The Good Remains by Nani Power

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Nani Power's mesmerizing, widely praised debut, Crawling at Night, established her as "a formidable young writer ... one who can put you in mind of both Mary Gaitskill and Denis Johnson" (The New York Times Book Review). As intricately absorbing and dazzling as her "daring ... one of a kind" debut (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution), Power's second novel -- a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award -- is a slyly addictive story that introduces a beguiling cross section of characters in a small Virginia village, all of whom are destined to collide in an unusual confluence of events in the days leading up to Christmas. Dr. C. R. Ash, a neonatologist and chronic bachelor, is a man in the winter of his soul, and last in the line of an old Southern family. During a snowy prelude to a much-anticipated hospital Christmas party, C.R. crosses paths with a world of local characters, living and dead: Betty, his fire-fearing secretary and her cohort; Dr. Pendleton Compton, C.R.'s lascivious best friend who mends the hearts of babies; Kirsten, a candy striper who teeters between the worlds of childhood and child rearing; a clutch of death-obsessed teenagers; and two amateur caterers striving to create a Dickensian world of magic for the overworked and bedraggled hospital staff. In a town adrift with housing developments, strip malls, and Civil War history, this motley assemblage of characters are all impelled by their search to solve the ancient human riddles of love, loss, and desolation. At once Victorian in its feel and yet starkly modern, The Good Remains explores life, death, and our own attachments to this mortal coil. Shot through with the mournful refrain of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Freebird," Power's appealing, neo-Gothic tale revisits the age-old questions of our fundamental human longings. This book is a coup whose wit and ingenuity will delight readers, even as its characters leave their desperate marks on the heart.

About Nani Power

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Nani Power is the author of the novels "Crawling at Night", "The Good Remains", and "The Sea of Tears", the first two of which were selected as "New York Times" Notable Books of the Year. She lives in Virginia.
Published September 1, 2002 by Grove Press. 256 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Review: This story of a small-town Virginia doctor whose personal and professional life is in shambles demands patience, but Power's dark, comedic second novel rewards readers in the end.

Dec 07 2002 | Read Full Review of The Good Remains

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