Family. When a couple prepares for the arrival of a first child, there are many new feelings, cravings, and practical details to work through. Patrick Somerville mines some of this material in his debut novel, The Cradle. Marissa wants their child to use the cradle she had as a child, so she sends her husband, Matt, to find it. Matt’s challenge is that Marissa has no idea where the cradle is. Matt’s journey leads him through four states, and to memories of his own childhood. Along the way, he meets members of Marissa’s family and becomes aware of what family means, as well as the barriers, like war and abandonment, that can lead to the dissolution of what we hold dear. Somerville deals with complexity and the messiness of life with deft skill. If you want to take a chance on reading the work of a new writer, The Cradle will be time well spent.
Rating: Three-star (Recommended)