Mr. Splitfoot by Samantha Hunt
As I'm pretty well ensconced in my cult-reading obsession and I've always been one for a good ghost story, this book was an enjoyable read for me. The split (see what I did there?) narrative and the way the author downplayed the most magical elements of the story had me at hello. There were so many intersecting conflicts going on underneath the actions of the characters... an examination of the role of mother along with questions about what constitutes a family and the importance of the various roles contained within.
Sparse dialog and the muteness of the protagonist Ruth helped underscore the distance and isolation each character was grappling with throughout the story. As elements came together and the pieces of the puzzle became clearer to the reader, more emphasis was placed on verbal communication between the characters.
If you like ghost stories (and the idea of walking the country while 9 months pregnant with little to no provisions), I definitely recommend this book. Mr. Splitfoot was a dark yet fun experience!
A contemporary gothic from an author in the company of Kelly Link and Aimee Bender, "Mr. Splitfoot"tracks two women in two times as they march toward a mysterious reckoning. Ruth and Nat are orphans, packed into a house full of abandoned children run by a religiousfanatic. To entertain their siblings, they channel the dead. Decades later, Ruth's niece, Cora, finds herself accidentally pregnant. After years of absence, Aunt Ruth appears, mute and full of intention. She is on a mysterious mission, leading Cora on an odyssey across the entire state of New York on foot.Where is Ruth taking them?Where has she been?And who or what has she hidden in the woods at the end of the road?In an ingeniously structured dual narrative, two separate timelines move toward the same point of crisis. Their merging will upend and reinvent the whole. A subversive ghost story that is carefully plotted and elegantly constructed, "Mr. Splitfoot"will set your heart racing and your brain churning. Mysteries abound, criminals roam free, utopian communities show their age, the mundane world intrudes on the supernatural and vice versa.Making good on the extraordinary acclaim for her previous books, Samantha Hunt continues to be dazzling ("Vanity Fair") and to deliver fiction that is daring and delicious ("Chicago Tribune").