Confinement by Carrie Brown
(Shannon Ravenel Books)

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On a snowy night in the winter of 1946, Arthur Henning arrives at a New York banker's country estate. All he has with him are his young son, his sewing machine, and the painful history of the refugee—the home in Vienna he left behind, the wife and infant daughter who perished in Lonon's blitz, and the relatives and friends who disappeared into the abyss of the Holocaust. He has come to begin a new life and to forget.

Once an expert tailor, now he is employed as a chauffeur. He drives Mr. Duvall to work in the city, Mrs. Duvall to her shopping, their daughter, Agatha, to school. The job gives Arthur solace. There's a cottage for him and his son, Toby, to live in, congeniality in the mansion's kitchen with the other servants, pleasure in watching Toby grow up alongside charming little Agatha. And so there he remains for nearly a decade, hidden, unable to confront his shattered faith, his fear, and the measure of everything he has lost.

Hidden, that is, until life steps in to release Arthur from his seclusion. On orders from Mr. Duvall, he must drive Agatha to her own confinement in that peculiarly evil American institution of the 1950s, a home for unwed mothers. The Duvalls' plan to give the baby away shocks Arthur from his emotional slumber. The story of these two people—a man who has lost his past and a girl who is forced to give up her future—winds its way to a conclusion that is both inevitable and wholly unpredictable.

Infused with her trademark haunting sensibility, Carrie Brown's fourth novel is a deeply moving tale of the small miracles and large revelations of love.

About Carrie Brown

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Carrie Brown is the author of four novels and a collection of short stories. She has won many awards for her work, including a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, the Barnes and Noble Discover Award, and the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize. Her most recent novel, Confinement, won the Library of Virginia Book Award. She lives in Virginia with her husband, the novelist John Gregory Brown, and their three children. She teaches at Sweet Briar College.
Published January 3, 2004 by A Shannon Ravenel Book. 368 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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After the war, Arthur and his surviving son Toby emigrate to America, where Arthur finds work as chauffeur to a wealthy businessman named Duvall, who keeps a large country estate outside New York.

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Publishers Weekly

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But Brown's deft shaping of their unconventional love makes the novel haunting and memorable, and Henning's unusual decision to track the infant after Agatha gives birth adds some dark surprises down the stretch.

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Project MUSE

Since the detainees had not been officially charged, family members seeking information about their loved ones lined up outside the prison where the muffled cries of the beaten detainees slipped from the walls.

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