Title: Nearer Than the Sky
Author: T. Greenwood
Release Date: October 1, 2011
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Indie Brown has finally come to terms with her bizarre childhood and psychologically troubled mother when she receives a phone call from her sister Lily telling her their mother is in the hospital. Indie returns home to help her mother reluctantly, and when she does, her memories begin to resurface. She begins to wonder about her childhood, about Lily’s many sicknesses, about the death of her brother and realizes that there was more going on that met the eye.
Nearer Than the Sky is a novel that jumps between present and past, trying to explain what really happened during Indie’s childhood. At the beginning of the novel, Indie thinks she has a grasp on her upbringing, though most of her memories come in flashes, and her mother disagrees with what she remembers. As she begins to trust herself more and the memories start to surface, Indie has to face some very painful truths. Greenwood did an excellent job allowing the narrative to unfold and letting Indie and the reader come to their own conclusions. It is both gripping and disturbing.
Greenwood deals with the incredibly difficult psychological issue of Munchausen by proxy in Nearer Than the Sky. Sufferers of this sickness inflict injury and illness upon others, and as Indie’s memories unfold, she begins to question whether her mother had Munchausen syndrome. It’s hard to discuss because the idea of a mother harming her child is so disturbing, but Greenwood writes the issue incredibly well. It makes the book fascinating, as Indie must question everything she remembers.
Nearer Than the Sky is actually a reissue of T. Greenwood’s second novel, and I’ll admit that made me wary. I haven’t always had the best luck with reissued novels, as they aren’t always up to par with the contemporary work an author is writing. Since this was my first T. Greenwood novel, and I didn’t have anything to compare it to, I thought it would be okay. Luckily, though, it was better than okay; I was very impressed with this book and will definitely be going back to read the rest of this author’s works.
This was an impressive work of contemporary fiction with sympathetic characters and deep, disturbing psychological issues. Greenwood developed her characters intricately with loving detail, and as a result, they are very vivid. Her exploration of Munchausen by proxy was incredibly well done, and I really look forward to experiencing more of T. Greenwood’s novels.