Now You See Her - Joy Fielding
NOW YOU SEE HER by Joy Fielding (Doubleday), 357 pages, $29.92 cloth. Fielding reads at Harbourfront's Brigantine Room on Wednesday (February 23). See Readings Rating: NN
You've seen them at stores everywhere - books with shiny covers, titles in embossed lettering and the words "New York Times bestseller" bellowing from the front. All that usually signals middlebrow sentimental fiction that discriminating readers want to avoid.
But Joy Fielding is better at the genre than most, often going deeper than her superficial counterparts, and besides, she's Canadian, which explains her participation in Harbourfront's Reading Series this week. Unfortunately, Now You See Her isn't up to Fielding's usual standard.
Grief-?stricken Marcy Taggart is still in denial over the death of her daughter two years earlier and recovering from a more recent divorce. While alone in Cork, Ireland, where she was supposed to celebrate her anniversary, Marcy is convinced she's spotted her daughter, Devon, who she never believed killed herself.
With the help of friendly bartender Liam, she searches wildly for the girl, often risking her own safety. Even when her hotel room gets trashed, Marcy ploughs on into ludicrously dangerous situations.
The coincidences and dropped threads - she's gone to the police in ways that make her look silly, so why doesn't she report that she's seen her stolen earrings on another woman? - stretch even the most generous reader's credulity.
But Fielding knows how to build characters, especially Marcy's. She's in deep despair over the loss of her manic-depressive daughter and still not over the suicide of her own mother, who was also bipolar, when Marcy was teenager.
It almost makes her desperate behaviour believable - but not quite.
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