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THE COFFINS OF LITTLE HOPE By Timothy Schaffert June 17, 2012

Posted by lycan librarian in book reviews, Books and reading.

      This is a fun easy read, perfect for summer days outside. The narrator of this novel is 83-year-old Essie, who always wears a rhinestone dragonfly in her hair and lives in a small town in Nebraska. She writes the obituaries for the local paper.  The novel is also about her family and how the generations within it interact. The town, whose residents are collectively older than ever before in history, is surrounded by the mystery of a young girl who disappeared, but as time goes on, there are questions that arise and it is questionable if the girl ever even existed. Her disappearance has made her eccentric mother a bit of a celebrity, so did Mom become a little crazy  because her daughter disappeared, or was she so nutso that she invented a child to get sympathy and attention? If you are a hard-core mystery reader and tempted to pick this one up to answer that enticing question, don’t. The book isn’t about the mystery — it’s about the people in this little town, especially those in Essie’s family. But the mystery does add much to the plot and to the ambiance of the little community, and I’d imagine most fiction lovers would  give this selection high marks.

     The characters are all odd, which means they are real. Schaffert is an absolutely  wonderful writer who will charm you with his well-chosen words and perfectly formed sentences. If you are seeking a beach read — something you can devour without the world all around you squatting in the hushed respectful silence of long-ago libraries, then grab this one. You will become so engrossed you won’t hear that Frisbee whizzing past your ear or that shrieking, irritated mother two blankets away down the beach.  I really love Schaffert’s  writing style, so I’m going to read more of his  novels. Check back  often — I already ordered one outside of my library system. Get this — it’s called THE PHANTOM LIMBS OF THE ROLLOW SISTERS. Hooray!



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