[UPDATE: No more copies left! Thanks to Talia Sherer, Macmillan Library Marketing, for making copies of Blame available to EarlyWord readers, but they are all gone now. Subscribe to her e-newsletter here.]

Reviewers have been giving the love to Michelle Huneven for her new book, Blame. This week, Laura Miller declares it a “Must Read,” in Salon.

Apologizing for revealing the book’s crucial plot twist, Miller notes that she feels less guilty about doing so because the publisher did it first and further justifies the transgression with this trenchant comment,

…there’s a difference between mere plot and story, the latter of which consists of a sensation of irresistible forward movement created in the mind and emotions of a reader.

That’s as good an explanation as any I’ve heard for why people sometimes enjoy a movie or a book when they already know the ending.

Stripping Blame‘s plot down to the bare minimum, it’s about a woman who is jailed for killing two people while driving drunk, does jail time, gets out and spends the next twenty years trying to rebuild her life, only to find out, as the publisher says, “her life has been based on wrong assumptions.”

It’s worth reading all the reviews, because each reviewer sees the book differently; a story of sin and atonement, of people trying to create ad hoc families, of learning to live with regret and moral ambiguity. The book gives no easy answers, as Entertainment Weekly puts it,

Readers looking for a drum-tight denouement won’t find one here; for Huneven, the blame of the title isn’t some black-and-white object to explain or assign so much as it is something to explore in countless shades of gray.

All of which makes it sound like an ideal candidate for reading groups.

Consider buying extra copies, not for holds, which are modest, but for RA purposes.

Other reviews:

Blame: A Novel
Michelle Huneven
Retail Price: $25.00
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux – (2009-09-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0374114307 / 9780374114305

Unabridged audio from Blackstone

  • Read by Hillary Huber
  • 8 Tapes; 9781433293320; $32.98
  • Playaway; 9781433293399; $59.99
  • 1 MP3CD; 9781433293368;$14.98
  • 9 CD; 9781433293337; $50.00

Large Type:
Thorndike; Hdbk; 12/1/09; 9781410420930; $31.95

Downloadable audio from OverDrive

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