Watson is at her best with the side-characters that enter Asta's life after her mother abandons her, particularly the ambiguous Leon, a college-age photographer who befriends Asta. Watson suggests that it's a problematic dynamic, but subtly, creating a real sense of allure. Despite the question of perspective, this sort of feeling — the mysteries and ambiguities that Watson creates, raising questions and not trying to answer them — is what powers the novel.
Nina MacLaughlin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
JAN ELIZABETH WATSON | at Books Etc., 38 Exchange St, Portland | February 6 at 6 pm | Free | 207.774.0626
, literature, fiction, drama