Friday, December 28, 2007

The Night Following-Morag Joss

The Night Following
Morag Joss
Delacorte, Mar 2008, $22.00
ISBN: 9780385341189

The woman is stunned to learn her spouse the handsome doctor is having affair. Distracted as she drives a winding back road, she fails to notice the woman on a bike in front of her as she comes out of a turn. The driver hits sexagenarian Ruth Mitchell, but instead of stopping, she drives away.

The police fail to find the culprit who murdered Ruth in a hit and run vehicular homicide. However, the driver knows what she did and how she fled the scene. She feels haunted by her action and guilty by her reaction. She begins to watch the victim’s husband Arthur from a distance. His raw grief rips her stomach further as he no longer cares about himself or anyone else. He cannot sleep as the nightmares wake him and he cannot take care of his home or himself. She serendipitously enters his home cleaning it. She becomes more brazen as she meets Arthur in person demanding he clean up his act, which he does as he believes a miracle has occurred; his Ruth has returned to him.

Two marriages were shattered with that car accident, but it is the aftermath that digs incredibly deep into the convoluted human condition that makes for a haunting complex psychological thriller. Arthur and Ruth seem real as they react shockingly similar to what connects them, the death of his spouse by her. Yet that almost identical response feels genuine and makes for a powerful saga of loss, deception, and redemption.

Harriet Klausner