Grief opens doors, sometimes unexpected ones, as Caroline Davies, a 29-year-old event planner, is about to discover. In Chicago to bury her father, Caroline has orchestrated every detail of the funeral. Why, then, does she feel so blank? After indulging in a few too many—drinks, harsh words, taboo kisses—on the night of the wake, she runs away with 58-year-old Virgil Harris, her uncle, and possibly the love of her life. A tax attorney, long divorced for his philandering ways, Virgil has just been diagnosed with cancer, which he has decided to let go untreated. As Virgil and Caroline, who is unaware of Virgil’s condition, hit the road headed for the Grand Canyon, Donald Hearst, her boss and former lover, is tugging at her to return home to New York. To Caroline and Virgil, escape means the open road. For David, Virgil’s son, escape is the oblivion of heroin addiction. When they learn that David has gone missing, Caroline and Virgil reroute their trip to New Orleans. A client of Caroline’s uses his connections to help them find David, but in return, she must plan his society wedding in Dallas. The three head to Texas, where the big sky, empty space, and bride-to-be wreak havoc with David, and he disappears once again. When Caroline and Virgil finally reach the Grand Canyon, Caroline learns of his illness and makes an important promise to him and to herself. The road-trip frames the action in this powerful and elegiac novel, but on a deeper level, the insight and compassion Jean Shields brings to the writing tell a story about duty and priorities, life and death, and all the things that love can mean. “Jean Shields’ Air Burial is indeed a wonderful first novel ... we can expect exciting future work from her.”—Robert Stone
About Jean Shields
See more books from this Author
Published December 23, 2002
by Carroll & Graf.
Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Romance, Literature & Fiction.