Stephanie Kallos' novels are thought provoking with characters I am unable to forget after I have read the last page.
Her newest novel, Language Arts, to be published in June, centers around Charles Marlow, an English teacher who looks back on his life.
As the story shifts between the present and past, we see Charles as a new husband and father. He and his wife, Alison, watch their son Cody begin life as a bright young boy who then loses his language and turns within himself, eventually being diagnosed as autistic.
Charles looks back on his childhood - being instructed in the Palmer Handwriting Method, suffering through the loss of a friend who has moved, and befriending a special needs child. Years later he still thinks about an event at school that forever scarred him, something he has never talked about.
I was easily able to follow the change in narration and time period, although Kallos' inclusion of Giorgia, an infrequent narrator, seemed extraneous to me - not something I needed to enjoy this story, and which served to confuse me at first.
Charles is a bit of a tragic figure - a lonely man who has had many people desert him. The reflections he provides on his life only succeeded in increasing my compassion for him.
I appreciate Kallos' well developed characters and story. Language Arts is my favorite novel by Kallos yet.