Red Hook Road follows the aftermath of this tragedy over the course of four years and the effect on the family and friends left behind.
The two mothers - Iris Copaken and Jane Tetherly are the main characters and the ones we come to know the best. Waldman's strength lies in her characterizations. I truly disliked Iris despite her losses. Her sense of right, her scheming and manipulations added up to someone I would not enjoy knowing. Although her actions are not all bad, it is the way she achieves them that I found objectionable. Jane is portrayed a a 'typical' Mainer - stoic, spare with words and hard working. Despite her brusqueness she is the character I enjoyed the most. Supporting characters are just as strongly drawn, particularly Iris's father.
The sea, boats and classical music all play a role in the novel and are used by Waldman as allegorical vehicles.
Those looking for an action filled story won't find it here. Rather, they will find a thoughtful, carefully portrayed narrative of the feelings, emotions and actions of those left grieving after a heartbreaking loss.
Read an excerpt of Red Hook Road.