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Meg Mitchell Moore Has Arrived

April 8, 2011

The ArrivalsThe Arrivals by Meg Mitchell Moore

My favorite time to walk through my neighborhood is dusk. It’s the time of day when it’s too early to think about closing the blinds. Each house is like a movie set where a drama is unfolding. Children play in front of one window while at another a man and a woman exchange angry words.

Meg Mitchell Moore deftly captures those moments and more in her debut novel “The Arrivals.” The story unfolds in the town of Burlington, Vermont. When the grown children of William and Ginny Owen descend on their house like locusts one summer, the quiet and solitude of their post-children routine are quickly tossed out the window. Lillian and her two children are escaping a floundering marriage. Rachel is running from New York City where her job and love life have turned sour. An impromptu weekend visit from Stephen and Jane ends up lasting the whole summer.

Good dialogue keeps this story moving steadily through a series of missteps by each family member as tempers flare and space becomes a precious commodity. There are plenty of problems to solve under this roof. Ginny wants to find a way to connect with her daughter-in-law while William wonders why he can’t find any clean laundry. Stephen tries to break unsettling news to his parents while Lillian keeps a secret buried.

Moore brings clarity to their struggles and insight into the details that all families grapple with when facing crises. She melds the increasingly complicated relationships between them all into a very satisfying look into the dynamics of a family grasping for ways to make it all work. “The Arrivals” is a fascinating peek into a modern multi-generational American family at its worst and best.

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