But he manages; he works his job rescuing people who are deep in their own reservoir of bad news. In scenes that are real, vividly drawn and immediate, you see how the job gets to Webster, gets into his bones, but he loves it and he’s good at it. You can feel his dedication; you can feel it when it sucks out his breath, but he does it anyway. He’s a devoted dad, too, although now that Rowan is a teenager, a motherless girl teenager, he’s often at sea. He feels she’s leaving him, but he isn’t truly afraid, not until she starts drinking like her mother, who was forced to take her hasty leave of them so long ago. Webster has confronted disaster again and again in his line of work; he knows how within a matter of moments, you can lose everything and everyone you have ever loved. But this is his daughter and suddenly it seems as if love is not enough. Suddenly this man who is so skilled at rescuing others can’t find the means to rescue his own child. And then Sheila reappears and the past is resurrected and, given the enormity of the damage that was done by Sheila’s departure, it is about as clear as fog what the effect will be for any one of the members of this small family. The ending of this story is as thoughtful as it is thought provoking. Among other things, it could provide the means to discuss a tough issue--teenaged drinking.
The writing is lovely, vintage Anita Shreve, carefully spare, yet elegant and so evocative of mood. Altogether an absorbing read. I loved it!