June 2005     COVER THE BUTTER  by Carrie Kabak  ISBN: 0525948767/Dutton/Penguin group

From: Karen Kahler
Category: Books
Date: 02 May 2005


Book Sense Pick!!


COVER THE BUTTER examines the buoyancy of the human spirit. After finding her lovingly restored home in shambles from her teenaged son's party (a rollicking yet poignant scene that alone is worth the price of admission), Kate takes a searing look back at how her life, too, has come to be such a mess. Belittled by her domineering mother, failing to find an ally in her feckless father, Kate struggles to make her own voice heard beneath the white noise of everyone else's demands. Kabak's writing brings alive even the most prosaic objects (I defy anyone to find better descriptions of decor and food, for example) but her gifts are most evident in her rendering of human relationships. Kate's interactions with her mother, Biddy, are by turns horrifying, hilarious and heartbreaking; Kabak perfectly captures the mother-daughter dynamic, the tangled knot of loyalty and knowing when to let go. Kate's relationships with the men in her life are drawn with equal force and a keen wit, most notably the scenes with Rodney, her priggish yet sexually peculiar husband. "His hair stuck up in tufts and I tried to find it endearing," Kabak writes. "I tried to yearn for the touch of those thin lips that bristled with a moustache the texture of coconut husk." Kabak's voice is so vibrant and achingly personal I felt as if I'd known her heroine for years, and her story and ultimate redemption stayed with me long after I turned the last page. Carrie Kabak is a brilliant new talent, and I eagerly await her next effort.