Long Division - Book Review

Long Division

Author: Sara Fraser
Genre: Fiction - Womens
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
Date Published: March 19, 2019
ISBN-10: 1684332354
ISBN-13: 978-1684332359

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Book Review of :  Long Division


Long Division, by Sara B. Fraser, is an in-depth, introspective look into the lives of her three main characters, representing three generations of a dysfunctional family. Readers will relate to the subtle family dynamics as each character’s backstory comes alive and intertwines.  Fraser narrates a world that encompasses both the cultivated and the corrupt. She interjects into the story the full range of human folly and misery – divorce, illness, alcoholism, betrayal, jealousy, and more. She doesn’t shy away from portraying her characters at their lowest ebb, as they recognize that time has been lost and that beauty and even the meaning of so much of what they once pursued has irretrievably faded away.

Gertrude is a 94-year-old grandmother confined to bed in a nursing home. She is conscious of her surroundings, and her interest in people is apparent as she tries to interact with the staff.  Her lack of close family keeps her in a state of living in the past. She loves most of the memories. She remembers how her little daughter made the shape of a church steeple with her hands. She “weaves bony fingers into a steeple. Opens the door, there are the people” with osteoporosis and arthritis to keep them from wiggling. Reminiscing, she relives many of her mistakes as a young woman and wonders what she could have done differently. Could she have changed the fates of her daughter and granddaughter if she had taken a different path?

Leigh, Gertrude’s 30 something granddaughter, struggles with her own memories. Memories of a distant, alcoholic mother, abuse, and abandonment. She grapples with her immature ability to be true to herself, to take necessary actions, and to face mature decisions. She is engaged to a self-centered man who she has allowed to take over her life. Can her struggles with the meaning of love and family enable her to overcome the destructive patterns in her life?

Beverly is the almost silent estranged catalyst in the middle.  Gertrude’s daughter and Leigh’s mother, Beverly’s self -destructive lifestyle, seems to be a poison that affects both grandmother and daughter.

Narrated alternately through the voices of Gertrude, Beverly, and Leigh with appropriate flashbacks, the reader is drawn into the complex storyline. Each character is distinctive and relatable.  The reader will sympathize with each woman as the consequences of their immature decisions shape their future.

Fraser’s ability to bring a character to life is evident in her description of Clive as he lay dying.  His face was “sunken like someone had wrapped it in Saran wrap and pulled.” She also has embedded bits of wisdom as to when she writes that “jealousy is supposed to work like hypochondria.”  Imagining the worst-case scenario as a way to prevent it from happening.

Readers will long remember the trials of all three women and how Leigh was able to forgive her past and to forgive the mistakes of others.

Fraser fuses and transmutes the lives of her characters so that there is significance in their existence.  Long Division is narrated in beautifully told interweaving storylines, where the past and present come together in a nuanced, heartfelt drama about everyday people living everyday lives.

Reviewed by: Carole W

About Sara Fraser

Sara B. Fraser is the author of LONG DIVISION. Her short fiction has appeared in Carve, the Forge, Wilderness House Literary Review, Salamander, Stonecrop, Helix, and more. She is a high-school Spanish teacher.

Visit www.sarabfraser.com for more information on Sara Fraser


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