A touching, closely observant tale…
Ballard’s latest is an engrossing tale, charting the intricacies of familial bonds, discontent, and desire. Emelie is content in her life, living with her husband Liam and their five-year-old son Ben until a car accident changes everything. Caught in the whirlwind of declining mental health, Emelie begins to struggle with a deep desire for another baby. Liam is determined to keep things normal. But when Emelie’s obsession increases, entering a dangerous territory, Liam knows he must take a hard decision. Unable to come to terms with Liam’s decision, Emelie is left devastated. Will she be able to keep her family together? The narrative is leisurely and pacing slow, but Ballard’s writing is keen and observant. She nicely connects Emelie and Liam’s individual struggles within the record of their increasingly tense relationship, and depicts a wonderfully nuanced portrait of Emelie, skillfully catching the latter’s emergent sense of discord, the devastating emotions which force her to do the unthinkable, and Liam’s struggles with Emelie’s impossible desire. Matters come to a head when Emelie’s behavior turns severely erratic, and when Liam takes a decision that breaks their family. On the surface, all of this seems overly melodramatic. But Ballard beautifully portrays complex emotions, deftly peeling back layers of denial and self-destructive streak to reveal the love that Emelie feels for Liam and Ben and keeps the reader invested. A skilled, leisurely paced novel that beautifully explores motherhood, marriage, family strife, desire, how the difficult circumstances force us to do the unthinkable, and what it means to be family.
Angels in the Architecture
Annie M. Ballard
Devon Station Books
Pub date January 11, 2022
Price $14.99 (USD) Paperback, $4.99 Kindle edition