This is a haunting novel about a girl, Boyd, that feels other people’s pain. She feels other people’s emotions so deeply that she ends up isolating herself and denying herself what most everyone needs–commitment and love.
Written in a domestic fabulist style, strange things happen in this novel. A woman who has been in a coma for a decade, awakens during the 2015 Memorial day floods in Central Texas. She puts on some clothes taken from a scarecrow and follows Boyd’s path.
Boyd is trying to find her friend Issac whom she knows is in grave danger. After escaping a flooded car, he is dangling from a tree that is precariously perched over the flooded river.
In the midst of the storm, ordinary people, like soap-maker, Carla, become completely unglued. Classics professor Kevin is drawn to his ex-wife and the local, mostly stoned, retired high school teacher goes off on a fruitless treasure hunt.
All of these odd events are juxtaposed with sections entitled “things you would know,” and indeed those are things local people know about the Central Texas area. In these sections readers find stories about Maximilian’s Gold and other stories unique to the area.
What this novel ends with is possibility. Boyd changes in the course of the novel to the point where she is able to let her gifts go; she no longer wants to be the conduit of of other people’s pain.
Reading a novel like this is like running a marathon but in a good way. Oddities and strangeness abound as people make strange decisions in a storm that are life-changing.