Split Estate

This novel by Charlotte Bacon had the potential to be quite good. Unfortunately, it was quite dreary. Split Estate is the story of Arthur King and his family. Arthur is an attorney; he and his family live in New York City. One day, while Arthur is at work and his children are at school, his wife commits suicide by jumping out the window of their tenth floor apartment.

Unable to cope with New York, and constantly reminded of his wife’s death, Arthur moves his teenage children to the small Wyoming town where he grew up. They move in with his widowed mother.  The children work at summer jobs, and experience typical adolescent growing pains.

It is all uninspiring and cliche-ridden. There are tensions in the town between the old ranchers and the mining interests. “Split estate”is a legal term which indicates a divided ownership of property: i.e. ownership of the ground vs. ownership of mineral rights. The most interesting part of this novel is the description of the Wyoming landscape. The people are shallow and boring.

This book was sent to me by Picador through the LibraryThing Early Reviewer program. I don’t like throwing books out-I’ll gladly send it to the first person who contacts me requesting it.

In USA:

Published in hardcover-Farrar, Straus & Giroux-2008
Softcover edition-Picador-2008

Split Estate: A Novel

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