From Publishers Weekly
On Christmas Eve 1967, Rosemarie McDonald walks out the door of her suburban Melbourne home, leaving her husband behind to raise their four children: Deborah, the eldest at almost 13 and default mother; Robert, the compulsive worrier; James the peacemaker even at eight; and Meredith, the perpetual baby. Decades later, the children have forged their own families, but remain trapped in their original roles and are still somehow waiting for word from Rosemarie. When James rediscovers her on a trip to London, they are all faced with confronting their betrayer, and themselves, and possible forgiveness. Published under the title Listen in Veitch's native Australia, the novel's omniscient narration eavesdrops on the inner lives of each family member and their different ways of coping with abandonment—not all of them healthy. What emerges is a heartfelt yet unsentimental portrait of a family undone by a mother's desire, and its struggle to find ways to keep going and keep together. (June)
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"Christmas Eve 1967: the night the lives of the McDonald children, Deborah, Robert, James, and Meredith, changed forever. Their mother, Rosemarie, told them she was running out to buy more lights for the tree. Instead, she boarded a plane bound for London, leaving the children with their father and the gnawing question: Why did their mother abandon them? Over the years the siblings have become practiced in concealing their pain, remaining close into adulthood and forming their own families. But long-closed wounds are reopened and secrets that each sibling has locked away come to light, as their father progresses into dementia and James encounters Rosemarie after nearly forty years of her absence. Veitch's family portrait reveals the joys and sorrows,the complexity and ambiguity of family life, and poignantly probes what it means to love and what it means to leave."