The Brambles.

Position:Book review

*** 1/2 The Brambles By Eliza Minot

A tale of family drama.

The three Bramble siblings have lost their mother to a plane crash; now their affectionate father, 76-year-old Arthur, is dying of cancer. Margaret, the oldest sibling and herself the ultracapable mother of three, copes by making endless lists and sending Edie, the youngest sibling and Margaret's opposite in every way, to bring Arthur from California to Margaret's New Jersey home. Edie does so, though not without mishap, and then flees to Maine. Meanwhile, their brother Max is wandering around Manhattan, unwilling to tell anyone that he's quit his job. As secrets fester and are revealed, the seemingly close-knit Bramble family begins to fray at the edges. Knopf. 246 pages. $23.95. ISBN: 1400042690

Hartford Courant ****

"Combining lyric prose and impeccable comic timing, Eliza Minot draws on the family past to construct a paean to motherhood.... Minot's gift for suspense--a neat trick in a family novel--and a flair for comedy keeps the book from getting too sentimental." KIT REED

Los Angeles Times *** 1/2

"The novel's ending ... is less than believable, or maybe just jarringly pat after Minot has spent so much of the book revealing so deftly all the odds and ends and unfinished business that resemble most of our lives." SUSAN SALTER REYNOLDS

NY Times Book Review *** 1/2

"She delivers such consistently perceptive, even stunning sentences that it's easy to overlook the less than cohesive story and just recline inside the characters' minds and listen to them think. This novel is imperfect in a way that leaves you marveling at the many things it does right." MEGHAN DAUM

Washington Post *** 1/2

"Minot favors the lyrical backward glance, parsing the present into finely crafted bits of memory and personal history. The forward movement of the novel--too gentle and lazy at...

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