The School on Heart's Content Road
352 pages; Atlantic Monthly
Shh, don't tell anyone: They are out there—the impoverished, the uninsured, the unloved, the outraged, the lost. In her conscience-altering new novel, The School on Heart's Content Road (Grove/Atlantic), Carolyn Chute (The Beans of Egypt, Maine) bares a hidden America where an alienated, covertly tender high school dropout finds a species of salvation with a local militia, and an empathetic "prophet" provides nurturing ("like a tornado of love") to wounded souls. Chute's diverse narrators—from a sly 6-year-old "secret agent" whose mother is in jail to a passing, all-seeing crow—offer perspectives on the need for justice and mercy, a safe house for the heart.
— Cathleen Medwick