The Year of Fog: Book summary and reviews of The Year of Fog by Michelle Richmond

The Year of Fog

By Michelle Richmond

The Year of Fog
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  • Published in USA  Mar 2007,
    416 pages.

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Book Summary

Life changes in an instant. On a foggy beach. In the seconds when Abby Mason—photographer, fiancée soon-to-be-stepmother—looks into her camera and commits her greatest error. Heartbreaking, uplifting, and beautifully told, here is the riveting tale of a family torn apart, of the search for the truth behind a child's disappearance, and of one woman's unwavering faith in the redemptive power of love—all made startlingly fresh through Michelle Richmond's incandescent sensitivity and extraordinary insight.

Six-year-old Emma vanished into the thick San Francisco fog. Or into the heaving Pacific. Or somewhere just beyond: to a parking lot, a stranger's van, or a road with traffic flashing by. Devastated by guilt, haunted by her fears about becoming a stepmother, Abby refuses to believe that Emma is dead. And so she searches for clues about what happened that morning—and cannot stop the flood of memories reaching from her own childhood to illuminate that irreversible moment on the beach.

Now, as the days drag into weeks, as the police lose interest and fliers fade on telephone poles, Emma's father finds solace in religion and scientific probability—but Abby can only wander the beaches and city streets, attempting to recover the past and the little girl she lost. With her life at a crossroads, she will leave San Francisco for a country thousands of miles away. And there, by the side of another sea, on a journey that has led her to another man and into a strange subculture of wanderers and surfers, Abby will make the most astounding discovery of all—as the truth of Emma's disappearance unravels with stunning force.

A profoundly original novel of family, loss, and hope—of the choices we make and the choices made for us—The Year of Fog beguiles with the mysteries of time and memory even as it lays bare the deep and wondrous workings of the human heart. The result is a mesmerizing tour de force that will touch anyone who knows what it means to love a child.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"The book is beautifully paced—one feels Abby's clarity of purpose from the first page." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. Recommended for popular fiction collections, especially where authors like Jodi Picoult, Elizabeth Berg, and Jacquelyn Mitchard are popular." - Library Journal

"Three-fourths suspense and one-fourth dubious denouement." - Kirkus Reviews

"Richmond gracefully explores the nature of memory and perception in key passages that never slow the suspense of the search…a page-turner with a philosophical bent." - Booklist

"Grade: A. “Gripping…Richmond makes the reader feel the gamut of emotions, from the initial disbelief and blind hope to the nagging guilt and gnawing despair." - The Washington Post

"What marks us, and how do we react to our impressions, both large and small, of life? These are the questions asked by San Francisco author Michelle Richmond in her wonderful second novel, “The Year of the Fog. Despite all its drama — and this heart-wrenching tale does ratchet up the tension — this is primarily a story of echoes and repercussions…spare, moving…it’s all done delicately, in almost poetic terms." - The San Francisco Chronicle

"A good part of what makes The Year of Fog compulsively readable is the voice of its narrator. Abby’s tone is quietly conversational, almost as though she is sitting across the table and, over a cup of coffee, calmly telling her tale. The dispassionate tone reveals a brutally honest teller, and only serves to heighten the tension of the story…both believable and bittersweet." - The Denver Post

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Reader Reviews

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Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Louise J
Captivating!
I had no idea what to expect from this novel as I’d never heard of the author and didn’t pick it out myself. My husband happened to be going through Costco on Friday and picked me up two books, one of which was this one. I’m pleased to say I was very pleasantly surprised. The book just captivated me and held my attention page after page.

"This is a riveting drama of how life can change in an instant, of a family torn apart by the search for the truth behind a child’s disappearance, and of one woman’s unwavering faith in the power of love."

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Mona Brown
The Year of Fog
It was a really different read and I enjoyed it very much. At the same time it was disturbing, frustrating and thought provoking. I would recommend it to people I know who love to read and I plan to read it again. I would like to read anything that Michelle Richmond writes.

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Author Information

Michelle Richmond Author Biography

Michelle Richmond is the author of the award-winning story collection The Girl in the Fall-Away Dress, the novels Dream of the Blue Room and No One You Know, and the New York Times and international bestseller The Year of Fog. Her new novel, Golden State, will be published in February, 2014. Her new story collection, Hum, winner of the Catherine Doctorow Innovative Fiction Prize, will be also be published in 2014.

Richmond has received the Hillsdale Award for Fiction from the Fellowship of Southern Writers, the Associated Writing Programs Award, and the Mississippi Review Fiction Prize. Her stories and essays have appeared in Glimmer Train, the Oxford American, Salon, Playboy, The Guardian, The Believer, Best American Fantasy, The Kenyon Review, The Missouri Review, and many magazines ...

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