The coming of spring brings many delights, including the annual arrival of a new book from Laura Lippman. Her latest is the remarkable Life Sentences, a stand-alone novel about Cassandra Fallows, a successful memoirist who returns home to research her new book, only to uncover memories better left forgotten.
A friend of Cassandra's from middle school was accused of murdering her own child and spent seven years in jail for refusing to cooperate with the police. Now the author wants to reconnect with her old classmates to collect their memories of their mutual friend and explore her own.
Life Sentences visits several of the themes the have come to enrich Lippman's work in recent years, including the complicated lives of adolescent girls and the delicate issue of race relations. Life Sentences is a richly crafted story of the fragility of memory and a powerful journey to self-discovery. It's easily one of the year's best books so far.
From the Chicago Sun-Times, March 29, 2009