collection, with an impressive first novel. Set in Lost Lake, New York, a gritty Adirondack town, the book tells the story of Gary and Susan Hazen and the tragedy that befalls their family one fateful winter. A self-sustaining clan, the Hazens grow their own food and hunt regularly, and Gary an experienced outdoorsman takes it for granted that his sons will follow in his footsteps and maintain this traditional way of life. Strong-willed, stubborn and unrelentingly independent, he is hard on his sons, 19-year-old Kevin, who is a college student, and 26-year-old Gary David, who is still living at home. When the two young men fall prey to outside influences, serious friction results between them and their father. Kevin has a pregnant girlfriend, who, as a vegetarian, is opposed to hunting. Kevin's loyalty to her brings events to a dramatic head, when hunting season opens and he refuses to participate. This tense story is recounted by members of the Hazen family and by the residents of Lost Lake a narrative technique that provides the reader with a wealth of perspectives on the tragic events that ensue. A reading group guide is included in the book.