Apekina's debut novel has familiar plotting--there seems to be shades of Mona Simpson, Larry McMurtry, and Michael Chabon throughout--in its discussion of difficult topics such as mental illness, infidelity, suicide, child molesting, and incest. But its storytelling is more uniquely its own, mixing in oral histories, letters, and vantage points from various times, places, and characters.
Part of the storytelling centers around the father being involved in the civil rights movement, where he meets a teenager who becomes his wife; more around a graduate student trying to write a dissertation about the author (though more accurately, stalking him); but central is the voice of one sister, from her perspective as a teen, and the other sister, as an adult looking back at a rocky stretch of her life.
Apekina's novel is compelling and readable throughout, even with some familiar beats, and worthwhile for those comfortable with challenging subject matter.
I was sent this novel by the publisher, Two Dollar Radio.