Mark Liberman has chosen Wiggins' The Shadow Catcher over Tom McCarthy's Remainder in the Tournament of Books.
Readers of this blog may not be aware of the full extent of my admiration for Mark Liberman - the only reason I don't link to several Liberman posts a day is that I assume everyone is reading them anyway. (A similar reasoning explains the rare links to Languagehat.) But I'm now baffled.
Look. Let's say you have a female character from a cultured family who is left an orphan by a freak accident. She travels out west with her young brother to stay with friends of her parents who have offered to take the children in. She is attracted to one of the family, a strong, silent man who keeps going off and disappearing for long periods. At one point he brings back a brass bathtub, supposedly as a gift for the whole family. They're all living together, crammed into the house; there's no privacy. One day, for some reason I now forget, everyone in the family except Clara goes off on some excursion; they'll be away for days; she has the place to herself! She fills the bath with water and bathes in it. The strong, silent man appears on the rooftop. She stands up so he can see her naked. He falls off the roof. She nurses him back to health.
You just can't.
You just can't.
Well, you can, obviously, since Marianne Wiggins did. And it is apparently possible to read this without howling, since ML seems to have found the story of Edward and Clara compelling.
But you just can't.
(Do they do the dirty deed, you ask? Now honestly. Need you ask? What would be the point of getting everyone else in the family conveniently out of the way, if not to allow the male and female leads some highly implausible quality time à deux?)
Readers who enjoyed Susan Sontag's In America would probably enjoy the book.