Helpless by Barbara Gowdy
A Novel

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Synopsis

From the internationally acclaimed author of The White Bone and The Romantic, a haunting and suspenseful novel of abduction and obsessive love Nine-year-old Rachel Fox has the face of an angel, a heart-stopping luminosity that strikes all who meet her. Her single mother, Celia, working at a video store by day and a piano bar by night, is not always around to shield her daughter from the attention—both benign and sinister—that her beauty draws. Attention from model agencies, for example, or from Ron, a small-appliance repairman who, having seen Rachel once, is driven to see her again and again.
When a summer blackout plunges the city into darkness and confusion, Rachel is taken from her home. A full-scale search begins, but days pass with no solid clues, only a phone call Celia receives from a woman whose voice she has heard before but cannot place. And as Celia fights her terror and Rachel starts to trust in her abductor’s kindness, the only other person who knows where she is wavers between loyalty to the captor and saving the child. Will Rachel be found before her abductor’s urge to protect and cherish turns to something altogether less innocent?
Tapping into the fear that lies just below the surface of contemporary city life, Barbara Gowdy draws on her trademark empathy and precision to create a portrait of love at its most consuming and ambiguous and to uncover the volatile point at which desire gives way to the unthinkable.
 

About Barbara Gowdy

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Barbara Gowdy is the author of six previous books, including The White Bone (Picador 0-312-26412-7), Mister Sandman, and We So Seldom Look on Love. Recipient of the prestigious Marian Engel Award, she lives in Toronto, Ontario.
 
Published April 1, 2007 by Metropolitan Books. 324 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Horror, Romance, Action & Adventure. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Helpless

Kirkus Reviews

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From the accomplished Canadian novelist (The Romantic, 2003, etc.) and short-story writer, an all-consuming tale of child abduction.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of Helpless: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

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Love comes up against obsession in Gowdy's seventh novel (following The Romantic ), and the results are at times chilling, but not always believable. Single m

Feb 26 2007 | Read Full Review of Helpless: A Novel

The New York Times

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In this novel, a pedophile kidnaps a little girl he imagines is being molested.

Apr 29 2007 | Read Full Review of Helpless: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

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Love comes up against obsession in Gowdy's seventh novel (following The Romantic ), and the results are at times chilling, but not always believable. Single m

Feb 26 2007 | Read Full Review of Helpless: A Novel

blogTO

the mother's love of her kid, the kid's love of her mother and the pedophile's love of the little girl.

Mar 25 2007 | Read Full Review of Helpless: A Novel

Reader Rating for Helpless
85%

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