A Hollow Bone by Dawn Hogue. Water’s Edge Press, 2017.
Review by Linda Qin
Before I read the book, I was imagining what kind of fiction it would hold inside its cover. I thought it would be a tragedy that would make me burst into tears or be filled with depression. After I finished reading it, it turned out that I was half wrong. The book did hold a lot of strong emotions, describing detailed, close relationships between people and telling a sad story, but it was not one of those books that only makes you cry. I personally think it’s a good book, because it makes me think about things after my tears.
It’s not only a written book but a long movie that looks at old-time families between 1926 and 1978. Dawn Hogue labeled all the years in the book, making it feel like a collection of short stories, but holding “history” itself as one main line. In fact, you usually pay attention to the multiple things that happened at one time and jump to another one as you turn to another page. Someone may feel messy reading it with generations moving back and forth, but some people will enjoy the multiple things moving on at the same time, and can’t stop themselves from keep reading it and wonder about what’s going on.
There were many characters that presented a lot to be the main character in this book. Most of them are connected through the relationship of family or friends, and most of the characters know each other a lot. It is amazing that Hogue did a good job in building such different characters and putting them on the same stage with a moving camera. The book did not focus only on one main character but focused between them. It weakened readers’ common feelings with a specific character but allowed us to know more about them. I have to say that Hogue is good at portraits of characters. At least in this book, you can easily memorize some special things about different people and still feel that they are real people living somewhere in this world.
Also, the timeline of the story is heavy for its logic, but it dissolves history as parts of the story. As time changed, the people in this small town along Lake Michigan wer suffering and facing different trouble and worries. There was also much information about what’s going on outside the town because people’s lives were influenced by those events. Through the small things happening in here, readers can feel the tough days of the characters, hearing their voices passing through past days.