by Timothy Schaffert
Ordinarily, if you tell me that a book is “charming,” “lyrical,” and set in small-town Nebraska, I’ll ask you to hand me the TV remote on your way out the door, but Coffins is an exception. Schaffert’s plot is slight and a bit far-fetched: A cornfield community gains notoriety when the national media descends to cover an alleged child abduction, while a publishing house chooses the same burg to surreptitiously print a Harry Potter-like book.
It’s the characters who matter in this novel, in particular three generations (grandmother, grandson, and his teen niece) of one family. They reassure us that in 2011 Mayberry might be battered, bruised, and a bit less innocent, but its wholesome values survive – at least in one Midwestern town.
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