When four-year-old Ruthie goes missing from the blueberry fields where her family works each summer, her brother Joe is the last to see her. What follows is a story of grief, hope, and extraordinary forgiveness surrounding an indigenous family. Spanning five decades, the narrative recreates the sense of an impending end and the melancholic memories of a dying man so vividly it puts the reader right in the room where Ruthie and Joe have reunited to recount what's transpired in their lives since that fateful day in the summer of 1962.
This gorgeous book is utterly transporting in details and setting. A coming-of-age novel, it takes a deep look at desire, cultural identity, small town life, and mother-daughter relations--and is likely to make you want to escape to the Turkish seaside for a long time.
In 1917, the poet and decorated soldier Siegfried Sassoon made a public declaration urging the British government to end WWI, saying, "I have seen and endured the sufferings of the troops, and I can no longer be a party to prolonging those sufferings for ends which I believe to be evil and unjust." In response, his superiors declared him mentally unfit and sent him to a psychiatric hospital. In Barker's brilliant reimagining of the event, Sassoon meets with the compassionate Dr. Rivers, and the two men try to discover what it means to be "sane" in a time of war.