MARY AND O'NEIL by Justin Cronin in an unabashedly moving and even-hearted book about two people and the relationships they share throughout their lives --- with siblings, friends, parents, children, each other. Justin Cronin writes this first novel as if he has lived in each of the character's skin for a long, long while. He even covers the specifics of labor and delivery as if he has been pregnant, which we know he has not (although he is a father, and that counts for something). As first novels go, this one is wonderful.
Like the work of Annie Dillard, Cronin finds a simple and easy-to-understand way of explaining emotional situations so that you can ge