Liquid, Fragile, Perishable

In Liquid, Fragile, Perishable the townspeople of tiny Glenville, Vt., share both optimism and loss as Carolyn Kuebler's debut novel weaves an intricate interplay among a close-knit population and the natural world that shapes their fate.

Cautiously hopeful residents savor "the first real day of sun" in May, in individual passages of interior monologues. Written in crisp, concise thoughts, the novel unfolds with a distinctive step-by-step tone of inevitability. While characters have agency, they are also vulnerable to the choices of their neighbors and the undeniable effects of climate change. "The bees are losing their way" and the ski slope traffic suffers from lack of snow. Except for the Calpers, outsiders from New York who've built a new home on the ridge, relationships and family histories are well established. A fateful shift begins when lifelong friends and high school students Sophie, Amber, and Honey include Will Calper, the teenage son of the newcomers, in their social circle. Sophie "imagines that one day it will be different, grander somehow, but she has no idea how quickly everything can change and how little control she will have." Remote Glenville is not immune from substance abuse, poverty, and other social ills, and even the mostly troublesome LeBeau clan evokes some sympathy. Kuebler sets her novel over one year, and the changes of the seasons reflect the town's human dramas. As the novel closes in spring, the sun "shines on the surface of the river now, breaking into patterns of darkness and light." --Cheryl McKeon, Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany, N.Y.

Powered by: Xtenit