As Lu and George Barnes and their daughter Pippa grow apart, tensions outside the family mount as well; women have been disappearing across the country with no worldly explanation, all while California’s wildfire season brings about a surprising reckoning that none of them can avoid. - (Baker & Taylor)
"As Lu and George Barnes and their daughter Pippa grow apart, tensions outside the family mount as well; women have been disappearing across the country with no worldly explanation, all while California's wildfire season brings about a surprising reckoning that none of them can avoid"-- - (Baker & Taylor)
Set amid California’s wildfire season, a vivid and magical novel following a family in crisis thrust on a collision course with the world around them that has an outcome beyond their wildest imaginings . . .
When Lu and George Barnes drop their only daughter, Pippa, off at college, they return to their Sonoma home to find that their paths have diverged. Confronted with an empty nest, Lu’s increasing dissatisfaction with their materialistic lives becomes impossible to ignore. She is most content outdoors, finding the animals in her backyard far superior company to her pretentious neighbors. In contrast, George is eager to throw himself into his business, a local winery with an elite clientele, as well as his art collection. He cannot for the life of him understand his wife’s discontent.
Meanwhile, Pippa feels completely adrift at school in the bustle of LA—its unfamiliar noises, its unfriendly atmosphere. She finds comfort only in the beloved family cat she’s brought with her and in her zoology class, which makes the world seem just a bit brighter. As Lu, George, and Pippa struggle to adapt, growing apart in the process, tensions outside the family are mounting as well; women have been disappearing across the country with no worldly explanation, all while California’s wildfire season is swiftly approaching, bringing with it a reckoning that none of the Barneses can avoid.
At once a grounded story about love and family, and a transcendent tale about the power of nature, Unleashed is a stunning look at what matters in an all too chaotic world, the things that sustain us when we are on the verge of losing it all, and how we might find ourselves in the most unexpected of ways. - (Penguin Putnam)
Publishers Weekly Reviews
A pair of empty nesters and their daughter face mounting crises in the affecting if muddled latest from Emmons (Sinking Islands). Stay-at-home mom Lu Vasquez and vintner George Barnes drive their daughter, Philippa, from their home in Sonoma, Calif., to Los Angeles for college. Back home, Lu abandons cooking and bristles at George's suggestion that she find a degree to finish. Meanwhile, Philippa's landlady complains about her cat, prompting her to secretly take her pet to class. This draws attention from her charismatic zoology professor, Dar Mulligan. Philippa frequents Dar's office hours, and though uncertain of her own intentions, she loves their freewheeling conversations about animal behavior. Meanwhile, news stories of people vanishing without a trace bubble in the background, George flies to Florida following his father's stroke, Philippa's cat goes missing, and Lu has to evacuate ahead of a wildfire. Family communications become sparser as tensions mount and there's an unexpected speculative turn involving animals in the third act. Though Emmons does a good job showing how Lu is adrift and Philippa struggles to fit in, the many threads don't hang together. In the end, it's a fragmented collage of a family reeling from changes. Agent: Deborah Schneider, Gelfman Schneider Literary. (Sept.)
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