The Cradle by Patrick Somerville
A Novel

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 6 Critic Reviews



Early one summer morning, Matthew Bishop kisses his still-sleeping wife Marissa, gets dressed and eases his truck through Milwaukee, bound for the highway. His wife, pregnant with their first child, has asked him to find the antique cradle taken years before by her mother Caroline when she abandoned Marissa, never to contact her daughter again. Soon to be a mother herself, Marissa now dreams of nothing else but bringing her baby home to the cradle she herself slept in. His wife does not know-does not want to know-where her mother lives, but Matt has an address for Caroline's sister near by and with any luck, he will be home in time for dinner.

Only as Matt tries to track down his wife's mother, he discovers that Caroline, upon leaving Marissa, has led a life increasingly plagued by impulse and irrationality, a mysterious life that grows more inexplicable with each new lead Matt gains, and door he enters. As hours turn into days and Caroline's trail takes Matt from Wisconsin to Minnesota, Illinois, and beyond in search of the cradle, Matt makes a discovery that will forever change Marissa's life, and faces a decision that will challenge everything he has ever known.

Elegant and astonishing, Patrick Somerville tells the story of one man's journey into the heart of marriage, parenthood, and what it means to be a family. Confirming the arrival of an exuberantly talented new writer, THE CRADLE is an uniquely imaginative debut novel that radiates with wisdom and wonder.

About Patrick Somerville

See more books from this Author
Patrick Somerville grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin, attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and later earned his MFA from Cornell University. He is the author of the story collections Trouble and The Universe in Miniature in Miniature, and the novel The Cradle. He lives with his wife and son in Chicago, where he teaches creative writing at Northwestern University.
Published March 9, 2009 by Little, Brown and Company. 208 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Cradle

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

In this first novel by the author of the story collection Trouble (2006), a young man and, separately, a middle-aged woman test their capacity to love and be loved.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of The Cradle: A Novel

The New York Times

See more reviews from this publication

Patrick Somerville’s “The Cradle” is a magical debut novel.

Mar 09 2009 | Read Full Review of The Cradle: A Novel

The New York Times

See more reviews from this publication

In this short but complex first novel, a couple’s search for a missing cradle becomes a life-rattling trip.

Mar 15 2009 | Read Full Review of The Cradle: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

An elusive heirloom cradle symbolizes childhood's pains and possibilities in Somerville's spare, elegant first novel (after a story collection, Trouble

Jan 19 2009 | Read Full Review of The Cradle: A Novel

Bookmarks Magazine

Still, this novel will propel the career of a fine young novelist who has 30 years to develop into the writer that Charles Baxter is."

Mar 09 2009 | Read Full Review of The Cradle: A Novel

Women's Voices for Change

[...] presents Book Review: The Cradle, by Patrick Somerville posted at Women’s Voices For Change, saying, “Laura Baudo Sillerman’s review of [...].

Apr 03 2009 | Read Full Review of The Cradle: A Novel

Reader Rating for The Cradle

An aggregated and normalized score based on 91 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review