Rain Line: A Novel

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University Press of New England, 2000 - Fiction - 361 pages
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"To this day, I wonder if Danny knew he was going to die."

Following a drunken celebration of a college hockey victory, a car goes off a bridge and plunges into a river. The passenger, a young woman, escapes; the driver, her boyfriend, drowns. In a clear, compelling voice, Leo Baye, the narrator of Anne Whitney Pierce's powerful first novel, traces the aftermath of a tragedy -- struggling with her guilt over her own survival and slowly coming to terms with the less-than-perfect nature of the relationship she has lost.

Though a star of the Harvard hockey team, Danny McPhee had remained at heart a Cambridge "townie" whose Irish-American family ran a fish market. That sense of alienation was perhaps his strongest connection with Leo, another Cambridge native whose dysfunctional family has crossed a line from "shabby genteel" to outright eccentric. Having fled when she was seventeen, Leo is now driven back to the crumbling home of her childhood by confusion and depression, but once there, she must fight to keep from being absorbed again by the familiar routines of her family's precarious existence.

Danny's memory continues to exert a powerful influence on Leo, even as she begins to resume her normal life as a student at the Beacon Conservatory, working on her thesis and practicing the music that will be her audition piece. She forces herself to go through the motions of daily life, taking the bus and playing her violin, and she begins to reconsider her relationship with Danny, a frustrated young man who was constantly on the verge of violence. Her efforts to reconstruct her life, however, are dealt a severe setback when she learns that she is pregnant with Danny's child.

Anne Whitney Pierce offers a moving, insightful tale of a young woman's efforts to extract meaning from tragedy and rebuild her life on her own terms. Rain Line is a profound, ultimately optimistic novel of grief and recovery.

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User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

A lyrical first novel from Pierce (stories: Galaxy Girls: Wonder Women, 1994) about a tragic death and a corresponding birth. Part expos‚ of survivor's guilt and part family chronicle, the tale opens ... Read full review

Rain line: a novel

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Pierce's first novel is an outstanding work of domestic fiction in which the central action is made up of the flipped bookends of death and then birth. Main character Leonarda's daily life is a series ... Read full review


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About the author (2000)

ANNE WHITNEY PIERCE is the author of a book of short stories, Galaxy Girls: Wonder Women (1994), winner of the Willa Cather Fiction Prize. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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