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The Shadow Year by Jeffrey Ford

The Shadow Year is narrated by an unnamed 11-year-old boy, telling of the experiences of his family and his town on Long Island in the 1960s. His father works three jobs and his mother is an alcoholic, so he's mostly left alone along with his older brother, Jim, and his younger sister, Mary. Jim has created a detailed cardboard replica of the town in the basement, complete with its citizens, and called it Botch Town. A prowler begins stalking the town and the boys decide to help the police by setting a trap for him. Mary, though, talks in voices and assumes alter egos, and when she begins to move things around in Botch Town, those changes are reflected in real life. Events in town grow more sinister, and Mary's actions seem to have predicted, if not caused, them all. Jeffrey Ford's novel has received mostly positive reviews with the Hartford Courant saying, "The author, who has won awards for his mystery novels, deftly leads us in and out of the shadowy terrain and sunnier moments, balancing nightmarish horror, poignant home life, school shenanigans and loss of innocence to keep us deliciously, delightfully off-balance."
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Washington Post review by Dennis Drabelle

Boston Globe review by Amanda Heller review by Hilary Williamson

Jeffrey Ford
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