The Year of Fog by Michelle Richmond
With a few small reservations, I very much liked Michelle Redmond’s latest novel, No One You Know. I liked The Year of Fog, her preceding novel, even better. For me, the story flowed much easier and more naturally without strange detours or author’s tricks. I also was unable to predict what was going to happen at the end of the tale. Perhaps most importantly, while Fog deals with the very unpleasant subject of a child’s abduction, Richmond’s telling of the story was uniquely calming.
In No One, the city of San Francisco comes off as part of the back stage. In Fog, the city is an essential part of the story as main character Abby Mason wanders its streets looking for Emma (the child of the man she’s engaged to). There’s even a cute scene included that involves the much-favored Dog Eared Books.
I so much enjoyed reading Fog that I will likely now go searching for the author’s first novel, Dream of the Blue Room. Remember how you felt about a rock band that you “discovered”? Their first and second albums always seemed like their best work, but by albums three and four they either became sadly repetitive or seemed to annoyingly change for the sake of pleasing new-found (and late arriving) fans. I’m not saying that this analogy applies to Michelle Richmond. I am saying that, by virtue of fate or good luck, I’m glad to have found this intriguing writer.
Note: As I was reading Fog, Sting’s CD The Dream of the Blue Turtles kept going through my mind. But then there is a logical connection… The book is about a very much loved child going lost with horrible consequences for the lives of those close to her. Sting’s album focused on the love of children and the controlling desire to protect them from harm. The Blue Turtles song titles eerily relate to what occurs in Fog: If You Love Someone Set Them Free, Love is the Seventh Wave, Shadows in the Rain, Russians (“I hope the Russians love their children too”), Fortress Around Your Heart and Consider Me Gone. And then consider how close the album title, The Dream of the Blue Turtles, is to the title of Richmond’s initial novel, The Dream of the Blue Room!