A Crime in the Neighborhood
A sage lyrical sensibility permeates Suzanne Berne's first novel. Told by a woman looking back on her experiences as a 9 year old, Berne captures the elusive Weltanschauung of early adolescence and sets this against the narrator's early disillusionments: parental breakup followed by the murder of a neighborhood boy. As the amnesiac sanctity of the suburbs collapses into suspicions and witch-hunts, her family's dissolution emerges as the true crime. Berne's attention to vital details -- visual, aural, olfactory, and psychological -- confer a richly elegiac quality to this superlative first effort.