A Map of the World

A Map of the World

One unremarkable June morning, Alice Goodwin is, as usual, trying to keep in check both her temper and her tendency to blame herself for her family's shortcomings. When the Goodwins took over the last dairy farm in the small Midwestern town of Prairie Center, they envisioned their home a self-made paradise. But these days, as Alice is all too aware, her elder daughter Emma is prone to inexplicable fits of rage, her husband Howard distrusts her maternal competence, and Prairie Center's tight-knit suburban community shows no signs of warming to "those hippies who think they can run a farm."

A loner by nature, Alice is torn between a yearning for solitude coupled with a deep need to be at the center of a perfect family. On this particular day, Emma has started the morning with a violent tantrum, her little sister Claire is eating pennies, and it is Alice's turn to watch her neighbor's two small girls as well as her own. She absentmindedly steals a minute alone that quickly becomes ten: time enough for a devastating accident to occur. Her neighbor's daughter Lizzy drowns in the farm's pond, and Alice - whose own volatility and unmasked directness keep her on the outskirts of acceptance - becomes the perfect scapegoat. At the same time, a seemingly trivial incident from Alice's past resurfaces and takes on gigantic proportions, leading the Goodwins far from Lizzy's death into a maze of guilt and doubt culminating in a harrowing court trial and the family's shattering downfall.

Title:A Map of the World
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9780385720106
Format Type:

    A Map of the World Reviews

  • David

    Dear God, the exercise in bleakness that was "A Map of the World" - what possible point was there in forcing us through the baby-drowning, the molestation accusations, time in jail, and so on? In the...

  • Susan

    Review contains some spoilers...This book was well written, however it was terribly depressing. It is about a mother's worst nightmare. A child she is watching for her best friend drowns in her lake w...

  • Julie

    I finished this book only becuase I had started it. I am not going to pass this on to anyone as I would not recommend it.Although I liked the story I did not like the writing style. I found the narrat...

  • Bam cooks the books ;-)

    Alice and Howard Goodwin own the last dairy farm in Prairie Center, WI, and have two young daughters. On a particularly stressful summer morning, Alice is babysitting for her best friend's daughters w...

  • Jamie

    So I'm not a huge fan of Oprah (or even a little one), but she sure knows how to pick a good book. Jane Hamilton is an author from (and still living in) Wisconsin where this book takes place. (Turns o...

  • Rahma Krambo

    The most outstanding thing about this books is the 'voice'. It's written in first person, mostly from the female POV, but there's a well done section from the voice of her husband. As a writer, I know...

  • Kathleen

    I am fascinated by the concept of how a small error or mistake can change your life entirely. It was also why I enjoyed House Of Sand And Fog. The circumstances are tragic in both of these books, yet ...

  • Angie

    As I began reading this book, I thought I would really enjoy it because the writing is wonderful and the story (a farm family trying to make it work as suburbia grows up around them, then the tragic d...

  • Cynthia Hernandez

    Whether you love this book or not will depend upon a couple of things, one of them being whether you can tolerate being emotionally consumed by the plot and characters, even when the subject matter of...

  • Charissa

    There is hardly anything more depressing than this story. I just couldn't face it in the end. Call me wacky, but I just didn't need to wade into a tale about three unhappy people, two of whom are havi...