Fusing family myth with American history, award-winning author Melanie Rae Thon exposes the never-ending chain of wandering and abandonment, the disappearance of mothers, and the drowning of people through the adventures of Flint, a sixteen-year-old boy that is half child, half full-grown criminal, and his little sister, Cecile.
After eight years in juvenile detention and an escape from the Landers School for Boys, Flint returns home to the one person he loves and trust, his sister Cecile. Together they rob and terrorize a local doctor, steal their mother’s car, and strike out alone on a desperate journey south to the Crow Indian Reservation their ancestors once lived upon.
But is Cecile Flint’s accomplice or his hostage? No one knows. Only Marie Zimmer, the children’s deaf aunt, understands the strange logic of their crimes, desires, fears, and devotion to each other. Marie has stories to tell, and though she will not speak, she is the only one bold enough to share the tale of Flint and Cecile.
In this devastatingly passionate story, the tales of a silent woman struggling to unravel the web of generational family violence are revealed through the celebration of life in the midst of sorrow. In the fierce light of her imagination, Marie interweaves the past and the present, inventing a language of signs subtle enough to illuminate the mysterious ways we are all connected.
The Washington Post Book World Breathtaking authenticity and power.
The New York Times Book Review In this novel, as in the most bracing of her short stories, Thon gives voice to the inarticulate, making vivid the yearning of those left out in the cold....Through the wildness and longing of her characters, she turns what could be a tale of grim endurance into a cry against forgetting.
Kirkus Reviews (starred review) Brilliantly imagined and infused with a raw spirituality that cuts to the bone....Thon writes with a lyric power about the lives of lost souls who nonetheless passionately believe in a God "no longer capable of even the smallest miracles."
Booklist (starred review) Thon's newest novel is her most haunting and devastating to date.
Publishers Weekly (starred review) Evincing the psychological acuity demonstrated in the author's earlier Iona Moon and the stories of Girls in the Grass,Sweet Hearts benefits from Thon's skillful use of nontraditional narrative devices, haunting evocation of Native American history and legend, and mystical vision of the power of forgiveness and love.