Eric Boss reviews MIRACLE CREEK
Each chapter is in the voice of one of the principles: the proprietor, his wife, his daughter, the doctor trying with his wife to conceive, the woman who is on trial charged with sabotaging the device to kill her son, a difficult child whose problems consume her life. Each one has a unique impression of what happened and why, but misunderstandings and deliberately misleading stories warp their views of a complex and distressing occurrence. Lies and errors in thinking lead to a painful and prolonged set of circumstances which end in tragedy.
This is a novel with a premise unlike others I have read. There is a cast of characters about whom we learn more with each page, there is a plot with a promise, a betrayal, deception, misperception, redemption and resolution, like many other books. The way all of this is handled is the rare aspect. The origin of the story is with the Miracle Submarine. It’s a hyperbaric oxygenation chamber built and installed in a rural barn where therapy is supplied to sufferers of a variety of conditions including childhood autism which figures prominently in what is to ensue. It is named because of its
unusual appearance and prominent portholes for observation. A Korean immigrant family operates it in an area outside of Miracle Creek, Virginia, which supplies the other half of the unusual appellation.
Several local families with children suffering autism and an adult male doctor with infertility issues are among the patients who routinely visit the facility for treatment. One day, though, the machinery explodes, killing and maiming several of them. The book begins with a lie told about what happened.
Sensitive and thoughtful, the narrative touches on aspects of the immigrant life and its problems, the heartbreak of raising a child suffering chronic and profound ailments and the inability of us all to see what has happened and make sense of it. Lessons learned and retribution exacted are the result of our staggering, blundering path through the dense thickets of human motivation and the eventual discovery of truth.
Shelf Talker: Chronicling the substantial and moving examination of human struggle, the various forms of compassion and acceptance set against the backdrop of the immigrant experience, this is a sensitive look at what we think we are and who we really are.