Family of Origin

I fell in love with CJ Hauser’s writing when I read her Crane Wife piece in the Paris Review this summer. This novel is another example of excellent writing, although I increasingly became whiplashed by her pulling us back and forward through time to tell the story. Two pseudo-siblings who aren’t actually related (Ian is Nolan’s father but not Elsa’s), reunite on the occasion of Ian’s mysterious drowning death on an island where he was investigating buffleheads that are devolving, going backwards, losing their waterproofing. Years back, when 20-year-old Elsa first discovered that Ian wasn’t technically her father, she slept with 14-year-old Nolan, throwing his mind into a tailspin it never seemed to recover from.